FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: All Things Must Pass: the music of George Harrison, the Pallant Suite, Chichester.

All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass

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This concert will undoubtedly prove one of the high spots of the entire 2015 Festival of Chichester. In fact, one of the high spots of our three Festivals of Chichester so far.

Tribute is a much-debased word and one the musicians would probably resist, but a tribute in the truest, finest sense was precisely what they delivered: a celebration of George Harrison’s music, delivered with huge affection and immense skill.

Harrison’s nature was to be the “quiet one”, the one all too easily overlooked. But quietly he amassed an astonishing body of work which, post-Beatles, tumbled out on the astonishing triple album, All Things Must Pass – the starting point, the end point and indeed the name for Alex Eberhard’s hugely-impressive ten-piece homage.

On a wonderful night for the festival, for the band and for everyone in the audience, All Things Must Pass ranged widely through Harrison’s work from his Beatles days through to his posthumously-released final album.

They did so with brilliance, daring to do their own thing at times but always capturing the spirit of the music and the man, quite probably the most fascinating of all the Fab Four.

Alex’s vocals were close, so close, without ever reeking of imitation. In fact, it was the naturalness of everyone on stage that made it all so thoroughly enjoyable.

Backing vocalists Lo Polidoro and Stella Clifford enhanced everything throughout; Alex and fellow Austrian Bernd Rest were superb on guitars; bassist Dave Barnard was rock solid and Marianne Hillier-Brook a revelation on drums. Harrison, so sophisticated a composer, was fortunate to work with a string of great drummers. Posthumously, he’s found another great one here.

Put it all together, and it was an evening you couldn’t help but smile through – whilst vigorously kicking yourself for not listening to more Harrison, a resolve most of us probably went home with.

How often are Harrison’s songs put together in this way? All Things Must Pass did us and Harrison himself a great favour on a classy night. Harrison’s music demands superb musicianship; and that’s exactly what it got.

This was a memorable night indeed. Now… just how do we get them back next year?

Phil Hewitt

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