Venue: Nippon Budokan
Final night of EC’s residency at the Nippon Budokan. It is also the last scheduled EC concert for the year.
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 Hiroyuki Mizukawa
Before my review, I pray for the “2016 Kumamoto earthquake” started from the night of April 14. It is still continuing during Eric’s 5 nights in Tokyo and aftershocks wererecorded already 639 times and it is not quieted down yet. Anyway.
Eric is still doing it!! Welcome back to Tokyo!!
The first time I saw a EC gig was October 31, 1974, which means his first show of the first visit to Japan, and the last time was the February 28, 2014. which means his last show of the latest visit to Japan. I also left my review in the “Where’s Eric!” on the day in 2014 and my voice was recorded in the performance for Layla on the DVD of “Planes, Trains And Eric”. It was really memorable for me.
During the period of these 40 years, I have seen the gigs so many times including the show with Jeff Beck, with Steve Winwood, also Carl Radle, Yvonne Elliman as well as Joe Sample, Nathan East and Steve Gadd etc. All such super players and almost always at the Budokan Hall. I can’t count how many times and now I feel that the Budokan seems to be a sanctuary like the RAH.
As my policy this time, I decided not to do any research beforehand such as members, set-list or even my seat number which I didn’t know until I arrived at the Budokan today, although I always had done it very carefully in the past. I wanted to concentrate my ears on Eric’s performance this time, more than before. Make sense? I however had been known almost until last night by the WE and some other sources 🙂
I finally opened the post mail and saw the seat number on the ticket just 1 hour before the starting time. My seat was in the first row from the front on the first floor. I was very lucky and so happy!
Then, Eric was appeared in front of me again and he is still doing it This time he visited only Tokyo, for 5 nights as part of a retirement trip, not as a part of large world tour. It was really incredible for me and it must be also for all of Japanese fans – we greatly appreciate it.
Anyway, tonight I could enjoy his playing again with really happy feeling. The sound was real “laid-back” but not a little bit “dull” like in early 1970s. The reasons why I felt “laid-back” are as follows:
1. It seems that Eric has had a nice life with the passing of time and he had plenty of breathing room on the stage more and more (and very relaxing adidas pants as well!). Actually I could see and thought that EC became St. Augustine!
2. In the set-list, there were no Layla, no Tell The Truth, no Bell Bottom Blues, no Badge, no Little Wing, no Sunshine of Your Love, no Change The World, no Tears in Heaven. The set list was really interesting for me and rather good.
3. Almost half of the set-list was blues or blues-taste songs which mean the chord progression is very simple and, of course Eric’s forte so he could concentrate his guitar play.
4. Dirk Powell breathed new life into the music with his southern American sounds to the band; especially for Circus Left Town and some of new songs from the coming new album “I Still Do”.
5. All members except Dirk Powell are familiar as the EC band, although for Henry Spinetti, it was his first time to be in Japan plus the Budokan is Eric’s home ground. He played 91 times at the Budokan and this is the number 1 record
of foreign artists and even top 3 including Japanese artists!
The show started with 4 blues songs and the Budokan was soon taken into EC’s world. It seems that EC was in a very fine place because he smiled often during the backing play for Next Time You See Me.
In fact, the sound was very very U.K. and could be felt adult atmosphere. The acoustic set brought also different feelingthan usual as the music selection was different from the last 10 years.
So, highlights of tonight were the last 3 songs from Crossroads to Cocaine, especially Eric’s solo on Little Queen of Spades – it was sparkling as usual. All of the audience in the arena stood up for Cocaine. In the end we enjoyed the encore, High Time We Went. He was absolutely doing it.
I am not sure, but EC used 4 different guitars. A Fender Stratocaster in Mercedes blue, Martin 000-28EC in natural colour, little bit smaller guitar for bottle neck, not Dobro, for Cypress Grove and a Gretsch semi-acoustic in natural colour for Sunshine State. He played about an hour and 45 minutes, little bit shorter than before.
At last after encore he made a bow very politely with Japanese way. It was really, really impressive. Thank you, Eric and like to say, see you again soon!! I would also express my sincere appreciation to the great efforts of Udo Artist Inc, the Japanese promoter.
Review by Hiroshi M.
So the final night arrived — what might well be Eric’s last ever concert in Japan. In short, the show was great but something of a slow burner.
The first electric set was a rather patchy, erratic performance. The solos were not always spot on, and Eric missed a cue more than once. Sheriff, the song that would usually be the first highlight on most of the nights, turned out to be a low point of the evening. The solo was a rather ragged, disjointed effort, and lacked the seamlessness. It ended before reaching the climax to the audience’s disappointment.
The sit-down set regained some of the standard expected for Eric’s show. It was as good as the previous night, if not better. Sunshine State, the featured performance of Dirk Powell who strummed the acoustic guitar, accompanied by Eric’s slide guitar and the band, rocked the house with its driving force a la The Rolling Stones. And then Eric played a blistering solo for Andy Fairweather Low’s Gin House, the evening’s first truly inspired guitar play.
The second electric set was nothing short of great. All of the performances were top-notch, and Eric nailed the first (and last) two-chorus solo of the five nights that concluded LQOS. The only gripe about this final part of the show — apart from the encore — was that he didn’t add a wah-wah solo before singing Cocaine unlike 18th. I now wonder if it was one-off.
High time they went perhaps, but not us audience — again, I heard a big gasp from the whole floor when the lights were on after a brief, sole song performance that was the encore. A sense of anticlimax was had by all, not a graceful way to finish Eric’s potential last Japanese show, not treating his fans right. The cherry blossoms gone, Eric and the band were returning home. The circus left town.
Review by Tsuzuki Hiroyuki
The 5 days special gigs were finished. They were actually “Eric and his friends in concert” and not “Eric and his band“. A Clapton fan wanted to see much more Eric play the guitar. The solo parts of the other players were not magnificent enough to make the concert extraordinary. The upcoming new songs were fairly selected. Nevertheless the show was a flat tone of performance. The reason: the gig could not reach the limit of Eric’s abilities. His guitar solo was too short to make a large audience excited. Was it the really end of the gig in Japan?
I don’t want it would be.