In the ’60s, Denny Laine and his Moody Blues band opened for the Beatles. On Saturday he was onstage again, this time with former Beatles drummer Pete Best paying tribute to George Harrison.
Two days after hearing Harrison had died of cancer, Laine, Best, Spencer Davis, and more than a dozen other musicians remembered the “quiet Beatle” at Chicago’s House of Blues.
“It was an uncanny feeling,” said Laine, who also played in Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles group, Wings. “George was a very close friend. It’s comforting to play like this.”
As many as 16 musicians — including the members of American English, a costumed Beatles cover band — packed the stage to play a range of Beatles songs, from “Norwegian Wood” to “Let it Be.”
“George was a very special person,” Laine told the crowd of several hundred. “I know you all loved him. I loved him. God bless you George.”
At one point, Davis reminded the crowd that John Lennon, shot by a deranged fan in 1980, had also died young. “This is something for John and George,” Davis said before launching into a rendition of “Got to Get You Into My Life”.
Best was silent through most of the show. His most animated display came late in the concert when a chant of “Best, Best, Best” moved the drummer to stand and bow.
In related news, Harrison’s family over the weekend thanked fans for their affectionate tributes and invited them to take part today in a minute of meditation in tribute to the late Beatle.
“We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and compassion from people around the world. The profound beauty of the moment of George’s passing — of his awakening from this dream — was no surprise to those of us who knew how he longed to be with God. In that pursuit, he was relentless,” wife Olivia Harrison and son Dhani Harrison said in a statement.
A family funeral has already been held, of which no details were released. Instead, Harrison’s widow and son have asked fans to join them for a tribute.
“Olivia and Dhani invite you to join them in a minute of meditation in honor of George’s journey, wherever you are on Monday at 1:30 p.m. PST [4:30 p.m. EST],” family friend Gavin de Becker said.
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