Waiting For A Hot Ticket (Tarantura TCDGH-1 – 1, 2)
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, IL – November 30th, 1974 (evening show)
Disc 1: Hari’s On Tour (Express), While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Smile), Something (I Hope So), Going Around In Circles, Sue Me Sue You Blues, For You Blue, member introduction, Give Me Love, Soundstage Of My Mind, In My Life
Disc 2: Tom Cat, Maya Love, Dark Horse, Nothing From Nothing, Outa-Space, What Is Life, My Sweet Lord
Waiting For A Hot Ticket is a new release documenting a newly surfaced audience recording for George Harrison’s evening show at the Chicago Stadium on November 30th, 1974. This tape contains the complete rock portions of the show with the Ravi Shankar set, which followed “Sue Me, Sue You Blues,” omitted since only a ninety-minute cassette was used. This is another situation where the person responsible for the tape filed this cassette away for thirty years only for it to be liberated by the Tarantura label, who use the master recording for this title. It is a good mono recording that improves considerably as the show goes on and by disc two is almost very good. The first couple of numbers, while the audience is reacting loudly to the presence of the Beatle legend, is marked by distortion, but by “Something” they settle down and the clarity of the music improves.
There is a cut in the tape after “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” (where Shankar’s set was), and a tape flip after “In My Life,” but no music is lost. Among the tapes from Harrison’s only tour there are simply horrid sounding tapes and others that are very good. This one lies towards those that are very good. It is especially so considering this was taped from the balcony (according to the ticket on the artwork) in the acoustic nightmare of the Stadium. The music is clear, the audience doesn’t drown out the music, and the taper and his friends hold some short conversations throughout the show. Harrison’s song introductions are lower in the mix than the music. Tarantura didn’t apply much mastering on this tape and instead let it shine on its own merits.
Any new tape of live Harrison is special because his live appearances are so few. The only solo tours he scheduled were this and the short tour of Japan with Eric Clapton in 1991. He augmented his stage show by giving Ravi Shankar an extended twenty-minute set, Billy Preston three numbers, and Tom Scott his solo showcase with “Tom Cat.” This tour is infamous for Harrison’s hoarse voice and it would have been better if it were postponed. Since this is the second concert of the day his voice is quite raspy, but he sings good on the quieter numbers. The tape picks up at the beginning of “Hari’s On Tour” and the audience is loud during this catchy instrumental. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is the second number and as in the Fort Worth and Atlanta shows, he changes the words slightly in the middle from “while my guitar gently weeps” to “while my guitar gently smiles.”
“Something” is the second Beatles song of the set and is nicely augmented by the horn section, and the first Billy Preston number of the set “Going Around In Circles” follows this. “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” is the first song from Living In The Material World and features excellent slide guitar. After an almost imperceptible cut in the tape “For You Blue” from Let It Be is played. The song is extended past five and a half minutes with Emil Richards taking a xylophone solo, Robben Ford playing a guitar solo, and Willie Weeks playing a solo on bass. It’s a fantastic group jam with jazz-like sensibilities. “Chicago has always been…Chicago’s always had the music that I like” before introducing the band. After a beautiful version of “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” Harrison introduces “Soundstage Of My Mind.” This unreleased instrumental made appearances in some of the shows, mostly evening shows when there weren’t any time restraints.
“In My Life” is played in the softer arrangement preferred for this tour. The taper doesn’t recognize it until close to the end of the song (“In My Life’ by John Lennon” he perceptively says). At the very end George sings “in my life…I’ve loved God more.” Tom Scott is given a solo number with the melodic instrumental “Tom Cat” before Harrison plays two songs from the latest album, the excellent and underrated “Maya Love” and the title track “Dark Horse.” Preston’s two numbers follow, “Nothing From Nothing” and “Outta Space.” The former he would play the following year when he toured with The Rolling Stones and was again given a two song set in the middle of the show. Preston is able to raise the roof off the building and comes very close to stealing the show, but the audience goes nuts at the opening notes of closing number “What Is Life?” The only encore performed is the hit “My Sweet Lord.” This version is extended to just over seven minutes and includes two long “Krishna. Allah…Christ” chants which don’t sit too well with the audience.
The tape continues running for three minutes after the encore and the taper and his friends can be heard discussing the show (“pretty good concert, huh?” “It was alright” (tough crowd)). Waiting For A Hot Ticket is limited to one hundred copies and is packaged in a glossy cardboard gatefold sleeve. The gorgeous artwork contains a picture of the tape, the poster of the event from the Chicago Tribune and a picture of a long line outside the Stadium waiting for the hot ticket. The poster contains the same materials and some rare live shots from Harrison’s 1974 tour and a photo of George taken in the Oval Office that year. For Harrison fans this is a new tape source of a show that has never appeared on silver before and is worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)