Some things don't pass: George was too shy about himself to admit the love to him would last.
"What a night! I loved George and George loved me!" If it was somebody else who shouted these words, they might sound pretentious, but Ringo Starr pinned it all down, because an evening of George Harrison's music which took place at Albert Hall on November 29th, 2002, a year to the day after the Quite One passed away, was a celebration rather than mourning. It's easy to notice the similarities between this event and Concert For Bangla Desh, with Ravi Shankar's indian orchestra opening both; this time, though, the sitar solo had been passed to his daughter Anoushka and Jeff Lynne organically squeezing "The Inner Light" into the enchanting mantra. That wasn't the only unlikely choice from the Fabs' catalogue - Tom Petty dusted off "Taxman" and Gary Brooker went for "Old Brown Shoe" - so there's a good attempt of reinstating Harrison's role in THE BEATLES, even though Billy Preston couldn't keep from finishing "Isn't A Pity" with a "Hey Jude" singalong. Yet the time and the place were right for that.
Too right - even Paul McCartney became overshadowed by George's spiritual presence, and maybe not only George's, as it was John Lennon who played an original slide guitar solo in "For You Blue" McCartney started his little set with before proceeding with doing "Something" on ukelele, the way Harrison loved, rousing "All Things Must Pass", and reproducing, with Eric Clapton and Ringo, their original piano, guitar and drums parts on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". What could turn into a big mess, with six guitarists and six drummers playing at the same time on some songs, didn't and it's a top playing throughout, particular highlights being Albert Lee and Gary Brooker's incandescent solos on "Honey Don't" and Petty, Lynne and Dhani Harrison take on TRAVELING WILBURYS' "Handle With Care".
The meaning of many lyrics, as Starr remarked, have changed - in "Photograph", in Clapton-delivered "If I Needed Someone", in Petty and THE HEARTBREAKERS version of "I Need You" - and that's, perhaps, the greatest example of universality of George's songs that they can be sung in sorrow as well as in joy and revealing more and more of their depth.