Venue: Nippon Budokan
Fourth night of five night residency at the Nippon Budokan.
01. Somebody’s Knockin’
02. Key To The Highway
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. Next Time You See Me
05. I Shot The Sheriff
06. Circus Left Town
07. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
08. I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
09. I Will Be There
10. Cypress Grove
11. Sunshine State
12. Gin House
13. Wonderful Tonight
15. Little Queen Of Spades
17. High Time We Went (encore)
Review by Hiroshi M.
As is repeatedly mentioned in 2014’s Trains, Planes and Eric, the opening night of Eric’s previous Japan tour commemorated his 200th show in this country. Although not touted as much, these five shows of his Budokan residency this year kick-started with his 100th Tokyo show. And a number of fans sense that most likely this will be the final round of many a concert visit he has made to this day, the end of what has delivered countless legendary performances and anecdotes over forty-two years.
New York, London and Tokyo — Eric seems to have deliberately narrowed down to this triumvirate of World-class metropolises to put a period on his long career as a touring musician. No regional shows. Not one. This gives me an impression that the end is nigh. An oozing pain somewhere in me.
I decided to attend the last couple of shows. On 18th, Eric and the band took the stage about 7:05pm, the return of his all British band, the first time in Japan since 1981. Actually the almost British Band, as Dirk Powell, the new kid in town, is American. And his contributions made a difference. They were not the same group that produced Just One Night. The numerous instruments he played — i.e., mandolin, accordion, violin e.g. — added a unique “Americana/alt-country” flavor to Eric’s repartrie, although not all of his attempts were rewarded (accordion solo on Little Queen Of Spades anyone?).
The highlights were Sheriff (as usual), the reggae rendition of Wonderful Tonight (a revelation), Cocaine with the newly added wah-wah solo on introduction and all of the sit-down set that started with an achingly beautiful Circus Left Town (am I the only one who feels that Circus in the Pilgrim album is over-produced and lost much of its original charm, a sense of poignancy?). The consecutive performances showcasing the three titles from the new album were all good and quite refreshing after years of predictable set lists (bar 2013).
The show lasted about an hour and forty minutes, tad short for most people’s liking. But the biggest moment of dissatisfaction came at the end. When the house lights were turned on after only one encore, High Times We Went, the audience let out a collective, audible sigh of disappointment, “Ahhhhh…” Understandable enough, as it was a number that features Paul Carrack as the lead singer. The electric version of Layla would have left the audience happy going home.