Release Date: Feb 26, 2016
Record label: BMG Rights Management
Team George—now that’s a fierce genus of Beatlemaniac. They’ve inspected and cast aside the iconoclast cool of John, girded themselves against the snug, romantic haze of Paul. (A basic lack of sociopathy steers them from Ringo trutherism.) Harrison’s tribe is possessive because he, along with Bowie and Morrissey, was one of rock’s great shepherds of outsiders—a gentle mascot for those who also feel a bit too curious, a little too sensitive when held to bright lights.
George Fest: A Night to Celebrate George Harrison happened at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles on September 28, 2014 and the whole shindig appeared in a variety of incarnations -- CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and downloads -- in February of 2016, a few days after what would've been the Beatle's 73rd birthday. His son Dhani directed the concert and, with the exception of Brian Wilson and Heart's Ann Wilson, he favored alt-rock stars of the 2000s: the Killers' Brandon Flowers, Nick Valensi from the Strokes, Spoon's Britt Daniel, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Cold War Kids, and the Flaming Lips form the backbone of this tribute. Around this core orbit some names that seem suitable (Norah Jones, Ben Harper, Perry Farrell), some that seem odd (Ian Astbury, Karen Elson), and some that seem like ringers (Conan O'Brien, Weird Al Yankovic), but this group is united by an affection for George Harrison, a love that runs so deep that none of the crew even make feints toward possible reinterpretations of the tunes.
Dhani Harrison’s career as a musician was born out of the unfortunate circumstances of his father’s death. He studied visual arts at Brown before helping his father, George Harrison, record his final album when the latter’s cancer was pronounced terminal. With the help of Jeff Lynne, Dhani completed Brainwashed after his father died. In 2002, and with the surviving members of The Beatles, Dhani participated in the Concert for George on the one-year anniversary of his death, the proceeds of which were donated to Harrison’s charity, The Material World Foundation.
In the fall of 2014, an expansive group of artists – from Brian Wilson to Butch Walker – got together for two concerts in Los Angeles honoring George Harrison. George Fest is a concert album put on by Best Fest, the traveling tribute-show series that has convened all-star tributes to Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac. This 27-song set is a celebration of the singer-songwriter's introspective songbook.
There’s literally nothing that can be said about George Harrison that hasn’t been said before. Although his tenure with the Beatles found him laboring in the shadows of Lennon and McCartney, he was a brilliant songwriter in his own right, and the material he composed for both the band and his own singular solo career continues to resonate, some fifteen years after his premature passing. It’s likely it always will.