It was 47 years ago today night (November 2nd, 1974) that George Harrison launched his “George Harrison & Friends North American Tour” becoming the first solo Beatle to tour North America. Harrison opened the tour on November 2nd, 1974 at Vancouver's Pacific Coliseum. The 30-date tour was particularly grueling for Harrison, who had blown out his voice in the rush to complete his Dark Horse album, resulting in some reporters mockingly referring to the dates as the “Dark Hoarse” tour. To make matters worse, Harrison and his band were often playing two shows a day, with some dates not selling out. The show, which already had pacing problems due to Harrison's choice of material, featured guest spots by saxophonist Tom Scott and Billy Preston, as well as two long Indian music sets by sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar interspersed within the concerts, which all but wrecked any momentum the “rock” aspects of the show had gained.
Although Harrison and the press liked to portray the concert audiences as hostile toward his performances, underground recordings of concerts — taped in such cities as Fort Worth, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Baton Rouge — show boisterous fans cheering the show, including the songs from Harrison's soon-to-be critically bashed Dark Horse album — which didn't hit the stores until the tour was halfway over.
For many, the main problem with the tour was Harrison tampering with the lyrics and arrangement of Beatles classics. “Something,” which surprised many as the second song of the night, had its lyrics changed to “When something's in the way we move it“; “For You Blue” was changed from an acoustic-based 12-bar romp into an extended up-tempo jazz number; “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” became “While My Guitar Tries To Smile“; and Harrison's update on John Lennon and Paul McCartney's “In My Life” had Harrison declaring during the song's chorus, “In my life, I love God more.”