George Harrison

Live Washington '74

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

Many shows from George Harrison's 1974 American tour are in unofficial circulation; this one originates from his performance in Largo, MD (near Washington, D.C.) on December 13, 1974. This tour, Harrison's only high-profile one as a solo artist (and the first American tour by a solo Beatle), was notorious for critically panned performances, due mostly to voice problems that seriously affected George's singing. While you'd think that a document of the tour would at least have historical value, this CD does make tough listening, for a couple reasons. First, the sound quality isn't that great; it sounds something like an above-average audience tape, the vocals suffering the most in clarity. And George's singing really isn't very good; he gets through all the words without complaining, but he does sound noticeably hoarse from the first moment he addresses the audience. It's a shame this had to happen at the only time in his career he was in the media spotlight as a touring act, but that's the reality, made the more galling by his having selected a good assortment of early solo material (including "My Sweet Lord," "Give Me Love," "What Is Life," and "Dark Horse") and a few old Beatles classics ("Something," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "For You Blue," and "In My Life," though George neither wrote nor sang the last tune while he was in the Beatles). The band does, however, play the songs in a rather too slick and brassy fashion, very much in the mid-'70s style. This is also where you get to hear Harrison take some liberties with Beatles lyrics, which ruffled some feathers at the time, though these days it's interesting (and amusing) to hear him refer to his weeping guitar trying to smile, the woman in "Something" as an adulteress who "tries to find herself another lover," and how "In My Life" he loves "god more." One track spotlights Billy Preston, singing his then-recent hit "Will It Go 'Round in Circles."