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They Love Him (Yeah, Yeah, Yeah) : Pop music: George Harrison uses his first London show since 1969 to promote the Natural Law Party in Britain’s national elections on Thursday.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Still adhering to his 1960s beliefs, George Harrison gave his first British concert in 23 years, using it to support a political party whose platform includes herbal gardens, Yogic flying and government administration in harmony with the natural laws of the universe.

But he also remained true to his reputation as The Quiet One and barely said a word about any of it.

Instead, he kept the sell-out crowd on its feet with classics such as “Something,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Taxman,” “Piggies” and “Old Brown Shoe.”

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The high level of audience bliss was ratcheted up a couple more notches when his fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr showed up for some slap-happy drumming on encore renditions of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

Harrison’s appearance Monday night at the 5,500-seat Royal Albert Hall was to promote the Natural Law Party, which is fielding 310 regional candidates in Britain’s national elections on Thursday. Transcendental meditation is a core feature of the Maharishi-supported party’s platform.

But despite giving the party massive exposure with his first London show since he played with the Beatles atop the Apple Records headquarters in 1969, Harrison said he was not interested in joining the world of politics.

Speaking to reporters during a rehearsal on Sunday, he said he turned down a request from the head of the Natural Law Party to run for a Parliament seat from Liverpool.

“That was bit over the top,” he said. “I wouldn’t really want the karma of being in Parliament for four years. It would be fun if the lot of them made a government--then we could actually do something. But to be one of just a few seats and to have to go and hang out with all that crowd down there. . . . I’ve got better things to do with my life, I think.”

There’s little in common between Harrison and Prime Minister John Major aside from the fact that both are 49.

Joe Walsh opened the Monday concert, playing a string of his best-known songs to a respectful, but static audience composed largely of aging Beatle fans. But barely perceptible head-nodding turned to pandemonium when Harrison took to the stage in a dark suit and white shirt and launched into “I Want to Tell You.”

His backup band included Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and the all-star lineup of session musicians who have been playing with Eric Clapton on his world tour.

When he got to the politically oriented “Taxman,” Harrison gave the song a slight updating, dropping the snide references to two former British political leaders in exchange for “Ah ah Mr. Major, Ah ah Mr. Bush.” The crowd sang along knowingly, as if those had been the original lyrics on the “Revolver” album.

While a rendition of his 1974 single “Dark Horse” might have provided an apt comment on the status of the extremely fringe Natural Law Party, Harrison left it off the playlist.

Beyond repeatedly thanking the audience for showing up, Harrison kept his stage patter to a minimum. But after an enthusiastic response to “Isn’t It a Pity,” he told the crowd, “It’s really overwhelmed me. I’m always paranoid about whether people like me . . . you never know.”

It sounded as if he were still smarting from the critical savaging and poor record sales that crippled his musical career in the mid-1970s.

Toward the end of the show, Harrison finally offered a bit of political commentary.

“All we need now is get rid of those stiffs in Parliament,” he told the crowd, “and then we’ll all be happy.”


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