Bliss. Total bliss. Brilliant music brilliantly delivered by brilliant musicians. And – the icing on the cake – the night brought the sell-out audience the band so richly deserved.
Think of The Beatles, both solo and together, and inevitably it’s Lennon and McCartney you think of. Even after all these years, “the quiet Beatle” still slips under the radar – which is precisely why a night in the company of The All Things Must Pass Orchestra is such pure pleasure.
George Harrison is their sole focus, and the ten-piece orchestra does his music justice, delivering the songs with freshness and energy – and supreme skill.
Alex Eberhard is the band leader, sounding more than enough like Harrison to make the whole thing work while at the same time tribute in its truest sense – ie absolutely avoiding slavish corny impersonation.
Behind him every member of his George Harrison big band plays a vital part, the sheer scale of it all underlining the sheer scale of Harrison’s output. A wonderful version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps will linger long in memory, as will the track that gives the orchestra its name. My Sweet Lord was a great way to round the night off, and Here Comes The Sun and Something were beautifully, spine-tinglingly done.
But there was also plenty for those of us proud to consider ourselves Harrison anoraks, with great versions of Cheer Down and P2 Vatican Blues and even, maybe most ambitious of all, a stab at Within You Without You which worked remarkably well. A sad note was that this was the last gig with the band for departing backing singer Lo Polidoro whose What Is Life was outstanding in a very crowded field. All in all, a great night then – and a great night too for the Festival of Chichester which more than doubled the band’s audience from last year to this. Phil Hewitt
'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?'