Playing George Harrison’s triple album “All Things Must Pass” live is quite an ordeal.
There’s the issue of multiple instruments — guitars, keys, bass players, strings, horns, auto harp, tambourines — to capture the wall of sound Phil Spector employed on the quiet Beatle’s first solo album.
Then there’s the issue of expectations on hearing the beloved, critically hailed record live.
But out of love for the 40-year-old LP and to mark the ninth anniversary of Harrison’s death from cancer, the Sunset Park-based orchestral pop collective Universal Thump is taking it on in its entirety at the Bell House on Nov. 29.
“The first time I heard the record, I was completely stunned by how incredible it was.” said Greta Gertler, who heads up Universal Thump along with Adam Gold. “I love every minute of it.”
Harrison recorded “All Things Must Pass” right after the Beatles’ breakup (hence the name). The guitarist had amassed material for a triple-album after years of being overshadowed by the likes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It remains the highest selling of any Beatle solo album.
“There’s a lot of pressure to live up to everyone’s expectations of the album and their connection with it, so we’re staying as close to his aesthetic as possible,” said Gertler, who’s invited 16 vocalists to join them in performing the first two albums (there’ll be selections from the third instrumental record interspersed throughout the evening). Gertler got dibs to perform the tile track.
“It’s one of the more gentle ballads,” said the singer, whose tribute concert also raises money for the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF. “There’s a lot of really big belting numbers, but my voice is better suited to a quieter one.”
She’ll leave such numbers to acts like John Wesley Harding, who’ll sing on the amped up “Wah Wah.”
“ ‘All Things Must Pass’ is one of my top 10 albums of all time,” said the Fort Greene-based musician. “I’m looking forward to being in the middle of that maelstrom of noise!”
Among the other featured vocalists, Rick Moody will sing on the mournful, “Isn’t it a Pity”; Lee Feldman will lead on the psychedelic, “I Dig Love”; and Dayna Kurtz will croon on the country-esque “Behind that Locked Door.”
There is also a surprise guest vocalist in store that night (though don’t expect either of the surviving Beatles to show up).
“I tried to get in touch with Paul McCartney, but he didn’t get back to me,” said Gertler with a laugh. “He’s probably busy that night.”
And no one reached out to Ringo Starr.
“All Things Must Pass” 40th anniversary concert at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], Nov. 29 at 8 pm. Tickets $15 (in advance). For info, visit www.thebellhouseny.com.