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Concert For Bangladesh Revisited
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.