DVD review: Changes Begin Within (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr)

Changes Begin Within (Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr)

Eagle Rock [Release date 01.09.17]

It seems almost unthinkable in this day and age that a benefit concert would be held for a charitable foundation aimed at teaching at-risk children to meditate, and to begin to change their lives from within.  Or, as Ringo puts it ‘give them a break from the madness’.

But, perhaps predictably, it was those who lived through the ‘peace and love generation’ and who sat at the feet of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the 1960s who were happy to get on board.  Yes, step forward remaining Beatles Sir Paul and Ringo.

American director, screenwriter, producer, painter, musician, actor, and photographer Lynch, yes he of Eraserhead (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), Blue Velvet (1986), and Twin Peaks fame, was himself converted to the benefits of transcendental meditation by the Maharishi during a month-long ‘Millionaire’s Enlightenment Course’ in 2003.

Two years later he launched his Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and Peace, and with the ex-Beatles recruited for the 2009 Change Begins Within concert, it probably wasn’t that hard to convince the likes of Donovan, Sheryl Crow, Eddie Vedder, Moby, Bettye LaVette, Ben Harper, and others to share the stage.

The bulk of the set majors on Beatles/McCartney material – Yellow Submarine, Drive My Car, Jet, Can’t Get You Into My Life, Let It Be, Here Today, Band On The Run, With A Little Help From My Friends, Cosmically Conscious, and I Saw Her Standing There, although Ringo does get two of his solo songs – It Don’t Come Easy and Boys, as does Donovan with Hurdy Gurdy Man and Isle Of Islay.

Eddie Vedder gets to sing ‘Rise’ from his then current album, and Sheryl Crow gets a spot centre stage covering ‘My Sweet Lord’.

But, like most benefit gigs, it marks no musical milestones, other than being about as close to a Beatles reunion is we’re now ever going to get, with everyone on their best behaviour and no over inflated egos on display.  That is, if you ignore McCartney’s inability not to bask in any convenient spotlight.

The performances are all decent enough, with a great vibe for such a well-heeled bash, and plenty of self-congratulatory back slapping.  It would be nice to think transcendental meditation could change the world for the better.  I guess anything’s worth a try, but other than as a funds raiser, this event only serves to demonstrate the chasm between the have and have nots.

I’m not sure who’s going to buy this, other than perhaps those who want to see Paul and Ringo’s final (?) curtain call together.   Of interest, but not what I would regard, by any means, as essential viewing.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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