07 March 2006

While his guitar gently sweeps

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George Harrison singing My Sweet Lord with Ringo at the drums.

My wife and I have enjoyed watching the recent DVD edition of The Concert for Bangladesh. The concert, on 1 August 1971, was organized by George Harrison to raise money for the starving people of Bangladesh and featured, besides George, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Ringo Starr, Ravi Shankar, Eric Clapton and many other musicians.

We especially enjoyed Harrison's While my guitar gently weeps with Clapton playing his famous solo, Bob Dylan's Just like a woman and the acoustic version of Harrison's Here comes the sun. Clapton was, otherwise, very low key and didn't sing any songs.

To my own surprise, however, I thought the most electrifying performance at the concert was Bangla Dhun, the opening piece that had fascinating "duels" between Ravi Shankar playing the sitar and Ali Akbar Khan playing the sarod. If I ever become a fan of Indian music, it will be because of that piece.

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Harrison, Dylan and Russell singing Just like a woman.

In addition to the concert itself, the DVD also features previously unreleased songs from the rehearsals and the afternoon show as well as brief recent interviews with some of the musicians, including Ringo and Eric and other film clips related to the concert. There were also some amusing moments, including the scene during the performance of Something, when George Harrison forgets a line, mumbles something incomprehensible, then turns back and smiles, probably at Ringo, who while singing It don't come easy earlier had messed up one of his lines. The spontaneity and naturalness of the performances add to the pleasure of watching this concert.

According to The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF, the Concert for Bangladesh has raised for than $15 million for UNICEF. If you buy this DVD you will contribute towards a worthy cause (it's better than giving money to your church or any "faith-based" charity) and enjoy a wonderful concert. And you won't even have to wait in line for tickets.

1 comment:

eped said...

yes, great concert, for many reasons. I found it in vinyl (3 records) a couple years ago and would love to see the dvd!