Los Angeles Express (Misterclaudel mccd-103/104)
Los Angeles Forum, Los Angeles, CA – November 12th, 1974 (matinee)
Disc 1 (69:05): Hari’s On Tour (Express), While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, Going Around In Circles, Sue Me Sue You Blues, Zoon Zoon Zoon, Na Na Dahni, Cheparte, Anurag, I Am Missing You, Dispute And Violence
Disc 2 (65:27): For You Blue, Give Me Love, In My Life, Tom Cat. Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, WA – November 4th, 1974: Maya Love, Nothing For Nothing, Dark Horse, Outa Space, What Is Life, My Sweet Lord. Bonus tracks: Hari’s On Tour (Express), For You Blue
One of the nicest surprises to surface on Wolfgang’s Vault is this incomplete very good quality soundboard recording of George Harrison’s matinee show at the Forum on November 12th, 1974. He played three shows over two days and no tape has surfaced for any of them. Not only is this the first tape to surface from the Los Angeles shows but is also the only professional soundboard recording from Harrison’s only US tour. The sound is a bit inconsistent from sounding muffled at the beginning of “Sue Me Sue You Blues” to clear and nicely balanced. It fades in at the beginning of “Hari’s On Tour (Express),” has a cut after “Cheparte,” and “Dispute And Violence,” and cuts out at 1:10 in “Tom Cat.”
Misterclaudel edit in the excellent sounding November 4th Seattle show for the rest of “Tom Cat,” “Maya Love,” “Nothing For Nothing,” “Dark Horse,” “Outa Space,” “What Is Life,” and “My Sweet Lord.” The edit in “Tom Cat” is very smooth and well done by the label.
During the first song Harrison actually speaks to the audience (something he usually didn’t do) by saying: “good afternoon. Just got out of bed. This is called ‘Hari’s On Tour (Express).’ It’s an instrumental.” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” contains the “happy” smiling lyrics like “while my guitar tries to smile.” The horn section punctuates the beats and Harrison and Robben Ford have a good duel solo on guitar. “Something” is introduced as “one of my comedy numbers” and it’s apparent Harrison is having much difficulty singing in tune. He has Billy Preston helping out with the vocals. “Going Around In Circles” is the first of three Preston solo numbers and the first part of the show ends with “Sue Me Sue You Blues.”
“At this point in the show you’re either going to be confused or joyous” is how Harrison introduces the next part of the show with Ravi Shankar and Family. With so few audience tapes of the Indian music section (most tapers only wanted the rock numbers) having this section of the show in such good quality is quite a find. The music played is a genius melting of classical Indian, rock and jazz which is astonishing to hear. “Zoon Zoon Zoon” was composed specifically for this group of musicians. It is a song with a heavy, repetitive and hypnotic bassline where several musicians, including Harrison himself, solo over. “Na Na Dahni” is a quick four minute song with words sung in Hindi.
“Cheparte” is a medley of folk tunes which, according to Ravi, litterally means “spicy, or hot stuff.” There are many different melodies over its duration with the emphasis changing from drums to vocals to sitar and it fades out after six and a half minutes. The bulk of the set is occupied with the ten minute “Anurag.” “I Am Missing You” with vocals by Lakshmi Shankar is the most western sounding of the numbers, and the first half of the show ends with “Dispute And Violence.” This piece is taken from a ballet composed by Shankar titled Dream, Nightmare & Dawn comprising side two of the album just released on Harrison’s Dark Horse label.
The second set begins with “For You Blue” with various instrumental passages within. “Give Me Love” is the second of two songs from Living In The Material World included in the setlist and is followed by the slow, big-band arrangement of “In My Life.” Rearranging Lennon’s composition was brave enough, but to change the lyrics to “in my life I’ve loved God more” is strange and one can understand the criticism. Afterwards he says that “we all need a bit of love and the less people who go around kicking the legs out from under you the better. But even though they do, it doesn’t matter.”
“Maya Love” and “Dark Horse” follow from the as yet unreleased Dark Horse album alternating with two Preston songs. “What Is Life” from All Things Must Pass closes the show win the sing encore, an eight minute live extravaganza “My Sweet Lord” with Harrison uttering his universalism philosophy. Misterclaudel include two bonus tracks, “Hari’s On Tour (Express)” and “For You Blue.” These are the only other two soundboard fragments to surface from this tour and came from Songs Of George Harrison. The title is housed in a double slimline jewel case with high quality artwork inserts.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)