Nov 2, 1974: George Harrison Begins First Solo Tour

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Harrison '74 tourIt was the very first time an ex-Beatle would be touring America since the band last visited eight years earlier, and anticipation was running high. When the dates during the last two months of ’74 were announced, tickets sold rapidly. George Harrison‘s triumphant Concert for Bangladesh benefit three years earlier had proven he could hold a concert stage on his own, albeit with a little help from his friends.

On November 2, 1974, Harrison and his band performed at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver BC.

It was called the “Dark Horse” tour after his current single and album of the same name that came out midway through the trek on December 2. It was billed almost as if it were a co-headlining tour with Ravi Shankar, the Indian sitar player (and father of Norah Jones) who Harrison had signed to his Dark Horse label, which the tour was intended to also promote.

Alas, things did not go as well as planned. Harrison suffered bouts of laryngitis that prompted some wags to refer to the tour as “Dark Hoarse.” It was also a somewhat dark time in his life as his first wife Pattie Boyd, aka “Layla” in rock music iconography, had left George for his best friend Eric Clapton.

Reviewers and fans had issues with the show. Some felt that Shankar’s mid-concert segment of six-seven songs was too long for a rock show. Harrison’s tour band included soft jazz players Tom Scott (saxophone), Robben Ford (guitar) and Emil Richards (percussion), and the sound was inappropriate for Harrison’s music. The spotlights given to keyboard player Billy Preston and Scott during the set irked some listeners.

Listen to Preston perform one of his hits (from a clip said to be from this tour)

No doubt expectations for the first Beatle on tour created disappointment that there weren’t more Harrison songs from his time with the group. The tour’s typical setlist included such Beatles songs as “Something,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “For You Blue.” (See below.)

Harrison didn’t tour again until he visited Japan in 1991 with Clapton.

Related: The Beatles White Album Facts and Trivia

George Harrison, Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, BC, November 2, 1974 Setlist

Hari’s on Tour (Express)
The Lord Loves the One (That Loves the Lord)
Who Can See It
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Will It Go Round in Circles (Billy Preston)
Sue Me, Sue You Blues
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom (Ravi Shankar)
Na Na Dahni (Ravi Shankar)
Cheparte (Ravi Shankar)
For You Blue
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)
Sound Stage of Mind
In My Life
Tom Cat (Tom Scott)
Maya Love
Outa-Space (Billy Preston)
Dark Horse
Nothing From Nothing (Billy Preston)
What is Life
Anurag (Ravi Shankar)
I Am Missing You (Ravi Shankar)
Dispute & Violence (Ravi Shankar)

My Sweet Lord

Best Classic Bands Staff

6 Comments so far

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  1. Ed Sullivan
    #1 Ed Sullivan 4 November, 2016, 12:56

    Not sure what they mean by “the sound was inappropriate for Harrison’s music”. He could do a lot worse than having those guys in his backing band. I’d kill to be surrounded by talent like them!

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    • John
      John 3 November, 2017, 01:32

      I saw his concert at the Long Beach Arena. He seemed a little hoarse at times and the sound seemed muffled on a few numbers but that was an event with a Beatle so nobody seemed to be put off by it. Overall it was a pretty good concert. He did slow the tempo up on My Sweet Lord. I would have preferred it to have sounded more like the record. The other songs sounded more like the originals.

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  2. ray
    #2 ray 6 November, 2018, 17:38

    talk about a fall from grace…hari had serious street cred and puts out a mediocre record and again a year later…The tour was had 12 george tunes sung hoarse and with bad arrangements and dumb lyric changes…my guitar gently smiles…too much ravi…ouch..

    Set list should have went like this…
    Ravi opener 20min
    1. Hari on Tour
    2. Roll Over Beethoven
    3. Youngblood
    4. Absolutely Sweet Marie
    5. What is Life
    6. old brown shoe
    7. lord loves the one
    8. I want to tell you
    9. Maya Love
    10. Awaiting on you all or Art of Dying
    11. something
    12. Simply Shady
    13 Taxman
    . 3 songs by Preston and 1 by Tom Scott
    14. Ding Dong
    15. Dont let me wait too long
    16. I need you
    17. Dark Horse
    18. Give Me Love
    19. If I needed someone
    20. id have you anytime
    21. My Sweet Lord
    22 Behind that locked door
    23. For you blue
    24. Here comes the sun
    2nd encore
    25. Guitar Weeps
    26. All things must pass

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  3. edrebber
    #3 edrebber 27 March, 2019, 16:53

    The clips on youtube sound like drunk/stoned rehearsal/jam sessions. Harrison’s voice is so bad that I can’t stand to listen to a whole song. The Dark Horse album has its moments though and the promotional video of the title track is good.

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  4. Bobby D
    #4 Bobby D 2 November, 2022, 16:27

    I aw all 3 shows at Madison Square garden . I guess if you were expecting a Beatles show , yeah you were disappointed . I wasnt . He was 1,000 % better than John Lennon was a couple years earlier . McCartney came through with the Beatle show a couple years later . He didnt do many Beatles songs but the whole show had that patented McCartney ” your Granny will love it too ” quality . Georges band were anything but ” soft jazz ” . I dont think Beatles fans were really used to trained musicians . Shankar Family And Friends were superb !! I saw the same show 3 times in 24 hours and each show was as good as the one before it . Most people who complain about the show werent even there .

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  5. JeffryD
    #5 JeffryD 3 November, 2022, 09:00

    The weather in the Midwest caused some problems-the concert set for the Richfield Coliseum near Cleveland had to be cancelled due to a major snowstorm just after Thanksgiving that made getting the venue impossible-I should know: I was coming home to NE Ohio from Cincinnati that weekend and we were stuck on the freeway that ran right next to the Coliseum and NOTHING was moving that night.

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