From the Stacks

From The Stacks: George Harrison, ‘Madison Square Garden August 1, 1971’ (Bootleg)

Why own a bootleg copy of part of The Concert For Bangladesh? That’s a fair question. Bangladesh, after all, is an iconic album–a must have for any collection, really, and copies are plentiful and affordable.

It’s so iconic that it’s nearly mythical. All those legends on stage, making history. To be at Madison Square Garden on that night must have been like treading sacred ground.

That’s where this audience recording comes in. What’s happening on what seems to be a very distant stage isn’t much more audible than the crowd milling around. They talk among themselves, whoop, and applaud. Occasionally a vendor walks by shouting, “Ice cream! Ice cream!”

Suddenly that night at MSG takes a different tone. It wasn’t history. It wasn’t iconic. It was a concert attended by regular people enjoying a night out with a little music and some overpriced ice cream. Never forget that history is comprised mostly of where you point the camera, or in this case the microphone, but the truth of any given moment includes myriad undocumented details.

So yeah, listen to the official Concert For Bangladesh for the music, but if you happen across this bootleg pick it up for the ambiance. It shouldn’t cost you more than a couple bucks, and anything more than $10 is too high. Happy hunting.


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