Venue: Olympic Gymnasium No. 1
Country: South Korea
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
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Little Wing
05. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad??
07. Outside Woman Blues
08. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
09. Running On Faith
10. Motherless Children
11. Little Queen Of Spades
13. Wonderful Tonight
15. Cocaine (encore)
16. Crossroads (encore)
Review by Jii Aoi
I used Seoul Gimpo and Incheon airports for transit numerous times when I flew over to Europe by Korean Air. But I have never set foot on the streets of Seoul — or Korea for that matter. And Eric & Co. finally took me there, the closest foreign country to Japan. It took less than two hours by air to get there — mind you, from Osaka where I live, Seoul is closer than Sapporo in the matter of distance!
This was the second time EC visited to play the Korean capital, the first time being October 1997. Back then he played two nights at the Olympic Gymnasium No. 1, the same venue as this time, before moving on to Japan for a string of another thirteen concerts.
The Gym was built for the 1988 Olympic game, a circular arena that houses an audience of about 15000 at maximum. It was ninety-percent packed with some seats empty on the left and right wings when Eric and the band walked on to the stage in front of the almost capacity crowd.
And what a crowd they were! The moment the lights were turned off, there were roars of delight, excitement, whatever positive emotions you can come up with, breaking out from all over the place. And it stayed that way through the entire show, basically. A mixture of loud applause and shouts arose almost every time Eric played the introduction, started to sing, launched into a solo and finished the song. They watched virtually every move Eric made! I had never experienced this at an EC concert in the past and it was a good antidote to the well-behaved but sometimes over-sedate Japanese audience, especially the Tokyo Budokan crowd (and their London cousins at the RAH).
Eric fed off the energy and in return, gave them a more gutsy, aggressive guitar work than I witnessed in Japan last year. The overall impression of the performance in Seoul matches any of the Japanese shows I attended. And there were some moments I felt even better.
There was one particularly unforgettable moment. Towards the end of Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Steve paced down the tempo at one crucial point, keeping time in a very subtle, delicate way, something which he didn’t do in Japan. Eric and Derek wove gentle phrases as if they talked to each other in whispers, a beautiful sonic tapestry. Meanwhile, the crowd held their breath, keeping silent. Then someone gave out a voice of admiration, a sign of releasing them from tension. An applause started from somewhere on the floor, spreading out like ripples, soon reaching every corner of the venue, and ended in a tremendous roar that echoed inside the arena as the band finished the song. A beautiful, beautiful moment and for me, the definitive highlight of the Seoul night, an unforgettable memory which I took back and will cherish for life. It alone was worth the price I payed for the trip.
With Layla, the entire audience stood up, from floor to tier. In 1997, it was the unplugged version the Koreans were treated to. You know something, this was the FIRST ever electric Layla they were experiencing live! Literally every one of them went ecstatic and expressed the delight from head to toe, like I did in 1974. Carried away in time and space by their overwhelming responses, I shared with them the excitement when I heard the song live for the first time on Eric’s first Japanese visit thirty-three years ago. Unlike the previous tours, Layla finished as it was, without segueing into Cocaine, and as many people suggested, I felt this was a better way to close the main part of the show before encore. Fortunately we were treated to the double-encore of Cocaine and Crossroads, a more delicious dessert than in Singapore and Shanghai, both of where, according to DJ Hiroshi Fujiwara’s blog in Japanese, Eric was in fact banned to play Cocaine by the local authorities (Fujiwara has been to Shanghai and Eric told him so).
Eric and the band stood in line and bowed to the Korean audience three times in appreciation, big smiles all over their faces, especially Eric’s, as seen on the photos published here. Note Eric is even making two thumbs up to those at the front, a rare sight really! I haven’t felt so refreshing as this time at an EC concert for so long. The show in Korea turned out to be a surprisingly enjoyable encore to the 2006 Japanese tour which was fantastic. Next time Eric visits to play Seoul, I hope to go there again. I’d like to say a word of thanks to all the Korean fans of Eric who have made me feel so. Kamsahamnida!
Review by Totuta
Looks like he’s always on his peak. Rather, he’s always getting better. I couldn’t believe his playing had got even better than that of 1997 show in which I’ve last seen him in Seoul. His signature laser-beam tone got even sharper, his improvising got even stronger, and he became a better singer! The show started off with 5-songs dominos set. Though majority of Korean audience was not very familiar with dominos numbers(many of them got to know Eric after the Unplugged buzz), Eric and his band’s playing was nothing short of driving the sold-out crowd crazy. The up-beat versions of dominos songs became a perfect opening for Eric’s jam-oriented 2 hour show, and the Korean fans – known to be very responsive – loudly cheered the band on virtually every songs.
After the dominos set came the ‘Eric & Guitar’ Driftin’ Blues. Personally the show took off right there. On the stage was nothing other than the guitar god and his instrument. He concentrated solely on harmonizing himself with his beloved guitar. No supports from his band, neither from any stage effects. That was the moment when I(and perhaps many other audience too) felt ‘ E.C. is here’ with us. It was almost breathtaking. When a show took off, what remains is cruising flawlessly.
Highlights of the remaining part were Outside Woman Blues and Cocaine. On Outside Woman, Derek Trucks boasted his spectacular sliding technique – Who is this guy? He can probably beat Eric on sliding – by making beautifully harmonized acoustic sound with Eric’s clean picking. And Cocaine this time was the funkiest Cocaine I’ve ever tasted. Crunchy rhythm, great long improvisation by each members of the band. What can I expect more? The show ended with Crossroads with lengthened soloing and it was an unforgettable night for me and many Clapton fans here in Seoul. Hey Eric, we’ve waited 10 years for you to come back. After the 2-songs encore, the 12,000 crowd stayed on their seats and were stomping the floor for more. But as always, there was no second curtain call in Eric’s show.
The biggest issue after the Seoul show was, surprisingly, ‘Eric didn’t talk to us a lot.’ Many newspaper reviews pointed it out. All he said was several ‘thank you’s and one ‘good evening’. That was quite a shock to the Korean audience, whose native singers usually talk a lot on stage. Some people interpreted it as Eric didn’t pay much attention to the Korean audience, which is apparently not. Well, probably just one ‘Kamsahamnida’ from Eric would’ve been enough. But people soon understood that Eric let the music talk to us, and nothing more was needed. Please Eric, let your music talk to us again in the next tour!