Monday, December 22, 2014

Concert for Bangladesh reviews

I enjoy reading the concert reviews from the fans and I don't recall ever reading any from the Concert for Bangladesh.   I found these gems in the October 1971 issue of the Harrison Herald fan club newslettter.   

Harrison and Friends in Concert

From Susan M. –
It was fantastic!  I’ve never seen George look so good.  His white suit was gorgeous.  His hair looks good on him now—even his beard I didn’t mind.  He seemed so nervous at first but as the show went on he relaxed.  He kept turning his back to the audience and kept his eyes on his guitar a lot.  When he first came out to introduce Ravi he got a standing ovation.   He had on brown pants and vest and a grey shirt.  After Ravi, they showed a film on Bengladesh  (sic).  It was so sad but I hope it got the message across to the audience.  Then came the band—whicih consisted of Ringo and Jim Keltner on drums, Leon Russell on piano, Klaus Voorman on bass, Eric Clapton and Jesse Davis on lead guitar, Billy Preston on organ, plus Badfinger and Derek and the Domino’s and others.  And of course there was George—gosh was he ever beautiful.  They went right into “Wah Wah”.  The audience was really good, you could hear the music clearly – there were only screams or applause at the beginning or end of each song.  The songs included “Something” “While my guitar gently weeps,” “Awaiting  on you all”  “Hear me Lord” “My sweet Lord,”  “Here comes the sun”, “Beware of Darkness,” and of course “Bengla Desh” (sic).  Ringo did “It don’t come easy” and got a tremendous reaction.  Billy Preston did “That’s the Way God Planned it” and Leon Russell did “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”  I forgot to mention that Ringo looked terrific—dressed all in black and his hair was back and he has a heavy beard.  The surprise guest was Bob Dylan.  The reaction from the audience was unbelievable.   It was such a feeling seeing Ringo, George, Dylan and Leon Russell all on one stage sharing the spotlight.  I mean you really had to pinch yourself to see if it all was real.  Anyway, I will never forget that day as long as I live.  I can’t wait to see the film of it and hear the album!  Oh, I forgot to tell you something – towards the middle of the concert, George started introducing the band.  He mentioned that he hoped he hadn’t forgotten anyone, and then Eric Clapton said into the mike, “and George Harrison.”  The audience gave such an ovation, and George turned his back on the audience—he’s so modest!   George is truly wonderful and he has proved that for once and for all by doing such a beautiful thing.  As one disc jockey said – George is a superb human being and is one of the highest in the forms of humanity.

From Julie A.
Before the 2:30 afternoon show was to start, George stepped up on stage as if popping out of nowhere.  He announced that he was thankful everyone had come to help the cause for which this show represented.  He further announced Ravi would be on first and that he and his friends would be out a little later.  The show got underway at 2:45.  Ravi and his troup appeared.  They did 2 numbers lasting 15 minutes each.  Then the stage went black.  Suddenly, 2 large projection screen starting showing a movie.   George’s recording of “Bangla Desh” was played over the PA system and used as a soundtrack to the rather gruesome movie which showed all the people in East Pakistan suffering.   Suddenly a stream of spot lights focused on each of the performers.  Ringo, wearing a single-breasted black suit with short wide lapels appeared seated at his drum kit all the way in the back.   There was another drummer seated alongside of him.   George had Billy Preston laying organ on his right and Leon Russell at the piano on his left.  Out front, center stage was George with Eric Clapton and Klaus Voorman.  Badfinger sat all the way to one side with 3 guys playing horns standing beside them.   A group of 5 or 6 girls formed a small vocal chorus behind Billy and his emence  (sic) organ.   Going right into “Wah Wah” George really belted it out.  Seemingly in an almost non-stop fashion, he went right into “While my guitar Gently Weeps.”  Puffing almost out of breath, he proceeded to introduce everyone.  Ringo got a standing ovation.  George was wearing a very little beige suit with a long sleeved orange shirt.   George did “Something” with Eric helping out on the guitar.  He also did “Here comes the Sun”  on an acoustic with  a member of Badfinger helping out.    Ringo did “It don’t come easy.”  About mid-way thru the show, George says to everyone, ‘and now I’d like you to meet my good friend Bob Dylan.”  The audience went wild with applause.  He was on about 20 minutes doing some of his better known songs.  George, Eric, Leon and Ringo backed Dylan.  Ringo banged on a small silver tambourine while George, Eric, and Leon backed on guitars.   At this time all the other performers had walked off and just the 4 of them were up there with the stage to themselves.   Dylan finished his part and faded off stage quickly.  The others came back on stage and did a variety of other numbers.  At 4:50 George went into “My Sweet Lord” which was also played on acoustic guitar.  The show ended with George doing “Bengla Desh.”  While the other members played on, George went over, picked up his jacket, said his ta’s to everyone and dashed off the stage.  I remember during one of the fast numbers, George started doing a little of the “Harrison shuffle” for which he is famous from AHND days.  The show ended exactly at 5:09 but the audience stood, clapped, whistled and stomped the floor shouting “more more!”  This went on for about 20 minutes.  Finally convinced that no one was returning to the stage, some people began to file out of the Garden.  The teaming rain that was coming down outside didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits as they flowed out the exits.

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