During the first week of May 1941, Adolf Hitler carried out extensive alterations to St Luke’s Church at the top end of Liverpool’s Bold Street. It was an event that “razed the roof”, quite literally.
Eighteen months later, Hitler had moved his attention to cities on the east coast, and just three miles down the road in Wavertree, Mrs Harrison gave birth to her son, George, in number 12 Arnold Grove.
Whether George Harrison ever visited what has since become known as “The Bombed Out Church”, is not known but if he had, he would have smiled in disbelief at the idea that one day, it would host a musical tribute to his life and times.
That day was Sunday 15th September 2021, when shortly after 5.00 pm the opening chord was struck in the first-ever public performance of “Something About George”.
The show was the brainchild of musician Gary Edward Jones, whose show “Something About Simon” has enjoyed critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Gary’s voice, musicianship, stature and appearance made him a natural to play Paul Simon, but for this show, he looked for a performer more befitting the role of “the quiet Beatle”.
His search led him to Liverpool actor/musician Daniel Taylor, later to be joined by Keyboard player Ben Gladwin and lead guitarist Jon Fellows.
We attended the first of the evening’s two performances in this magical open-air venue, a setting that became even more magical as dusk beckoned, bringing the lighting effects to their full glory.
As often happens, first-night nerves were in evidence, and although I doubt many of the audience noticed, George himself might have winced at a couple of missed high notes. All things must pass, of course, and as Daniel and the band moved on to perform the famous song of that title, the nerves were gone. These guys were cooking on gas!
Daniel Taylor shone in his depiction of George Harrison but a special mention goes to Ben Gladwin whose faultless and often wildly enthusiastic performance on keyboard knitted the whole show together from start to finish.
We were treated to a 75-minute musical anthology, narrated by Daniel as he moved seamlessly from song to song. “If Not For You”, “My Sweet Lord”, “Something”, “Bangladesh” “All Those Years Ago”. All the numbers we had hoped to hear were there – and more. Songs from George’s solo career, from the Wilburys and, of course, from the Beatles era. I loved the way Daniel utilised his acting talents by falling into character during his narration, especially the Brummie accent he mustered for a conversation George once had with fellow Travelling Wilbury, Jeff Lynne.
As the moon rose over St Luke’s and the final notes of “Here Comes the Sun” echoed around its hallowed walls, the appreciative audience responded with a standing ovation.