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George Harrison live: Madison Square Garden, New York City

The 29th and penultimate date of George Harrison and Ravi Shankar’s 1974 North American tour took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, USA, on 19 December 1974.

This was the first of two consecutive nights at the venue.

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.

A few pleasantries and a bit of excitement at the end aside, it can only be called eccentric and boring. The boredom derived from the nature of Mr Harrison’s music, his vocal estate and his onstage manner. His music making is increasingly homogenous and smooth; sometimes it can take on a restful, gentle swayingness, but more often it plods soberly along weighed down by homiletic verse and deliberately simple, sentimental melody. His on-stage manner was curious – petulant as he hectored the crowd to buy albums and programs, cross as he scolded about marijuana…

Mr Shankar’s appearance at pop concerts in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when he played whole ragas with the traditional classical Indian instrumentation were surely a better way to present Indian music to a young Western audience than last night’s lame popularizations…

During Mr Preston’s solo turn Mr Harrison reverted to the role of the vocally silent, different lead guitarist, flashing quick smiles to his fellow players and playing his part in the larger whole. It was a role that suited him. He has had his hits and he has deserved them. But one couldn’t help but think that last night that was suited him best was the role that he longed so fervently to escape – that of the ‘silent Beatle’, humbly taking second billing to those more charismatic than himself.

John Rockwell
New York Times

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 and Jim Keltner 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.

Concert setlist

Dark Horse Tour dates

Last updated: 4 January 2024
George Harrison live: Spectrum, Philadelphia
UK album release: Dark Horse by George Harrison
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