15 Oct 02
Release Date: 4 November 2002
At a time when dozens of copies of Eric’s last album “Reptile” are already residing forlornly in the “5 for £30” racks at London’s Virgin Megastore, one wonders just how well received will be this new Reptile Tour live album?
As it had been billed as Eric’s last big world tour, it was kind of inevitable that a live album would follow and here we have the two CD set, “One More Car One More Rider” (older fans may recall that this had also been the working title for Eric’s 1986 album, “August”).
Having been fortunate to follow the development of the Reptile tour from the first Albert Hall show with The Impressions, through Europe and various personnel changes onto the last leg in Japan, I can report that the album stands up as a fairly representative offering, with a (near) complete set-list taken from 2 shows, one in LA and one in Tokyo.
So on disc 1 there’s the brace of acoustic opening numbers sandwiching the sambaesque “Reptile” and the clutch of “Pilgrim” numbers. Disc 2 opens with “I want a little girl” followed by blues and hits, including the electric “Layla”, rounding off with the sublime “Over the Rainbow” composed by Harold Arlen.
What might have been good to hear on this retrospective are some of the “one-off” situations that occurred throughout the year-long tour. Things like The Impressions from the dozen or so UK and US dates, Billy Preston performing his “Will it go round in Circles” or the occasional rendition of Nat King Cole’s “For all We Know”, both of which surfaced on the US legs. There are also none of the star guest appearances (Doyle Bramhall II in Scandinavia, Buddy Guy in Chicago or Jimmie Vaughan in Houston) but then I guess contractual or licensing difficulties may have had a hand in that.
That being said, there is some great playing from Eric and his stellar band which the superb sound quality and in-your-face production only serves to enhance. This is particularly apparent on “Have you ever loved a Woman”, the standout track for me, where every note, even in those fluid fretboard runs, on the dampened vibrato passages and memorable piano and organ solos rings clear.
Eric’s recent albums seem to have sold in reasonable quantities upon release, prompting impressive early chart positions but then seem to disappear just as quickly. This impressive album will appeal outside of Eric’s hard-core fan base and its Christmas shopping release date should ensure more longevity than its predecessor.
Tony Edser – Where’s ERIC!
One More Car One More Rider is released in a 2 CD format, single VHS and DVD formats plus a combined DVD and 2 CD set.