One year after George Harrison's death, his friends, led by Eric Clapton, organized a tribute concert to him at the Royal Albert Hall on November 29, 2002. The concert was filmed and recorded, resulting in a 100-minute theatrical feature, as well as a two-CD set and this two-DVD package. Contained here is the feature, which edits and re-sequences the concert while inserting interview and rehearsal footage, as well as the complete concert, with a running time of two-and-a-half hours. Several songs -- "That's the Way It Goes," "I Need You," and "Wah Wah" -- were left out of the feature entirely, and "Old Brown Shoe" and "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" were used only to underscore the end titles, with no accompanying footage. All this material is restored in the complete concert version. The concert actually opened with a lengthy Indian music segment, featuring Anoushka Shankar under the guidance of her father, Ravi Shankar. Anoushka Shankar's sitar solo, "Your Eyes," is not included in the feature, and the entire Indian sequence, which turns up about an hour into the feature, has been cut down to less than 15 minutes, with interviews and voiceovers often running with the music. The Western music also suffers such interruptions on occasion, but the filmmakers clearly were concerned that there not be too much Indian music in the feature. In a sense, this means that the feature works better for casual George Harrison fans, while the complete concert is what the more ardent fans will prefer. For both, the music is well performed, as Clapton & co. recreate the often elaborate arrangements of Harrison's music, using multiple guitarists, keyboardists, and percussionists, backed by an orchestra. The stage band is a who's who of Harrison's peers, including his Beatle bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Billy Preston, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, among others. Most Americans will not recognize Joe Brown, a well-preserved British pop star of the pre-Beatles era who does an excellent version of "Here Comes the Sun," and closes the proceedings with the 1920s pop tune "I'll See You in My Dreams." Harrison's film association with the Monty Python comedy troupe is referenced by a hilarious appearance by most of the members of the group, with Tom Hanks almost unnoticed as a mountie in "The Lumberjack Song." Thus, the concert gives a well-rounded portrait of Harrison's music and interests.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann