It's 1971, and music fans are bummed. The Beatles have broken up, Hendrix and Joplin have overdosed, and Altamont has stolen rock culture's innocence. But George Harrison is at the peak of his inspirational powers. His concert to benefit the war-, flood- and famine-stricken people of Bangladesh, dreamed up at the urging of Ravi Shankar, becomes the first of its kind and a template for all the mega-benefits that followed. Except that here, after a stellar set by Shankar and company, we don't get one act after another but one huge band. The musicians, who include Ringo Starr on drums, a charismatic Leon Russell on piano and Eric Clapton on lead guitar, all end up backing Harrison on his solo hits and the best of his Beatles catalogue. The acoustic set, featuring Harrison in a breathtaking version of Here Comes The Sun, and later, Bob Dylan singing - really singing, honest - with Russell and Harrison on backing vocals, is actually moving. Given the relatively primitive technology, the sound (Harrison put Phil Spector in the truck) and picture are pretty decent.
No stunning extras here, although in the making-of doc on disc 2 we do get a sense of the naïveté of the organizers. (Harrison and company forgot that the record companies wouldn't let the record hit the streets without getting artists' releases.) And Clapton admits he was wasted during the whole thing. But you don't need him to tell you that. Just compare clear-eyed Harrison and head-nodding Clapton onstage. All memorable.