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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 26 October 2005
Having waited for George Harrison's 1971 Concert for Bangladesh to be released on DVD for more years than I care to remember, the wait is finally over and I have to say it's been worth every moment.
Olivia has produced a box set to be proud of. It positively oozes class and quality.
The packaging replicates the original artwork for the Concert for Bangladesh album package, being orange in colour, with the CFB 'logo' (the starving child image) on the front. It also has the gold sticker on the box explaining what the package contains and also that it is being sold "In aid of The George Harrison Fund for UNICEF".
There's a loose sheet stuck to the back listing the contents of the two discs, and the inside of the box has more CFB 'logos' stamped in orange.
On opening the box there is a myriad of delights awaiting the buyer. From the top there's a bundle of 10 postcards, art quality prints of scenes from the concert; a round Apple sticker; nicely packaged with a simple orange cardboard band. A sheet explaining about the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF (the limited edition number is printed on the back of this - There's a reproduction of the Bangla Desh handwritten lyrics; a copy of the hand painted poster advertising the concert; and a sumptious booklet which has an introduction by Ravi and pages and pages of wonderful images of the shows. Much in the style of the booklet that came with the original vinyl release of the album.
The DVD's are well packaged within their own case inside the box.
DVD 1. is The Concert itself - and the sound and picture quality is superb. Having been used to watching my original copy of the official VHS video release, watching the concert on DVD is like having a veil of fog lifted from my eyes.
The sound quality remastered by George before his passing is in 5.1 and I can hear instruments that previously blended into the mix. The balance is good and Klaus Voorman's bass can be heard underpinning the rock beat of classics like Wah Wah.
DVD 2. Once again the picture quality of the concert clips and the sound is stunning, awesome and any number of superlatives you may choose to describe it.
The documentary is beautifully put together by Olivia and there is concert footage and rehearsal footage intercut with interviews from them what was there, as well as press conference footage of George and news reports from outside Madison Square showing the ticket queue.
The rest of the extras contain some wonderful surprises including Bonus footage of George and Bob Dylan performing a duet on 'If Not For You' during rehearsals, and a previously unseen (even by George according to a recent interview with Olivia Harrison) performance from Bob Dylan of Love minus zero/no limit. There is a discussion about the production of the original film and album and did anyone reading this know about the secret message on the 6th side of the original vinyl -I have never spotted it in over 30 years of listening but it was put there at George's insistance as his little joke. Backwards music as a nod to all the alleged messages The Beatles included on their albums.
The discussion of the original Album includes footage of Ringo collecting the Grammy. The take a bow section is a beautiful way of name checking every single person who was on the stage with George back on August the 1st 1971.
And I do admit I did shed a tear during the remebering August 1971 section when those being interviewed are asked fr their best moment of the concert and Neil Aspinall said "Seeing George up there fronting the whole thing and seeing him do it so well that was the best moment for me" - Bless you Neil. There are also comments from Lord Putnam and Kofi Anan, as well as several of the artists who appeared at the Concert.
The menu design on the bonus DVD is easy to navigate and features more rehearsal footage and back stage shots as well as a little sound bite of George saying 'Hello Hello Hello' into a microphone
If you haven't already ordered it I would suggest you do so now. You will be helping to support a worthwhile cause, all proceeds will be donated to the George Harrison fund for UNICEF and of course you get a beautiful box set that does George Harrison and his acheivement proud into the bargain.
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on 16 November 2005
This Deluxe package is the business. It is beautiful. It has beautiful sound quality which I for one thought never existed in the original recording. Remastering has become an artform and sometimes adds liitle or nothing to the original but here it is nothing less than dynamite. You can hear Klaus Voorman’s inventive bass playing on ’Wah Wah’. You can actually hear Eric Clapton’s rhythm guitar on ’Bangla Desh’. And much more besides. One feels that one is actually there at this historic concert watching this wonderful DVD. Play Loud as The Plastic Ono Band once said.
The extras are just as revealing. Even the backdrop to the menu selction for Disc 2 with all the musicians walking through a giant hall on the way to the stage to perfom in this historic concert. George Harrison bringing up the rear, with guitar in hand and looking a little nervous. Beautiful comments from among others Eric Clapton (’a time when rock musicians could feel proud of themselves not thinking of themselves for 5 minutes’), Billy Preston (’the mood was so great that I just got up and danced across the stage’). Doing some mad chicken impression. Ego is nowhere to be seen. Just Love. And massive talent. Even the UN Secretary General recites the first two lines of the Bangla Desh song saying this showed the man behind the music. George was and is rightly praised for this at the time daring and heartfelt event. Neil Aspinall is suitably proud of Hari Georgeson as we all should be. So John and Paul didn’t show but was it not absolutely enough to have George and Ringo plus the mercurial presence of Bob Dylan delivering what is possibly his finest ever concert performance? They said at the time that Side 5 (the Dylan side) was worth the price of admission alone, and it is still true 33 years later.
And then we even get treated to some superb outakes including George and Bob performing ’If Not For You’ in rehearsal (this is special!!!). Plus an extra Dylan song ’Love Minus Zero No Limit’ from the first show. Not quite as good as the other four Dylan numbers but incredibly moving all the same. The only minor grumble is the absence of George’s ’Hear Me Lord’ which was (allegedly!) performed in the first show. Was the performance that bad not to include it?! Or maybe this is where the tapes ran out! Minor grumble as I say. Overall Olivia and Co have done us proud this time. Nice one. And one has to say it is great to see Leon Russell today, doing a rather good Father Christmas impression!
This concert was indeed a pioneering event. It is so great to have such a suitably well produced and packaged memento of it. Of a time when the spiritual message of the Beatles was so evidently Alive And Kicking.
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on 7 November 2005
A real treat for fans of George Harrison and the Beatles in general, this package (particularly the de-luxe edition) has been beautifully assembled to commemorate a ground-breaking charity event that, as George himself says, raised awareness of Bangladesh as much as it did money. The film has been lovingly-restored, it sounds great, and the bonus features are fascinating and informative. Stand out moments are of course the Dylan set, Billy Preston's joyous 'That's The Way God Planned It' and Leon Russell's hair, even more amazing on the documentary retrospective! Not quite so good (but forgiveable) Ringo forgetting the words on 'It Don't Come Easy' and Eric Clapton so spaced out that he plays the wrong guitar on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps.' His uncommunicative presence is a poignant reminder that the late 60s had collapsed in a haze of drugs excess, while George's labour of love to bring this show together remind us of both his pure heart and his prescience about the power of music to make a real difference in the world.
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on 4 June 2010
I used to have the vinyl of this concert for years and would play it regularly always noting how good it sounded and really getting a feeling of being there. I wasn't there I was 11 at the time of this concert. But I loved the album nevertheless. I always imagined what it looked like, the stage, the players the whole performance. So when it was released on dvd I had my chance and was not disappointed. For a start its wonderfully packaged in a slip case with a comprehensive booklet. The actual dvds are replicas of the original apple labels (nice touch).
The big surprise is Ravi Shankar and friends, such incredible musicianship a fabulous musical meditation. When George takes to the stage he is looking a bit nervous but when wha wha kicks in he is in his element. A great band behind him, Eric on guitar, Klaus Voormann on bass, Ringo and Jim Keltner on drums, Billy Preston on Keyboards (he does an amazing turn). Its just vibey from beginning to end, the first live aid really. If you like George Harrisons music then this is worthy in your collection. If you want a piece of rock history then this is a must. Truly inspirational.
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on 24 May 2009
This DVD captures the amazing benefit concert for Bangladesh which George Harrison headlined at Madison Square Garden in 1971. Also included in the box set some knick-knacks like post cards and an authentic concert advertisement. As far as the concert itself, words cannot describe the power and energy of the various performances; from "My Sweet Lord" and "Here Comes the Sun" to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". The supporting cast, if one could call it that, includes Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Bad Finger, to name a few. In short, this was everything I expected!
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on 12 April 2015
Large benefit concerts are commonplace now, but this wasn't the case in 1971. When George Harrison sang, 'My friend came to me...' he was referring to Indian classical musician, Ravi Shankar drawing his attention to then current despair and famine in East Pakistan/Bangladesh, with refugees flooding into India. George stepped up to the plate and an all star concert was quickly organised for Madison Square Gardens in New York City.

The original film of the concert gives a good insight into the event and the issues that prompted it. George comes over as humble but very determined to make the show happen. The sound is terrific and the performances all pretty good. Considering he didn't play live much, Harrison really steps up to the plate, and finally manages to coax a retiring Bob Dylan into a great performance.

It's really heartening to see that buying this DVD you are still contributing to The George Harrison fund for Unicef. On the second disc, the great and the good praise George's efforts. When Kofi Annan was wonderfully effusive, I just welled up!
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on 23 February 2011
I was very pleasantly surprised to watch Concert for Bangla Desh,not only are the performances fantastic with a particular favourite of mine,Here Comes the Sun played by both George & Peter Ham of Badfinger.Bob Dylan is very good, backed by George & Leon Russell on Just like a Woman.What I didn't know that this was the first benefit concert & there is some fascinating documentary footage with the people responsible for putting on the concert.I would also beg you not to skip through the opening set by Ravi Shankhar as you will be pleasantly surprised .finally,there are great extras of postcards & a copy of the original poster advertising the concert,so I would urge you to go ahead & purchase said DVD as it celebrates the fortieth anniversary of the concert.
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on 8 November 2005
After some 30 years out of circulation on low fi video, the reissue of this superb concert for charity is most welcome.

What comes across, even more than the (mostly) great music, is the generous spirit of all the performers. George proves himself a great and modest bandleader, not bad for someone who'd never led a group before. Ravi Shankar and his musicians aren't my cup of tea, but the quality and commitment of their performance is clear.

The concert has an engaging, friendly and generous feel which is only tarnished during Leon Russell's misogynistic version of Youngblood (a tune which The Beatles performed pre-1964). Dylan, backed by two Beatles (!), is great, but the show has many highlights.

The picture and sound quality are pretty good considering the age of the source material and the on-stage goings on will bring a smile, and quite possibly a tear, to your face.

The bonus material: interviews then and now, contemporary reports and rehearsals etc, is terrific and makes you appreciate just how much George achieved in organising the event, and how hard he worked to bring it all off. DVD and CD releases include a new Dylan track, Love Minus Zero.

I bought the standard version, as I have the old three LP set with its book already; it's only about half the price of the deluxe version but the DVDs are exactly the same, as far as I can see. And if you don't buy the deluxe set, you'll be able to afford the CDs as well!

A big thank you to the Harrison Estate for bringing this great show back for us to enjoy.
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on 28 February 2013
All George Harrison & Friends wanted to do was save some lives with sadness in his eyes.
A master peace for the year of the two concerts for Bangladesh yet today after all those years have come and gone his music just gets stronger and stronger.
The re mix of sound and lighting is excellent and the quality for the year it was produced is awesome and the music "Something" just makes you want to watch the DVD over and over.
His music has become collectable and a investment and a must have to your collection.
We salute you Mr George Harrison and your Friends for those years gone by.

Ian Thomas
South Africa
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on 28 April 2016
I loved every minute of this first ever benefit concert of its kind with great musicians and the extra footage at the beginning. I am so happy that I can still contribute to this concert's legacy just by purchasing this!!!! (I understand the money from my purchase is now directly going to UNISEF.)
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