After Hours (Mid Valley MVR-301/302)
Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia – April 22nd, 1985
Disc 1: Tulsa Time, Motherless Children, I Shot The Sheriff, Same Old Blues, Blues Power, Tangled In Love, Behind The Sun, Wonderful Tonight, Steppin’ Out, Never Make You Cry, She’s Waiting
Disc 2: Something Is Wrong, Lay Down Sally, Badge, Let It Rain, Double Trouble, Cocaine, Layla, Forever Man, Further On Up The Road
Eric Clapton’s April 22nd, 1985 show in Richmond originated from the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The show was broadcast the following month and was edited down to thirteen songs: “Tulsa Time,” “Tangled in Love,” “Behind The Sun,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “She’s Waiting,” “Badge,” “Let It Rain,” “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Same Old Blues,” “Blues Power,” “Layla,” “Forever Man,” “Further On Up The Road.” Titles with the abbreviated show include Forever Man (Three Cool Cats – TCC 001) with nine tracks, Live USA (Imtrat – IMT900.039) with ten tracks and attributing this tape to 1986, Living Stories (The Genuine Pig Records) was issued in 1992 with twelve tracks and was copied as Living Stories – Live 84 (The Grand Pick – TGP 140).
Baltimore Blues (Prequest – CD 158) claimed this to be the April 23rd show in Baltimore and its copy Mountain Dew – Maryland 1985 (Buccaneer – BUC 019) and also Gone With The Wind (American Concert Series – ACS 043). Reziprocal Affection (Oh Boy – 1-9103) has only eight tracks on one disc. Virginia(Beech Marten – BM 028) has eleven songs from the broadcast and Through The Years Volume 2 (Apple House Banana – BAN-005-B) thirteen. Layla (Grapefruit – PAL 018 A) is a compilation including “Wonderful Tonight,” “Layla,” “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Let It Rain,” “Behind The Sun,” and “Blues Power” from this tape and Nuthin’ But The Blues (Tuff Bites TB.95.1021) a two disc compilation from the post-production of a Scorsese documentary that has yet to be released. The songs in this collection are not complete, but includes “Further On Up The Road” from this show mislabeled Baltimore.
The full show can be found on Talk To The Boss (Bell Bottom) and on discs five and six of the six disc box set Wonderful Tonight On Stage 1985 (The Swingin’ Pig Records TSP-CD-196-5/6). Packaged with the soundboards for the February 11th, 1978 Santa Monica show and the April 20th, 1983 Bremen concert, it was presented in a lavish box to house the three sets. This big set was reissued last year with the same shows and title but in a six way fat-boy jewel case. After Hours on Mid Valley is another title containing the complete twenty song set. It is a clear and detailed professional recording and is not as loud as the Wonderful Tonight set but is noticeably softer. It is due to personal preference whether it is an improvement, but this one sounds real nice and powerful.
The show comes from the first leg of the US Behind The Sun tour. He played in the US on the ARMS tour in late 1983 and with Roger Waters for two weeks on the Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking tour in July, 1984, but this was his first solo tour of the US in almost two years. The new songs and arrangements are Clapton’s most 80’s to date, but on stage there is a mix of both old and new material. The opening five songs all date from his seventies peak and could just have well been lifted from any other show of the era.
“Tangled In Love” and “Behind The Sun” are the two new songs first played in the evening and the keyboards and synthesized drums clash mightily. After “Wonderful Tonight” Clapton says, “I’d like for you to meet one of the two naughty ladies on stage tonight. Wonderful pair of girls.” Shaun Murphy introduces her song “Steppin’ Out” saying, “thank you lively bunch. Hello Richmond! Sort of feel like a sardine do you? He’s shaking his head ‘yes but I love it.'” She then dedicates the next song to “Wendy,” “Catherine,” and “Steve.”
“Never Make You Cry” is from the new album and doesn’t go over well with the audience. This is a typical mid-eighties synth ballad that infected every beer commercial and romantic movie. It is thankfully followed by “She’s Waiting,” one of the strongest songs from the new album. Marcy Levy has her solo spot with “Something Is Wrong,” and the show heats up with more classics in the final hour. Particularly effective is the segue between “Badge” and “Let It Rain.” The former is played up until through the guitar solo and the “love is my badge” section leading without a break into “Let It Rain.” “Double Trouble” is ten minutes long and “Layla” closes the set. The two encores are the great “Forever Man” and “Further On Up The Road.” After Hours is limited to five hundred numbered copies and comes with a miniature replica of the tour program. Whether it is an improvement over older issues of this popular tape is up for debate, but this does sound great and packaged handsomely.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)