Various The Concert for Bangladesh

In the spring of 1971, East Pakistan (soon to become Bangladesh) was devastated by both civil war and extensive flooding, a catastrophe that left as many as three million people dead but which nevertheless went largely unreported in the west. Hearing of this disaster from Ravi Shankar, George Harrison rapidly organised the first large-scale benefit concert, calling in friends like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and Ringo Starr. The concert itself raised an insignificant amount of money, but the subsequent LP (produced by Phil Spector) and film (directed by Saul Swimmer) fared much better and more importantly, succeeded at raising considerable awareness about the developing world. Unlike the bloated, self-congratulatory extravaganzas we’re now used to seeing, this benefit concert was really quite an excellent show, one that easily stands up to repeated viewing, with terrific performances from All Things Must Pass-era Harrison and amnesia-era Dylan. The new DVD release looks and sounds great (as you’d expect), but the extras are singularly disappointing: the 45-minute documentary reveals little of note and is dominated by clips from the movie itself (why bother?), the "mini-features” are little more than filler, and the three extra songs, while welcome, are hardly worth a second disc. On the upside, proceeds from sales of the DVD go to UNICEF. (Rhino)