Liverpool to stage Harrison memorial concert

Ian Herbert,North
Tuesday 05 February 2002 01:00

The City of Liverpool is to commemorate the life of George Harrison by staging a tribute concert, Britain's only memorial event for the former Beatle.

The concert will be held at the city's Empire Theatre on 24 February – which would have been the 59th birthday of the singer-songwriter, who died of cancer in November.

The opening segment of the concert will revive memories of the Merseybeat era with appearances by Gerry and the Pacemakers and other Sixties bands, while the second half will feature more modern artists. Names have not been disclosed but Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, who were co-members with Harrison of the Traveling Wilburys, are likely to have been approached, along with Eric Clapton, Joe Brown, Jools Holland and Chris de Burgh – all of whom had musical associations with Harrison.

It is thought unlikely that Sir Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr, the only remaining members of the Beatles, will be present though it would be typical of Sir Paul's relationship with Liverpool for him to keep his presence low key and turn up with just a guitar in his hand.

Neil Aspinall, head of the Beatles' management company, Apple, said the musician's wife, Olivia, and son, Dhani, were "touched with the idea". Those performing in the show are giving their services free with all money raised being donated to Macmillan Cancer Relief and other cancer charities.

Liverpool is still deciding how permanently to commemorate Harrison's life, though local MPs who led a campaign to award him a posthumous knighthood appeared to have their hopes quashed yesterday when the Cabinet Office insisted such honours could only be bestowed for "acts of valour".

Instead, he may be remembered through the renaming of a Liverpool landmark. The Victorian Palm House in Sefton Park, which Harrison helped restore, is a popular suggestion.

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