Civic Center, Hartford, CT – April 13th, 1990
Disc 1: Opening, Pretending, No Alibis, Running On Faith, I Shot The Sheriff, White Room, Can’t Find My Way Home, Bad Love, Before You Accuse Me, After Midnight, Old Love
Disc 2: Tearing Us Apart, Wonderful Tonight, band introduction, Cocaine, A Remark You Made, Layla, Crossroads, Sunshine Of Your Love
The first leg of Eric Clapton’s Journeyman tour of the US lasted over twenty-eight dates beginning on March 28th in Atlanta and was two weeks old by the time they came to Hartford, Connecticut for two nights. The first show in Hartford on April 12th was actually filmed and copies circulate. It is known mostly for the fun but generally lackluster playing and that Clapton and Nathan West wore UConn caps to celebrate the Huskies male basketball team who went 36-6 that year and went from unranked in the preseason to winning the Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championships, both for the first time.
A fair to good audience recording already exists for this date, but Beano debut a new, excellent quality audience tape. This comes from a DAT recording. On the original tape the guitars were emphasized in the left channel but has been remastered to be more centered. There is slight deterioration on the tape during the opening and the beginning of “Wonderful Tonight” but is otherwise in excellent condition.
Much is made of Clapton’s artistic decisions throughout his forty year career. Not content to play the role of guitar hero, he oftentimes subverted his ability to concentrate upon his singing, songwriting other and collaborations. However for this concert all that is set aside and throughout these two hours he ascends the heights to display his prowess as the archetypal rock guitar god and shows why he is the greatest guitarist in the world. Every song is attacked to the core and Clapton’s guitar solos take center stage completely obliterating everything else occurring onstage. It is for this reason Beano calls this show Ferocious. Nights like this are almost unheard before and this show stands one of the greatest Eric Clapton documents to ever be released and is an essential show to own in one form or another.
The opening is an orchestral arrangement of the coda to “Layla” before the band hit the stage with “Pretending.” Right in the very first song Clapton spits out a burst of energy that never really abates. Even the slower numbers like “No Alibis” shower the audience with rich emotion as if the guitar itself were shedding tears. “I Shot The Sheriff” lasts nine minutes long and is segued with “White Room.”
East sings “Can’t Find My Way Home” good (although not as good as Yvone Elliman did back in the seventies). The centerpiece of the set is a thirteen minute version of “Old Love.” “Layla” is the set closer and they play two encores, both old Cream numbers. The final “Sunshine Of Your Love” is a thirteen minute extravaganza featuring Clapton playing Ravel’s Bolero during the first solo, a keyboard solo, Clapton standing alone on the stage giving a guitar clinic, a drum solo before ending on a standard blues cadence. Ferocious is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with dull paper inserts. Limited to two hundred copies, this is already the most intriguing Clapton release of the year and is absolutely essential.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)