Venue: Osaka-Jo Hall
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar / vocals
Derek Trucks – guitar
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Eric played a Gibson Les Paul for a portion of the first night of his 2006 Japan Tour.
02. I Shot the Sheriff
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Old Love
05. Tell the Truth
06. Motherless Children
07. Key to The Highway
08. Outside Woman Blues
09. San Francisco Bay Blues
10. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
11. Running On Faith
12. After Midnight
13. Little Queen Of Spades
14. Further On Up The Road
15. Wonderful Tonight
18. Crossroads (encore)
Review by Jii Aoi
When Eric, accompanied by the eight-piece band, walked onto the stage of the Osaka-Jo Hall, the crowd gave an applause of warm welcome to him, as if there wasn’t a three years’ absence of him from Japan, a rather long leave from the country he is often quoted as he loves. The opening night of Eric’s seventeenth Japanese tour started as that.
This is the sixty-fifth EC show I have attended since 1974, including five George Harrison concerts and a couple of Cream Reunion shows at the RAH last year.
I don’t repeat much that has already been said about the UK/Europe/US tours on the review pages of this website and elsewhere. I attended one of the RAH dates myself in May (the 17th, ‘The Day Eric Played The Blackie Clone’) and know what it was like. You can find my review of the show somewhere in the back pages. Suffice it to say that Eric’s current band is a bunch of fine musicians of extraordinary talent and the shows display their collective musicianship in full-blown state. And Osaka first night was no exception.
In Osaka, Eric played a much, much longer solo than at the RAH where most of the solos were only short bursts. The band had evolved into the ‘jam’ phase in the mean time and, while they played nineteen songs in an hour and fifty-five minutes in London, tonight they played eighteen songs but the show went well over two hours.
Derek Trucks certainly impressed the Japanese. His sometimes abstract, almost avant-garde slide guitar playing is second to none — the unpredictable solo on Little Queen Of Spades struck the audience in awe and won one of tonight’s biggest responses from them.
There was no support on the Japanese dates. That means we won’t see Robert Cray joining in Old Love and Crossroads but, fine a musician as he is, who cares his absence when we are treated to such an incredible performance? There were some surprises, something that I hadn’t expected that much to be honest with you.
Tell The Truth, one of his live staples in the seventies, was revived tonight in its all glory. When Eric’s fingers spun out that unmistakable opening phrase, it sent shivers up my spine. Derek did an indispensable job only he is capable of doing — that is, fulfilling Duane’s role on the album version and by providing the licks of the late great slide guitar maestro’s look-alike tone, Tell The Truth sounded closer to the original than any other live versions I had experienced in the seventies.
Tell The Truth was indeed a surprise, but I was even more shocked as Eric strummed the acoustic guitar in the sit-down set, started to sing something familiar to my ears, followed by that riff I had heard on the Disraeli Gears album hundreds of times through the decades. When I recognized it was Outside Woman Blues, a second wave of shivers went down my back…
I knew Eric played an ES-335 on a few dates in Europe and the US. But the sight that Eric holds in his arms a cherry red, sunburst Les Paul is something else. Through his sixteen previous Japanese tour visits over a span of twenty-nine years, he had never picked up that remarkable axe in front of our eyes, even once. We were privileged to be the eyewitnesses of Eric’s first ever airing of the instrument in this country. He played it on After Midnight and about one third of Little Queen Of Spades. And damn fat sound it was!
Eric is now sixty-one but he is definitely not a boring old fart as some cynics might call him. The thrill is not necessarily gone…in fact, it has only just begun. The first of four-day stint of Eric’s Osakan return…