Just a Few Close Friends

Last night, after the cake was eaten, after the coffee and wine were gone, and after everyone had either gone home or gone to bed, Micah and I sat in the dark living room and watched my Concert For George DVD...

I'd already seen it a couple of times, but Micah hadn't. What made me think to play it for him was a conversation we were having about Anoushka Shankar, the gifted daughter of Pandit Ravi Shankar, George's mentor and friend.

The concert is amazing, the first section consisting of Indian music, as well as The Inner Light, a song George wrote back when his interest in all things Indian was only beginning. After that there is a small interlude during which Monty Python performs Sit On My Face and The Lumber Jack Song (if you're quick you'll spot Tom Hanks among the lumberjacks).

During the second section the stage is taken by a few of George's close friends—no one anyone would recognize, just a few nameless people like Jeff Lynn, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Tom Petty, Sam Brown, Ray Cooper, Jim Keltner, Klaus Voorman, Dhani Harrison, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, and a host of George's favorite session musicians. Also appearing was an Indian orchestra of 20+ performers, a children's choir, the English Chamber Choir, and members of the London Metropolitan Orchestra. The thought of organizing a lineup like that is mind-numbing. No wonder it took George's wife, Olivia, and Python Eric Idle a full year to pull it together. The concert was staged at the Royal Albert Hall on November 29, 2002, a year to the day of George's passing.

If you haven't seen the concert you really need to. Highlights for me include Sam Brown's performance of Horse To the Water and the band's rendition of All Things Must Pass, but I promise there's not a bad song in the lot.