Happy Birthday Mr. George Harrison!
Tomorrow, February 25th would have been George Harrison’s 75th birthday (he passed away in 2001) and to celebrate I thought I’d post a review of a new 2 CD/2 Blu-Ray reissue that just came out featuring Harrison’s music – “Concert for George”.
The Concert for George took place at the Royal Albert Hall in the London on November 29, 2002 and was a celebration of the life and music of George Harrison that featured a host of Harrison’s famous friends (and legendary musicians) playing Harrison’s music and sharing personal memories of him.
The concert performers included former Beatles band mates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as Harrison’s Traveling Wilbury cohorts Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame) and Tom Petty (and the Heartbreakers) as well as Harrison’s dear friend Eric Clapton plus Bill Preston and Harrison’s only son Dhani Harrison.
Needless to say the concert is a stellar representation of George Harrison’s music that features some of my favorite live performances from Paul McCartney (“For You Blue”, “Something” and “All Things Must Pass”) and Ringo Starr (“Photograph” and “Honey Don’t”) as well as a killer live version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that features not only McCartney and Starr but Eric Clapton who played guitar on The Beatles original studio recording.
Really all the performers shine in this concert and it’s an emotional and joyful celebration and a perfect tribute to the life and music of George Harrison.
In observance of Harrison’s 75th birthday, the George Harrison estate decided to reissue “Concert for George” in several new configurations.
The “Concert for George” had previously been issued by Rhino Records in 2003 (CD and DVD) and 2011 (Blu-Ray) but the new versions released yesterday include: CD, 2 CD/2 DVD set, 2 CD/ 2 Blu-Ray set and 4 Lp vinyl set as well as a sold out more expensive vinyl set with deluxe extras that was available strictly through georgeharrison.com.
Now, I own the previous versions of this set and was not really overexcited by this re-release but I did manage to pick up a copy of the new 2 CD/ 2 Blu-Ray set to compare and see if there was any improvements to previous releases.
The most recent release of this concert from 2011, a 2 Blu-Ray set, was my preferred version of this concert – until now.
While the credits in the booklet only mention a remastering of the audio (I think) I compared the Blu-Ray’s in the new set to the 2011 version and I could see a definite improvement in the clarity of the picture on this new set.
The old one was no slouch but it did tend to look a bit blurrier on certain shots and softer then this new set.
I particularly noticed things like the fabric and light on the backdrop of the stage on the first rock song “I Want to Tell You” seemed to stand out more with better clarity and texture.
I also noticed that Ringo Starr’s jacket was a richer shade of red and again seemed clearer than the previous Blu-Ray and McCartney’s clothes also seemed to have a sharpness that was somewhat lacking in the previous Blu-Ray version.
Not to say the previous one was bad and that it’s a night and day difference but the new Blu-Ray set was a joy to watch and going back and forth with the old Blu-Ray seemed to confirm that the new set overall had better clarity for sure.
The sound on every edition is superb and the new set is no different. I’ve always liked the sound on the Blu-Rays better then the CDs which is still the case here.
The CD version is a bit flatter or glassy sounding to me compared to the surround version on the Blu-Ray but not bad by any means.
I didn’t notice a huge difference in sound quality on the new CD version but will have to spend more time with it to see if it’s much different at all.
I will say if you’ve never seen or bought this concert before then this new set is a MUST as it’s a terrific concert filled with one stellar performance after another.
If you own previous versions it’s not night and day better but I do think the new Blu-Ray’s do look better. It’s up to whether or not you’re a huge fan of Harrison or his music (or if you have ‘collectoritis’ like me) as to whether it’s worth buying this once again.
As usual there are photos above of the new set and a couple of screen shots which unfortunately won’t help you see the crispness of the picture but I thought I’d throw them in for grins anyway.
Even if you don’t get this set take a minute tomorrow to play a George Harrison song or two in celebration of Harrison’s 75th.
Until next time, you say it’s your birthday …