George Harrison with Eric Clapton – Piggies In The Dome (Tricone 047/048)

 Piggies In The Dome (Tricone 047/048)

Tokyo Dome, Tokyo, Japan – December 14th, 1991

Disc 1 (73:12): I Want To Tell You, Old Brown Shoe, Taxman, Give Me Love, If I Needed Someone, Something, What Is Life, Dark Horse, Piggies, Pretending, Old Love, Badge, Wonderful Tonight

Disc 2 (64:21): Got My Mind Set On You, Cloud Nine, Here Comes The Sun, My Sweet Lord, All Those Years Ago, Cheer Down, Devil’s Radio, Isn’t It A Pity, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Roll Over Beethoven

Piggies In The Dome  documents the first of three shows at the Tokyo Dome at the very end of George Harrison’s tour of Japan.  Tricone uses the master cassette of the source that was used on Live @ Big Egg 1st Night (Front Page FP-04006/7).  It is a significant improvement over the older release.  The tape begins very muffled and distant as if the taper were unpacking his equipment. It becomes steady about a minute in “I Want To Tell You” and is a very clear stereo DAT recording.

There is the occasional shuffle of the recorder throughout the show like at the beginning of “Piggies” as Harrison announces the song from “The Beatles’ White Album“. None of that really detracts from the enjoyment of the show. It also presents the complete show with no cuts. I Hear It Again Today (N.N-91121417) is an older release of this concert using the other tape source. The official release Live In Japan use part of “Roll Over Beethoven” (edited with the December 17th show).

The interesting acoustics of the venue produce an echo surrounding the music giving a very heavy timbre, something that is missing from the other tapes and adds an interesting dimension to the music. It has a very good and lively sound. We’re fortunate since this (and the third night) are two of the best shows from this tour and subsequently two of the very best solo concerts Harrison would deliver in his brief live career.

“I Want To Tell You” and “Old Brown Shoe” are played at a quicker pace than earlier shows and fire up the audience. “Taxman” is introduced, rather curiously, as something from “The Beatles’ Rubber Soul.”  Harrison seems to have forgotten which album it appears on. 

The contrast between the gentle “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” and “If I Needed Someone” is phenomenal.  All these songs contains an additional solo by Eric Clapton to include him in the arrangements.  At some points, like during “Something,” Clapton comes close to stealing the number from Harrison.

The second Harrison set, like many of the shows has much more energy and excitement.  But what is particularly illuminating on this release is the beauty of “Here Comes The Sun.”  The acoustics of the Tokyo Dome lend a quality which sounds as if the song is descending from heaven.  

“Cheer Down” has a shorter introduction than usual.  And “Isn’t It A Pity?” is refered to as one from 1970, All Things Must Pass.   The effect in this recording is similar to “Here Comes The Sun.”  The piece contains much sadness and melancholy, but there is a ring of optimism and hope expressed especially with Clapton’s guitar.  It’s a curious effect not heard in other recordings.

In the second encore “Roll Over Beethoven” Chuck Leavell plays a scorching boogie piano after the second verse and before Ray Cooper has his percussion interlude, getting the audience riled up with his “yes” and “no.”  As the song ends the feeling is left that the first Tokyo show is a success.  Piggies In The Dome is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with similar graphic design as the other 1991 Japan tour release on Tricone to come out recently.  This is a significant improvement over the Front Page release and is worth having.

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