Photos: George Fest’s all-star lineup celebrates the music of George Harrison at the Fonda Theatre



Recap and photos by Michelle Shiers

The stars – and the crowd – came out for Sunday night’s “George Fest: A Night to Celebrate the Music of George Harrison,” a benefit for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund originally scheduled for the El Rey Theatre but moved to the bigger Fonda Theatre because of ticket demand. And no wonder.

||| More photos and the setlist below

From the beginning, when surprise guest Conan O’Brien took the stage and performed “Old Brown Shoe,” the mood was celebratory. “They said lets put the comic on first, give him a guitar and that will set the bar really freakin’ low, and everyone else is gonna sound amazing alright?” O’Brien wisecracked.

Jamestown Revival and then Chase Cohl and Brian Bell of Weezer followed, kicking off a jaw-dropping parade of musicians who were true Harrison enthusiasts. Butch Walker performed a rocking version of “Any Road,” and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club brought a kind of psychedelic folk with “Art Of Dying.” Indie-rockers Cold War Kids and Spoon’s Britt Daniel took the stage, as well as members of the Flaming Lips. One of the more surprising appearances came from Weird Al Yankovic, who did not do parody but instead sang “What Is Life” with plenty of jumps, hair flips, and wide-eyed stares.

George’s son, Dhani Harrison, followed to a big reception and performed alongside members of the Killers and Jane’s Addiction. Jane’s frontman Perry Farrell was joined by his wife Etty and Karen Elson, Norah Jones and more for “Here Comes The Sun.” Jones delivered an intimate version of “Something,” followed by Dhani Harrison and the Killers’ Brandon Flowers, who got the crowd moving again with “Got My Mind Set On You.”

The last three songs of the evening had the stage packed. Legendary Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Al Jardine sang “My Sweet Lord,” with Wilson sitting behind a keyboard snapping his fingers. The ensemble filled the stage for two final songs, with various participants trading vocals on “Handle With Care” and Big Black Delta’s Jonathan Bates assigned the tough task of singing the Roy Orbison’s part. “All Things Must Pass” closed the show, a fitting finale even if, in the case of the songs shared on this night, gret music never passes, it’s just passed on.


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

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 – 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

Handle With Care (GRAND FINALE) – 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 (GRAND FINALE) – Dhani Harrison, Ann Wilson, Karen Elson, Norah Jones, et al