A ten-piece band dedicated to the Quiet Beatle’s work, they celebrated the music of the late, great George Harrison at Brighton Komedia on June 8 before playing the next night in Harrison’s adopted town with a date at Kenton Theatre, Henley-on-Thames on June 9.
And now it’s the Festival of Chichester’s turn – for the third year in a row. However, this year there is a crucial difference. After more than doubling their audiences at Chichester’s Pallant Suite from year one to year two, this year they step up to the considerably-bigger Alexandra Theatre at Bognor’s Regis Centre (Wednesday, June 28, 8pm).
There they will be joined on ukulele by Sam Brown, daughter of musician Joe Brown, one of George’s closest friends and the man who brought the house down at the George Harrison tribute concert, The Concert for George at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 29 2002, a memorial to Harrison on the first anniversary of his death.
Joe Brown closed the show with a rendition of I’ll See You in My Dreams on ukulele, one of Harrison’s favourite instruments. Sam was also among the performers that night – a concert which now brings Sam full circle.
The Concert for George was the inspiration for singer Alex Eberhard when he set up The All Things Must Pass Orchestra, since when the band has gained an ever-growing fanbase – as its Festival of Chichester successes have shown.
But that’s the level it is likely to stay for a while, Alex concedes: “It is all so much work, and around 90 per cent of that falls on my shoulders. As a working musician, I can’t just dedicate all of my time to it. If it were just a hobby and I had a steady day job, I would try to do more, but I need to earn my living as a musician.
“Ideally I would find a promoter that would see the potential of working with us. It has been a very steep learning curve for myself learning what to do and what not to do. I have made many mistakes along the way. On the promotion side, you need to have a marketing company to put the posters out instead of trying to do it yourself. And the second learning curve is finding the right marketing company.
“But certainly, our reputation is growing. For Henley, we have a gentleman from Italy coming specially to see the show, and there are a couple of people from California that are coming for the show. Our following is growing.
“And for me, the great pleasure is to explore material that I just vaguely knew from when I was a teenager and am now trying to figure out musically. And people love it. I think the people that come to our concerts are the ones that we don’t need to convince. Our trombone player Paul says that when you look at Trump and all the horrible things that are happening, the music of George Harrison becomes even more relevant than ever. It makes George Harrison’s music all the more important.”
And for this year, they will add to their set Apple Scruffs, off the All Things Must Pass album: “The Apple Scruffs were the hard-core Beatles fans that stood outside the Beatles building all day long hoping to get a glimpse of the Beatles. The song is George’s nice dedication to the fans.”
Festival of Chichester tickets from Chichester Box Office, The Novium; 01243 816525 or 775888; http://www.thenovium.org/boxoffice.
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