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George Harrison and Friends: The Concert for Bangladesh
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The Concert for Bangladesh was the first benefit concert of its kind in that it brought together an extraordinary assemblage of major artists collaborating for a common humanitarian cause -- setting the precedent that music could be used to serve a higher
Before We Are the World, before the Amnesty International concerts, before Live Aid, Live 8, 46664, and all the other charitable and/or political events that have used popular music as their principal draw, there was George Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, a stirring affair released here in a fine two-disc set. The cause--raising money for the beleaguered people of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan), who were ravaged by war, floods, and famine--was enough to attract the support of stars like the former Beatle, who had never fronted a band before, along with Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, both of whom had been out of the limelight for some years due to various personal problems and choices. Given the little time that Harrison, whose help had been solicited by sitar master Ravi Shankar, had to organize the affair, the results are very impressive indeed: the enormous band, which also features Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, and Billy Preston, is tight, the music (spotlighting tunes from Harrison's All Things Must Pass, along with a few Beatle numbers) inspired, the musicians at the top of their games. (Only Clapton is sub-par; looking out of it and playing weakly, he's a far cry from the guy who, some 30 years later, would spearhead the magnificent Concert for George.) For some, the opportunity to see Dylan onstage with Harrison, Starr, and Russell (playing bass) will be the big attraction. Others will thrill to the remastered DVD sound and restored picture. Still others will revel in an entire disc of bonus material, including three previously-unreleased performances and a documentary featuring new interviews with many of the participants. 1971 was a bleak period in rock history; the Beatles had broken up, Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison were dead, Woodstock was a distant memory. The Concert for Bangladesh shone like a beacon, a revelation of the better angels that reside within us all. And it still does. --Sam Graham
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I still have the same record some thirty-two years later, and although I had brought the CD several years back, I think it is a high-time for me to buy a DVD to show my kids; my contribution to the Generation X I fondly call them, how a mass of people in this country, regardless of their race, age, gender, religion, all came together under one great flag that year and actually gave God something to smile about.
Rumors of financial scandal in the distribution of relief fund immediately following the year of the concert notwithstanding, the noble action of great many that year counts for something. Also notwithstanding, a seemingly lack of sophistication in the making of that concert, but the musicianship and the genuine fan participation still out-shine many present day events. A true 'Jewel' and a true 'Triumph of the Human Spirit'! And it would be a shame and a mockery, if the re-issue of this watershed DVD were being debated today on the ground of profitability. This event is a 'Public Domain', and should belong to the entire human race.
This came at the end of a running, multi-year collaboration between George Harrison, Eric Clapton, the Delaney & Bonnie Band, Dave Mason and a whole host of others including a young Phil Collins. Many of the main musicians except for Bob Dylan had been playing together for years and it shows on the strong renditions of Harrison's songs. Harrison, Clapton, the D&B band and Phil Spector had just finished the All Things Must Pass epic album, and Clapton and others from the crew had recorded the Layla album, also epic. After this some of the same people went on tour with Joe Cocker as 'Mad Dogs and Englishmen.' You simply could not have assembled a better band than this in the early 70s.
For this concert, it is the D&B musicians backing Harrison, Ringo Starr, Clapton and every great session player in the vicinity. These performances launched the careers of Billy Preston and Leon Russell and returned Bob Dylan to the radio after a long absence.
It starts with Harrison explaining the notion of a benefit concert and how he came to organize it. This was the first benefit rock concert and really has not been equalled since. It also has some songs by Ravi Shankar and a small, all-star band of Indian musicians, as well as a few scenes of the suffering of the starving people of Bangladesh.
Dylan's Love minus zero is a real treat. My Sweet Lord is worth the price of this Dvd alone. Peter Ham of Badfinger joining Harrison on Here Comes the Sun, is also a highlight! I am Just glad I bought this!!!!
My DVD player was capable of playing the PAL format so I said okay, no problem. After receiving the DVD, I tried to play it in my DVD player and was told that it wasn't playable because the region was incompatable. I looked at the back of the DVD and it was playable only in regions 2,3,4,5 only. I live in region 1. I didn't have the functionality to change the region on my DVD player, so I decided to try the DVD player attached to my laptop. Fortunately, my laptop DVD player gave me an option to change the region. That worked great and I was able to play the PAL DVD.
As far as the concert went, it was actually quite good, except for the Indian music at the beginning and the fact that Eric Clapton, who was in the throws of heroin withdrawal at the time, chose the wrong guitar for "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (no sustain), thus he tried to replicate a weeping sound by continuously picking the note over and over again.
Most recent customer reviews
Dvd does not play in region 1 North America. It is also overpriced.Published 4 months ago by Brian Clare
nothing more to say than what a great concert George is great and one of the rare Dylan visual live performancePublished 4 months ago by jonathan
excellent concert--loved the record when it came out and was delighted to see and hear the first large-scale benefit of its kind on dvd. Read morePublished 15 months ago by philbyjo
An excellent piece of music history. The sound and audio is low quality but the line-up is memorable. Read morePublished 19 months ago by allan
To see George perform live is just priceless. Great picture, sound and great show !!! What more can I say, it's a must for your collection.Published on Jan. 11 2014 by Gordon
George should probably be recognized as the father of the benefit concert genre; he started it all with this one.Published on Feb. 24 2013 by bassMR
got this for my husband for our 40th anniversary - something from our wedding year - we listened to the 3 record set so many times the first few years - brought back so many... Read morePublished on Dec 23 2011 by annie51
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