In 1991, George Harrison embarked on a 12-show Japanese tour with his long-time friend Eric Clapton. George had some trepidations about touring for the first time since 1974. However, Clapton put his mind at ease.
When George got on the road, he found that touring wasn’t so bad, at least not that type of touring. It got him out of a rut and even allowed him to perform some of his biggest hits for the first time.
How George and Eric Clapton’s 1991 Japanese tour came about
George didn’t like touring because of all the exhausting planning. He didn’t want to waste time getting a band together and rehearsing. However, George still missed playing with other musicians. So, when Clapton said he could have him and his band for a 12-show tour, Geoge couldn’t pass it up.
Plus, George needed to get out of his rut, and Clapton told him that people kept asking what he was up to. George reluctantly accepted his friend’s offer.
George played some of his best Beatles songs and solo hits, most of which he had never performed before.
He told Scott Muni at WNEW-FM (per George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters), “A lot of the songs that I had done, I had wrote them and then I recorded them, I sang it that one time on the record, and never, ever done them since.
“So to me they’re like new songs—like ‘I Want to Tell You’ and ‘Old Brown Shoe,’ even ‘Taxman,’ I’ve only ever sang it the one time.
“‘Piggies,’ you see, I’ve never really done that one before, and all my new songs like ‘Cloud Nine’ and ‘Cheer Down,’ ‘Devil’s Radio,’ even something like ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ has been around since 1970, that song from ‘All Things Must Pass.’
“But the first time I ever performed it. It’s really good for me to … see, it’s like singing new songs.”
George said the live version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ from his Japanese tour is better than the original recording
George and Clapton first worked together on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and they finally got to perform the song together during their Japanese tour. George explained that the song’s live version sounded better than the original recording.
“Well, the obvious one when Eric and I get together, which is the first song that we ever did together, which was ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps,’ and I’m particularly happy about the way it came out on the live version.
“It’s far superior, I think, to the original studio recording, and Eric just plays his butt off. It’s really good.”
The former Beatle liked how the live album turned out
George loved how the live album from his Japanese tour turned out.
“I’m happy about it anyway,” George said. “I thought it turned out good; it’s got a really good sound considering live isn’t the easiest thing to record and mix and hold onto the kind of—you know, because you’ve got so much power on the stage with all the amplification, but to put it back into a CD and try to have it sound as powerful, it’s not that easy. But I think it came out pretty good.
“I’m very happy. You know, all the time I was mixing the record, as I said earlier, it’s not that easy mixing trying to get the feel of the show onto disc, but I’m very happy how it turned out.
“The engineer, John Harris, was excellent, and I thought, because I was being precautious, I think it turned out even better than what I was expecting. And it was a great band to work with, and I just hope I can do it again sometime.”
Unfortunately, George’s Japanese tour was his last. However, it’s fortunate he did one last tour on his own terms and how he wanted.