LIVE: Dhani Harrison and Friends Come Together at the Fonda to Celebrate George Harrison for Jameson’s “George Fest” (9/28/14)

A relaxed night heavy on surprise guest stars and tracks from All Things Must Pass.

George Fest
September 28, 2014
The Fonda Theatre

Los Angeles, California

Before the night’s finale, as he profusely thanked everyone that put the celebration of his father’s music together, Dhani Harrison summed up the evening’s tone. “This isn’t the Concert for George. Everyone is just meant to have a good time!” The liveliness of the two-and-a-half-hour benefit was palpable from the performances by a revolving door of incredible musicians, each one taking on one of the Beatle’s unforgettable songs with the essential help from Jameson’s own Best Fest hosting group, The Cabin Down Below Band.

Fresh off his show’s “George Harrison Week,” Conan O’Brien opened the night with a Beatles B-side, “Old Brown Shoe.” “They put the comic on first, then the bar would be set so low that everyone else will sound amazing,” Conan joked, but his warning wasn’t needed because of the immense amount of talented individuals that were due to step out on stage and perform after him.

Conan O'Brien  / by Torey Mundkowsky

Conan O’Brien / by Torey Mundkowsky

While the audience knew that some of the artists (all performing for free to ensure that all the ticket sales went to charity) would thrive—Britt Daniel, Norah Jones, and Ann Wilson—the real joy came from unexpected sources. Both The Strokes’ Nick Valensi and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers commanded the stage without their respective bands, while Weird Al’s faithful rendition of “What Is Life” floored everyone.

Weird Al / by Torey Mundkowsky

Weird Al / by Torey Mundkowsky

George Fest ended like most star-studded benefits, with a couple of jam-packed sing-a-longs. The crowd could feel Dhani’s easiness and gratitude. This wasn’t an evening that mourned the loss of one of the greatest musicians; it was a party to celebrate the gorgeous songs he created. This was never more apparent than watching Harrison and Jonathan Bates (Big Black Delta) sing “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll),” where the two highlighted the minute details within the deep cut. Hearing the pair somberly sing the incredibly faint, almost secret chorus reminded everyone that no matter how well you know a song, there is always something new to appreciate, and something to learn from sharing it with others. FL


George Fest performances

“Awaiting on You All” – The Cabin Down Below Band
“Old Brown Shoe” – Conan O’Brien, with Jimmy Vivino
“If I Needed Someone” – Jamestown Revival
“For You Blue” – Chase Cohl with Brian Bell of Weezer
“Isn’t It a Pity” – The Black Ryder with Eric Pulido of Midlake
“If Not For You” – Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards
“Any Road” – Butch Walker
“Be Here Now” – Ian Astbury of The Cult
“Art of Dying” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
“Taxman” – Cold War Kids
“I Me Mine” – Britt Daniel & Alex Fischel, with Steve Drozd of The Flaming Lips
“I’d Have You Anytime” – Karen Elson with Norah Jones
“Give Me Love (Peace on Earth)” – Ben Harper
“What Is Life” – Weird Al Yankovic
“Let It Down” – Dhani Harrison with Jimmy Vivino, Mark Stoermer of The Killers, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, Jonathan Bates of Big Black Delta, and Aaron Embry
“Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)” – Jonathan Bates of Big Black Delta with Dhani Harrison with Jimmy Vivino, Mark Stoermer of The Killers, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction, Aaron Embry
“Savoy Truffle” – Dhani Harrison
“Wah-Wah” – Nick Valensi of The Strokes, Matt Sorum
“It’s All Too Much” – Wayne Coyne & Steve Drozd of The Flaming Lips, with Gingger Shankar, Pat Sansone of Wilco
“Here Comes the Sun” – Perry Farrell with Etty Farrell, Wayne Coyne & Steve Drozd of The Flaming Lips, Norah Jones, Karen Elson
“Something” – Norah Jones with Karen Elson, Jillette Johson
“Behind that Locked Door” – Norah Jones
“Beware of Darkness” – Ann Wilson with Matt Sorum
“Got My Mind Set on You” – Brandon Flowers with Dhani Harrison
“My Sweet Lord” – Brian Wilson & Al Jardine, with Perry Farrell, Norah Jones, Karen Elson, Elvis Perkins, Ryan Miller of Guster, Jimmy Vivino, Wayne Coyne, Britt Daniel of Spoon
[grand finale]
“Handle With Care” – Dhani Harrison, Britt Daniel of Spoon, Jonathan Bates of Big Black Delta, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, Brandon Flowers, Weird Al Yankovic, et al
“All Things Must Pass” – Dhani Harrison, Ann Wilson, Karen Elson, Norah Jones, et al


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