George Harrison – Natural Law Party (SilverApple 007/8)

Natural Law Party (SilverApple 007/8)

Royal Albert Hall, London, England – April 6th, 1992

Disc 1 (79:57) Joe Walsh :  Pretty Maids All In A Row, In The City, Life In The Fast Lane, Funk 49, Rocky Mountain Way.  Gary Moore:  Walking By Myself, The Sky Is Crying, The Blues Is Alright, Still Got The Blues.  George Harrison:  I Want To Tell You, Old Brown Shoe, Taxman, Introduction Of The Band, Give Me Love, Something

Disc 2 (73:45):  What Is Life, Piggies, Got My Mind Set On You, Cloud Nine, Here Comes The Sun, My Sweet Lord, All Those Years Ago, Cheer Down, Isn’t It Pity, Devil’s Radio, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Roll Over Beethoven, Drums & Percussion Solo, Roll Over Beethoven(Reprise)

The Natural Law Party began in March 1992.  An attempt to base politics upon transcendental meditation, it was a global movement meant to offer an alternative to politics as usual.  It didn’t help that the planks of the party’s platform were untenable and that, in the US at least, the party did much to obscure its true intention.  (The Natural Law Party presidential candidate John Hagelin’s campaign promises focused upon running government upon scientific principles, not some stupid far eastern philosophical movement).

Thankfully the Natural Law Party pretty much disbanded (the UK is the only nation where it’s still somewhat active).  The only positive and productive thing it ever did was to coax George Harrison to play his only UK solo show before his death in 2001.

The April 6th show at the Royal Albert Hall was Harrison’s first (and last) show since his tour of Japan with Eric Clapton the previous year and his first apperance on a British stage since backing Delaney And Bonnie & Friends in December 1969.  And after this show, despite vague talks about further shows in the UK and US, he never played a show before a paying audience again.  

Silver Apple utlize an excellent stereo audience DAT recording.  Other releases of this show include Overexposed And Hypnotized (OHM Digital Recordings OHM 3 A/B) which has Harrison’s set only, Hari & The Hijack Band (641992/93) which also has the Walsh and Moore sets, and Have My Love (Peace Frog PF-110D) which also has Joe Walsh’s set. 

The tape opens with George Harrison welcoming everyone to the Royal Albert Hall.  “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be” he jokes before introducing Joe Walsh who came “all the way from America.”  Walsh starts with the slow ballad “Pretty Maids All In A Row” from Hotel California.  He accompanies himself on piano only without the synthesizers or other embellishments.  

“Life In The Fast Lane” is quite percussive heavy with very loud bongos carrying the melody.  The famous guitar riff is buried deep in the mix.  They follow with the old James Gang song “Funk 49” (listed on all releases as “Going On Down” for some reason).  Walsh has some fun in the middle by playing some riffs from Kenny Loggins’ “Footloose,” a song obviously inspired by “Funk 49.”  His short set ends with “Rocky Mountain Way.”  The talk box interlude seems to rattle the walls.  It’s a nice and safe set resting solely upon the oldies.  Nothing from his latest album Average Ordinary Guys made the set list.    

Gary Moore follows Walsh with a four song twenty-five minute set.  The first two tracks, the Jimmy Rodgers cover “Walking By Myself” and the Elmore James cover “The Sky Is Crying” (not “This Guy Is Crying” as listed on the artwork), are taken from his latest CD Still Got The Blues.  “Blues Is Alright” is perhaps the most energetic workout in the entire evening.  

Moore’s short set ends with an eight minute blues dirge “Still Got The Blues,” one of his original compositions from the latest CD.  Moore plays an emotional guitar solo accompanied by melancholy synthesizers.  

Harrison’s set is quite similar to the Japan tour in 1991.  He dropped two songs, “If I Needed Someone” and “Dark Horse” from the set and moved “Isn’t It A Pity” to an earlier spot.

The backing musicians, dubbed the “Hijack Band” are very tight.  Much tighter than Harrison himself who makes a few obvious mistakes like at the beginning of “Here Comes The Sun.”  Before the final song of the set “Devil’s Radio” Harrison confesses that he’s paranoid about people liking him and is nervous playing.  He thanks the promoters and urges people to get rid of “those stiffs in Parliament.”  

The first encore is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that features Ringo Starr on drums.  Moore plays the ripping guitar solo in the middle.  “Roll Over Beethoven” features Walsh on guitar, the Ray Cooper percussion interlude, and Harrison’s son Dhani on guitar during the song’s reprise.  It’s really nice to hear him onstage for his father’s final moments onstage.  

Silver Apple is known for their basic packaging presentation no frills presentation.  The artwork is stark white with several photos from the gig and the set list printed on the back and in the middle of the top insert.  It’s not pretty, but Natural Law Party is an affordable way to obtain a very good recording of an historic concert on silver disc.   

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