It’s been 20 years since George Harrison sadly died in Los Angeles due to complications from cancer. He was just 58 years old. Harrison was born on February 25, 1943 in Liverpool, England where he helped form The Beatles in 1960 with John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Ringo Starr joined the band in 1962. Just one year later, George and The Beatles made their first appearance at London’s famed Royal Albert Hall.
Almost 30 years after that first RAH performance, Harrison’s final full-length concert took place at Royal Albert Hall on April 6, 1992. The show also marked George’s first performance in London since 1969. While his absence from performing in London for over 30 years may make it seem that Harrison did not like appearing live, it was perhaps more the rigamarole that went with the performing for a person of Geroge’s stature that he had an aversion to.
The Beatles famously stopped touring in 1966. The crush of Beatlemania meant that they couldn’t even hear themselves play, especially with the sound technology of the time. They were becoming more an act than artists and they weren’t going to let that happen. The Beatles would go on to record some of the greatest albums of all-time after the decision to cease touring.
While Harrison enjoyed a successful solo career, touring still remained something of a chore and besides an excursion in 1974, George didn’t embark on another jaunt until 1991 when his friend Eric Clapton convinced him to return to the road in Japan. The difficulty around performing for Harrison made his appearance at the RAH in ‘92 his first performance in London since The Beatles’ legendary rooftop concert in 1969. It would also sadly be his final full-length concert.
Much like his landmark Concert For Bangladesh at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1971, George’s appearance at the storied London venue was for a cause near to his heart. The show supported the Natural Law Party, a political group founded on the principles of George’s beloved Transcendental Meditation. With a British general election on the horizon, Harrison saw the concert as a great way to spread the word about the Natural Law Party.
“I want a total change and not just a choice between left and right,” Harrison said in the press release announcing the show posted by Ultimate Classic Rock. “The system we have now is obsolete and not fulfilling the needs of the people. Times have changed and we need a new approach. … The Natural Law Party is turning this election into a wonderful, national celebration and I am with them all the way.”
Harrison was also pleasantly surprised by his reception at RAH, which reaffirmed why he played music for people in the first place.
“For years, I always had the press always being bitchy and nasty, and I’d built up this impression that the British don’t like me and my music,” Harrison had said. “When I stepped on the Royal Albert Hall, it was unbelievable. I couldn’t control — the audience were just so happy. It was the most incredible buzz.”
George would deliver a career-spanning set beginning with a trio of Beatles’ songs, including two of his three contributions, “I Want To Tell You” and “Taxman” to the band’s groundbreaking 1966 LP, Revolver, as well as the non-album single “Old Brown Shoe.” After “Taxman,” George introduced the band which included Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell along with guitarist Andy Fairweather Low, bassist Will Lee, drummer Steve Ferrone, percussionist Ray Cooper, keyboardists Chuck Leavell and Greg Phillinganes as well as backing vocalists Katie Kissoon and Tessa Niles.
Along with additional Harrison-penned Beatles classics like “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun,” George delivered solo gems including “My Sweet Lord,” “What Is Love” and “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth.” Harrison’s final full-length performance came to an end with a star-studded affair as drummer Ringo Starr and guitarist Gary Moore joined in for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Ringo would stay behind the kit as Geroge’s son Dhani Harrison (guitar) and guitarist Joe Walsh helped close out the concert with Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven,” a song Harrison sang lead on with The Beatles. George appeared to be having a blast.
To remember Geroge Harrison, watch the beloved musician perform his final full-length concert at Royal Albert Hall in 1992 below:
George Harrison at Royal Albert Hall
- I Want to Tell You
- Old Brown Shoe
- Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)
- What Is Life
- Got My Mind Set on You
- Cloud 9
- Here Comes the Sun
- My Sweet Lord
- All Those Years Ago
- Cheer Down
- Isn’t It a Pity
- Devil’s Radio
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps
- Roll Over Beethoven
- Drum Jam
- Roll Over Beethoven