Wednesday 30 November 2011

Liverpool Remembers George

Review by Donna Jackson
of Liverpool's Day of
Remembrance and Celebration
for George,
November 29, 2011

Last night a candle was placed on either side of the Cavern's stage.  At the start of the evening, the candle at the left hand side of the stage burned brightly.  At 9.20pm, the candle was carried carefully and lovingly to the other side of the stage; the second candle was lit and although the first candle was blown out, the light continued to shine strongly and brightly.

It was a beautiful and fitting tribute to a man who made such a difference to so many lives, and a perfect reminder that, although George is no longer with us in person, his light will never go out.

The tribute was part of a full day of events in Liverpool celebrating the life of the 'quiet' Beatle.  The city honoured one of its favourite sons by flying the flags over the town hall, and over St George's Hall at half-mast.

Liverpool's day of remembrance and celebrations began with a short prayer ceremony at the Anglican Cathedral.  At the conclusion of the ceremony, confetti composed of rose petals, doves, musical notes and butterflies cascaded from the ceiling as we stood in silence -- and it was very clear to all of us that this was going to be a special, but emotional, day.

In the afternoon, a Free Concert for George was held in the Concert Room at St George's Hall, although the hall seemed to have been temporarily renamed!

We were treated to a three hour concert that highlighted George's talent as well as his many interests.  Tsema opened the show with a spine-tingling a capella version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and was followed by the Rebels, who performed some of the early rock and rollers that George loved, as well as some of his later work.  We were reminded of George's love for Indian music by a fabulous performance by Singh Strings.

The closing act of the first half proved to be the most emotional for most of us though.  The Liverpool Ukelele Orchestra took to the stage and performed a great selection of music, including a wonderful version of Piggies, finishing with "I'll See You In My Dreams."  I don't think there was a dry eye in the house as the first half ended.

Liverpool Ukelele Orchestra

The theme of the second half of the show was celebration!  The Mersey Beatles opened the second half with fabulous performances of some of George's Beatles classics, and were joined on stage by Jeff Slate for part of the set.

Jeff Slate with The Mersey Beatles

The party continued with the Radha Krishna Temple, again highlighting George's love for India, as well as his spirituality.

The Radha Krishna Temple

The final performance of the afternoon was by Andre Barreau of the Bootleg Beatles. He performed song from George's solo catalogue, and, along with all the afternoon's performers as well as the audience, closed the show with a spirited rendition of "My Sweet Lord".

The Free Concert for George may have ended but the day wasn't over.  After a delicious meal provided by the Hare Krishnas, the celebrations of George's life continued in the Cavern.  The acts who had worked so hard during the afternoon took to the stage again, sharing more of George's fabulous music with a very appreciative audience.


The Rebels

Singh Strings
The moment of George's passing was marked with the beautiful ceremony with the candles, and although there were a few tears and moments of sadness, the night was full of love and laughter and wonderful music.  Such a fitting legacy for such a remarkable man.

George told us to "love one another" and the city of Liverpool was filled with love yesterday for a truly special man.  Thank you George and I hope you were smiling down on your home town yesterday.  I think you were.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent review of a superb day of remembrance and celebration for George in his home city.