George Harrison Weekend in
23-25 February 2002
George's birthday weekend began in earnest on Saturday 23 February 2002 with the usual Liverpool Tours George Day. We are used to the quality of these Days and this one was, we discovered, no different. We all met up at the Albert Dock, joined the bus, waited for the stragglers (you know who you are!) and then set off to see the George sites of Liverpool, with some surprises along the way. Jackie, as usual, was in fine form and we couldn't shut her up all day, which is a good thing given that she is THE BEST BEATLE GUIDE IN LIVERPOOL!
Jackie revealed one of the surprises as we were heading out of the Albert Dock and told everyone that we had one of George's cousins onboard. Gerard Fox and his wife had decided to join us after a chance meeting with Jackie who told them what we were all doing that weekend. They turned out to be a wonderful couple and thoroughly enjoyed the day.
In between Jackie telling her stories we listened to George's music and sang along but the funniest musical moment came when we played My Sweet Lord. Jackie had written out all the Hallelujah's, etc., on pieces of paper and put them into a flip book and as we reached each part I stood up with the book and flipped the pages over ala Bob Dylan in the video for Subterranean Homesick Blues....it was truly hilarious and everyone was laughing their heads off but it was sooooo much fun! I'm now looking for a job in video!!!
When we reached Arnold Grove, Gerard told us a little about when he had lived in those streets and took us to see his old house in the next street to George and where his Grandmother had lived too. He was so gracious about all of this and those on the tour felt privileged to meet him and his wife.
Another surprise came when we reached Sefton Park Palm House. We were greeted by a school choir who sang George/Beatle songs for us. They had worked for weeks learning the songs and it was a delight to watch such young children enjoying singing these songs for everyone. The next generation of Beatle fans perhaps?? If you get the opportunity to visit the Palm House, do so....it's an amazing structure and of course the George connection is that he donated the money that started off the fund that was formed to renovate the whole building. It is a truly wonderful piece of architecture.
As we traversed our way back into the city centre everyone was getting hungry and so in keeping with the George theme we made our way to the Shah Balti House Indian Restaurant in Liverpool City Centre where lunch was laid on for us. The food was fabulous and everyone tucked in heartily.
The evening event took place at The Aintree Institute and we were entertained by The Blue Meanies who did a fantastic job all evening. We had taken over the Institute for the evening and were a little worried that the "locals" would not enjoy listening to a Beatle band all evening....how wrong can you be? Everyone was up dancing and singing along all night. It was a fabulous night. Lots of money was raised via raffles, etc., and the Club kindly donated the money to a Cancer charity in George's name. They had made us so welcome and we really appreciated the banner that adorned the top of the stage which read "George Harrison, MBE 1943 - 2001". At the end of the evening we all sang along to MSL and then sang Happy Birthday to George. Those who were not from Liverpool really enjoyed the whole evening and were enticed into playing ...wait for it.....Bingo!!!!
The next main event was the George Tribute Concert at The Empire Theatre in Liverpool. Everyone had given their services free in aid of various Cancer charities. Among those who performed were: The Ivy League, The Merseybeats, Ralph McTell, Pete Wylie (The Might Wah), The Blue Meanies, Hari Georgeson, Shalil Shankar (who had travelled from Switzerland to be here) and Pete Waterman. The evening was compared by Billy Butler and Phil Easton.
Everyone was just about getting ready to leave when Phil Easton started to say something about "isn't it funny when you feel you've forgotten something"......then he handed over to Billy Butler who went on to say that you always get a drunk who wants to be on stage, etc., and then said "here he is, Paul McCartney".......everyone jumped to their feet screaming and shouting, and Paul sauntered into the middle of the stage visibly feeling lots of emotion. You could actually hear the audience gasp in shock as he walked to the middle of the stage. He spread his arms out and shouted "Georgie" as he reached the mic. He talked briefly about how he felt he just had to be here, a little about George and then he said that he had not prepared anything for the evening and started to sing "Yesterday" unaccompanied. His voice was cracked as he began and he was obviously feeling very emotional, he beckoned the audience to join him and I've never heard anything so beautiful as hearing the whole of the Theatre singing along with Paul, it was so lovely. Paul changed some of the words to reflect that he was singing about George....he sang "why HE had to go, I don't know HE didn't say". When he finished he called all the performers onto the stage and the Blue Meanies wasted no time, they were at his side before you could say boo to a goose! Blue Meanies "Paul" handed Macca his bass, Macca took it saying "what's this" and laughing he promptly handed it back. Paul turning up to pay tribute to George was the icing on the cake. Secretly I think we all knew he wouldn't be able to stay away, this is, after all, Liverpool, his people and it was all about George.
The final event of the weekend was the unveiling of the George Tribute Wall at the Beatles Story in the Albert Dock. The Lord Mayor was asked to perform this ceremony and he did it very well. He actually did sound as though he meant the words he said. The wall will be a permanent feature for all to place their messages and tributes to George. I understand from Sandra Quillam at the Beatles Story that the messages will be taken down periodically and archived to make way for new ones. This is a wonderful idea and I thanked Mike Byrne, Director at the BS, on behalf of all Beatle fans for this great idea. There is an area set up with a long table, chairs and all the things you need to create a simple or very creative message, there is also a computer for those who want to be techie about it all (lol!) and a condolence book.
What a great weekend.....and then it was Tuesday and I had to go back to work.......oh, well....it was great while it lasted.
Once again a good time was guaranteed for all and Jackie Spencer, Liverpool Tours....does it oh so well....I would work with her anytime, and frequently do.....looking forward now to Paul Day in June with some special surprises there too.
While writing I want to say that we missed you Jane....get well soon.
Back to Home Page