REVIEW: The All Things Must Pass Orchestra, Festival of Chichester, Pallant Suite, Chichester.

Bliss. Total bliss. Brilliant music brilliantly delivered by brilliant musicians.

The All Things Must Pass Orchestra
The All Things Must Pass Orchestra

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.

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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

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