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George Harrison live: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis

The 17th date of George Harrison and Ravi Shankar’s 1974 North American tour took place at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, on 27 November 1974.

The Beatles had performed at the venue on 19 August 1966, the eighth date of their final tour.

Harrison’s 30-date tour was to promote his Dark Horse album and Dark Horse Records label, and took in 45 concerts in 26 cities. It was the first North American tour by a former Beatle, and Harrison’s first live performance since the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971.

Last night’s show before a capacity crowd of 11,600 gave no evidence of any raggedness. From the start it was great, simply great. They throw the word ‘great’ around a lot in the music world, but it was certainly deserved by Harrison and his friends last night. Musically, vocally and as an experience to be shared, the concert was successfully done. There have been few concerts as moving as last night’s.
Walter Dawson
The Commercial Appeal

Harrison’s band included Billy Preston on vocals, keyboards, organ, and clavinet; Robben Ford on guitars and vocals; Tom Scott and Jim Horn on saxophone and flute; Chuck Findley on trumpet and flute; Willie Weeks on bass guitar; Andy Newmark on drums; Emil Richards on marimba and percussion; and Kumar Shankar on percussion and vocals. Jim Keltner joined the tour midway through on 27 November.

Ravi Shankar’s orchestra featured Shankar on sitar; Lakshmi Shankar on vocals and swarmandal; Alla Rakha on tabla; TV Gopalkrishnan on vocals, mridangam, and khanjira; Hariprasad Chaurasia on bansuri; Shivkumar Sharma on santoor and vocals; Kartick Kumar on sitar; Sultan Khan on sarangi; Gopal Krishan on vichitra veena and vocals; L Subramaniam on South Indian violin; Satyadev Pawar on North Indian violin; Rijram Desad on pakavaj, dholki, nagada, huduk, and duff; Kamalesh Maitra on tabla tarang, duggi tarang, and madal tarang; Harihar Rao on kartal, manjira, dholak, gubgubbi, and vocals; and Viji Shankar on tambura and vocals.

David Bowie watched the show, and afterwards went backstage. Willie Weeks and Andy Newmark had performed on Bowie’s then-unreleased Young Americans album. Bowie performed at the Mid-South Coliseum the following night.

Harrison was not impressed by Bowie, whom he discussed in an interview on KHJ (AM) radio in December 1974:

Harrison: I just met David Bowie, who they call ‘boowie’ in America. David Boowie. Who I know Ringo also thinks is great.

John Lennon: So do I.

Harrison: OK, John does too. Now, you know, I don’t have any concepts of whether he’s great or not great, but I met him in Memphis, and he was in the shower (?) room with the band, just before they went on for the second show. I had to pull John’s glasses off and say ‘Let’s have a look, let’s see where you are, David Bowie.’ I said, and these are the very words, and I hope he wasn’t offended by it because all I really meant was what I said, which was: I pulled his hat up from over his eyes and said, “Hi man, how are you? Nice to meet you” – pulled his hat off his eyes and said, you know – “do you mind if I have a look at you, to see what you are because I’ve only ever seen those dopey pictures of you.” And the only picture I’ve ever seen of David Bowie, or Elton John, they just look stupid to me.

Lennon: I thought they look great.

Harrison: Well I think he looks dopey. I want to see, you know, I want to see who the person is.

Concert setlist

Dark Horse Tour dates

Last updated: 4 January 2024
George Harrison live: LSA Assembly Center, Baton Rouge
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