ON THIS DAY: 19 December, 1974: George Harrison played at Madison Square Garden.
It was the penultimate show of the Dark Horse tour. Hours before, George and Paul McCartney signed The Beatles disintegration papers. Sitting in the audience were Paul and Linda.
“[I]n retrospect, the tour was revolutionary in its presentation of Indian music, and for Harrison’s refusal to pander to his own ego as a performer. Inexplicably to many, Harrison did not take himself too seriously – to close the last night at Madison Square Garden he simply said, ‘It’ll all come out in the wash.’” – While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison
Among the audience, in disguise, were Paul and Linda McCartney. Chris O’Dell recalls the following in her book:
“The final show was on December 20, and there was tension in the air as George and his band prepared to ascend the stage at Madison Square Garden. Ravi had just come offstage after performing to a less than enthusiastic crowd, and we were all a little nervous about this final show of shows.
‘Paul’s in the audience,’ Barry Imhoff whispered. ‘Here are his seat numbers. Go out and find him, see if he wants to come backstage.”Paul McCartney?’ I asked in surprise. ‘No, Paul Revere, you schmuck.’ Sometimes Barry could be a real jerk. This was Barry’s half-assed idea, I knew that much. George would have figured that if Paul wanted backstage passes, he would have asked for them. But I had my orders and headed into the audience in search of Paul. I should have trusted my gut feelings.
Standing on the main floor some twenty rows from the stage looking at a sea of unfamiliar faces, with just minutes to go before George walked onto the stage, I searched for the seat numbers that Barry had given me. Two complete strangers were sitting in those seats. I looked back at the numbers and back at the faces, trying to figure out what was going on, and then I recognized Paul and Linda. They were in disguise, wearing wigs and makeup. Paul had a fake beard. I never would have recognized them if I hadn’t known where they were sitting.
I pushed my way past the people in the row behind, stepping on toes, excusing myself over and over again until I was directly behind them. I leaned down and touched Paul on the shoulder.
‘Hi, guys,’ I said.
They jerked around, startled.
‘Do you want to come backstage?’ I said, and I knew from the looks on their faces that I had screwed up.
‘Chris. Shhh,’ Linda whispered.
‘Go away, Chris,’ Paul added, ‘before anyone knows we’re here.’
I backed out of there as fast as I could, trying not to step on feet, humiliated, furious with Barry, and angry at myself for not following my instincts. There I was with a tour pass proudly dangling from my blouse, announcing to the world that someone important might be in that row. I should have known better. I made a mistake and even now the memory makes me want to turn back the clock to the moment when Barry gave me the seat numbers and asked me to find Paul.
‘No, Barry,’ I should have said, ‘I’m not going out there. If they want to come backstage, they know the way.’” – Miss O’Dell
Hari’s on Tour (Express)
In My Life
Will It Go Round in Circles(Billy Preston)
Sue Me, Sue You Blues
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom(Ravi Shankar)
Jai Sri Kalij(Ravi Shankar)
Na Na Dahni(Ravi Shankar)
I Am Missing You(Ravi Shankar)
For You Blue
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)
Sound Stage of Mind
Tom Cat (Tom Scott)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Nothing from Nothing (Billy Preston)
Outa-Space (Billy Preston)
What Is Life
My Sweet Lord