Clapton Concert Details: Budokan Hall 10 December 2003

On 10 December 2003, Eric Clapton again performed at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall – it was night 6 of 8 shows.

The complete set list was:

01. When You Got A Good Friend
02. Crossroads
03. I Shot The Sheriff
04. Bell Bottom Blues
05. Reconsider Baby
06. Can’t Find My Way Home
07. White Room
08. I Want A Little Girl
09. Got My Mojo Working
10. Hoochie Coochie Man
11. Change The World
12. Bright Lights, Big City
13. Kind Hearted Woman
14. Badge
15. Holy Mother
16. Lay Down Sally
17. Wonderful Tonight
18. Cocaine
19. Layla
20. Sunshine Of Your Love (encore)
21. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (encore)

Band Line Up:
Eric Clapton – Vocals, Guitar
Nathan East – Bass
Steve Gadd – Drums
Andy Fairweather Low – Guitar
Chris Stainton – Keyboards

Concert Review by Jii Aoi

The final night for me this time. Also my sixtieth EC show since the 6th of November, 1974. From start to finish, the audience was atypically Tokyoite, for they were as cheerful and noisy as they could be, presumably because this was originally to be the last show of the tour before two more shows were added later.

Although Eric still had a cold, he looked fine, his voice sweet as ever.

Once no more than a crowd-pleaser, "Sheriff" was a show-stopper on every occassion it was played this time. Tonight Eric was indulged in repeating the same one phrase again and again, eyes closed, like he had found an ultimate "groove".

Techniquewise, he used finger-picking more often than any of the past tours. And also never had the natural, undistorted tone been heard from the Strat in his entire carrier as much as this with the only conceivable exception of the All British Band days.

As if he took his revenge on Chris for the previous night’s insult, Eric kept on playing the solo on "Kindhearted Woman Blues" like there was no end. Deep and profound, it will cirtainly be his new piece de resistance on his future live set. This, coupled with "When You Got A Good Friend", served as a showcase from the work in progress, after all, now that the forthcoming album, due out in March, was announced to be a Robert Johnson tribute, not of his original material.

He turned his back to the audience and finished two thirds of the rampaging solo on "Cocaine" in that posture, gutsy and forceful. He beamed as killing a vibe as a samurai standing still only a second before shifting into fighting motion. We were in absolute awe. An unforgettable moment.

A more power-driven show than the other nights of the tour, probably Eric was more on his autopiloted mode, but even this normally negative factor added to the thrill-there were bursts of a running flow of fast, repeated licks a la God or Derek which was so characteristic in his ace guitarist era, on tonight’s performances of "White Room" and "Badge".

Opinions vary as to which is the better of the two nights I saw in Tokyo. I saw on the net several opinions that one or the other was in fact the best night of the eleven Kanto area shows (i.e., eight in Tokyo, two Yokohama and one Saitama) among others, noticeably the 2nd, the 3rd and the 13th of December. These, along with Osaka the 19th and the 20th of November, seem to comprise the best nights of the Japanese tour. Quite a few to choose from isn’t it?

No one in Japan now believes that this is Eric’s final appearance over here-how can we, being treated to his biggest ever tour after all the fuss surrounding his "retirement" two years ago? His twenty-fifth anniversary year tour in ’88 was noised abroad-it happened in America and Japan, apart from the RAH stay that was an annual event then. Looking back, though, it is fair to say that his thirtieth in ’93 and fortieth in ’03 happened in Japan without being touted so, the only tour that materialized on both occassions. We feel real privileged, and are well ready for another round of his Japanese visit to come.

In the mean time, next is your turn, European and British friends. See Eric alive and well soon.

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