The Concert for George DVD

By Tony Copple

This is the best film of a concert I have ever seen.

In the middle of the 20th Century a new form of music was created out of blues and gospel, called rock'n'roll. The formost exponents have been Elvis Presley and the Beatles. Because of the excellence of their musicianship and creativity, rock has not died as many predicted. Instead, popular music, spearhead by rock, is now embedded in society at all levels. When I was a child it was thought of by many as either devil music or a sop for the masses.

In a short burst of supreme creativity, four young men in the sixties conquered first Britain and then the world with the quality of their songs and their personalities. They quit when they were ahead, but the music got bigger. This is one of hundred of web sites today actively celebrating them.

Tragedy struck when John Lennon died. He is one of the best loved composers of music. On 29 November 2001, George Harrison died, and this Albert Hall concert took place exactly a year later, featuring the two survivors among a host of other stars who clearly admit their debt to George.

As I watched it (through tears for the beauty of the songs) I felt that it was a statement of perfection in music. This is what so many strive for, and some die for when they cannot recapture the supreme joy of musical creativity - as explained in David Markee's book The Lost Glory. The concert is also remarkable for a sense of love, by the musicians for their friend, and by everyone for the music. In half a century, a new art form is represented on this disk in brilliance and emotion - a crowning achievement of men and women who believe in the pure quality of the rock genre as it has progressed thus far. Eric Clapton introduced the concert (Markee was once in his band) and played totally true to George. He said they had practised three weeks to get the quality, and it was apparent from this statement of music's achievements by the start of the 21st century.

A pessimist could be forgiven for believing that this concert may become the peak achievement of popular music. I see nothing in today's musical scene that can make a dent in the solid achiements in life and death of The Beatles and where they catapulted rock'n'roll. They said "All you need is love" and permeated their songs with it. A lost art.

Ottawa Beatles Site

Jan 31, 2004