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New Documentary Film "The Concert For George" Celebrates The Life And Music Of George Harrison

Published // 21.Sep.03

A note from Where's Eric! Editor, Tony Edser ...

I attended an advance press screening of "The Concert for George" on 20 September and can reassure fans that they are in for a treat. This is a remarkable documentary, incorporating recording quality of the highest calibre and extraordinary camera work. The film does not follow the actual concert chronologically but skilfully blends the musical and theatrical highlights with rehearsal footage and interviews from the contributors. Eric shines throughout, most notably with some spontaneous improvisation over the specially written Ravi Shankar piece, Arpan, where he conquers the unusual time signature and melody with some inspired playing.

It will also be released on DVD. Not to be missed!

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE:

New Documentary Film Celebrates The Music of George Harrison Through Performances By Legendary Musicians

Concert For George
In U.S. Theatres October 3 For Limited Theatrical Release
In UK Theatres for October 10th
Musical Director Eric Clapton Performs With Harrison's Closest Friends

Rock music's most celebrated musicians gathered at Royal Albert Hall in London on November 29, 2002, to pay tribute to one of their own, the legendary George Harrison, on the one year anniversary of his death. On that magical night, Harrison's closest friends gathered to perform a collection of his music for a live audience.

Concert For George is far more than a concert film; it is a soulful cinematic tribute to a musician whose vision transcended the ordinary and whose talents contributed to a revolution in the music industry. Under the musical direction of Harrison's longtime friend Eric Clapton, the film captures an emotional gathering of musicians such as Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Preston and Ringo Starr. Truly a rare moment in music history, this documentary showcases these legends of music not likely to perform together on the same stage again. Concert For George is masterfully directed by famed British director David Leland, whose credits include Wish You Were Here (BAFTA Winner), HBO's Band of Brothers television series and The Traveling Wilburys video Handle With Care. The film transports viewers to Royal Albert Hall, beautifully shot, digitally remastered and recorded in 5.1 surround sound.

The film will open theatrically on October 3rd in New York, Los Angeles and select regional markets. On October 10th, the film opens in selected cinemas throughout the UK.

"The Concert for George was all I hoped it would be. The glue that held it together was our love for George. I don't think I've ever heard a band play with so much emotion and respect," said Olivia Harrison.

"All I wanted to do was really, share our love for George and his music," said Eric Clapton of his vision for the Concert For George.

"George kept up a relationship with everybody on that stage like old friends, old pals on stage, hanging out in rehearsals and back stage with everybody. It was a great way of getting closure, because we all had our stories and our memories and our laughter and our sad points of view, and it was just so great to be around all these people for me, that you could laugh and cry about, you know different moments in our life that George had touched," said Ringo Starr.

All proceeds from the concert, the film and the DVD will go to The Material World Charitable Foundation, founded by Harrison in 1973.

About The Production

A @radical.media Production, produced by Ray Cooper, Harrison's longtime film producing partner, Olivia Harrison and Jon Kamen, the documentary is meant as a celebration and tribute to George Harrison's extraordinary musical career.

Under the direction of Leland and Director of Photography Chris Menges, the film captures the beauty of Royal Albert Hall from more than a dozen camera locations. The film was shot in High Definition and digitally mastered with sound recorded in 5.1 surround. The entire producing team was aware that the concert had an intimate feel that night -- a feeling that required non-intrusive camera points and discreet filming. The result is a unique experience that truly makes viewers feel as if they've taken a seat in Royal Albert Hall and have an emotional connection to the music and the performers. The legendary Eric Clapton, who created a palette of music spanning Harrison's entire career, oversaw the complete musical effort as Musical Director. Harrison's longtime music producing partner, Jeff Lynne (also of The Traveling Wilburys), performed as well as collaborated on audio elements of the concert. A few special interviews and backstage moments are woven into the film, giving viewers a sense of the extraordinary bond Harrison shared with his friends and family, and how deeply they felt for him.

About The Performance

Each musician in the Western lineup had a personal friendship with George, and many from the Indian orchestra were chosen because of their history with George. The group spent three emotional weeks rehearsing George's songs and collectively grieving the loss of their dear friend.

Eric Clapton led the performers through music from George Harrison's spanning much of George career. Clapton led the band with Jeff Lynne singing "I Want To Tell You," "Inner Light" and "Give Me Love." Tom Petty performed "Taxman" and "I Need You" along with the Wilburys' number, "Handle With Care." Ringo Starr brought the crowd to an emotional peak with "Photograph," a song he co-wrote with Harrison. Paul McCartney played a bit of ukulele, one of Harrison's favorite instruments, and joined the band for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "For You Blue." The audience was treated to the Monty Python team performing some of Harrison's favorite skits, including participation from surprise guest Tom Hanks. The show also pointed to Harrison's spiritual side with Anoushka Shankar and a 16-piece orchestra of Indian musicians performing a special composition by her father and Harrison's mentor, Ravi Shankar. The piece was entitled Arpan, meaning offering.

Joe Brown closed the evening with the old standard, "I'll See You In My Dreams," a loving and appropriate sentiment.

About The Material World Foundation

The Material World Charitable Foundation was established by George Harrison in 1973 to sponsor diverse forms of artistic expression and to encourage the exploration of alternative life views and philosophies. The Foundation also supports established charitable organizations with consideration to those with special needs. Funds for the activities of the Foundation have and will continue to come from copyrights donated by George Harrison.

Concert For George will be distributed internationally by ArenaPlex LLC. The DVD of Concert For George will release in November 2003 worldwide. For more information, visit www.concertforgeorge.com.

 

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