Kokura 1979 (ECOT-79-3 A&B)
Shin-Nittestsu Taiiku-Kan, Kokura, Japan – November 30th, 1979
Disc 1 (63:23): Tulsa Time, Early In The Morning, Lay Down Sally, Wonderful Tonight, If I Don’t Be There By Morning, Worried Life Blues, Country Boy, All Our Past Times, Blues Power, Double Trouble
Disc 2 (49:57): Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Setting Me Up, Rambling On My Mind / Have You Ever Loved a Woman, Cocaine, Layla, Further On Up the Road
Kokura 1979 is the third title in the Eric Clapton On Tour 1979 series, pressing onto disc previously unavailable shows from the Just One Night era. The label use a fair good audience recording of virtually the complete show.
It is quite distant from the stage with the emphasis upon the instruments. The vocals are pushed way to the bottom of the mix, much like the Osaka show in this series. But the sound isn’t nearly as bad as other collectors say. It is perfectly listenable.
Several cuts are also present at the beginning leaving only the final ninety seconds of “Tulsa Time,” a cut after “All Our Past Times” cutting the opening notes of “Blues Power,” and there are significant drop-outs in “If I Don’t Be There By Morning.”
All of the shows in Japan are very tight. Clapton’s new band, after a few warm up gigs in Europe, jelled nicely by the time they visited the Far East. With very little variation in the setlist, they concentrated on a tight, professional performance rather than having a raucous good time.
Clapton himself pours much energy into the opening fast numbers. “Long Tall Sally” reaches a note of perfection and “If I Don’t Be There By Morning” is very catchy in this show.
But his emotions are poured into the long, expansive songs. “Worried Life Blues” is a long, ponderous blues dirge and “Double Trouble” reaches epic proportions. The best of the show is the very long “Rambling On My Mind” / “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” medley. Reaching over eleven minutes, Clapton throws in a bit of “Crossroads” in the middle.
Before “Cocaine” (the obvious favorite in these shows) he thanks the audience for a good time. “Layla” is preceded by an expressionistic haze before the familiar melody comes in, similar to the introduction he will use a decade later during the Journeyman era.
Kokura 1979 is the fourth and final title in the Eric Clapton On Tour boxset, providing silver titles of previously unreleased concerts. It was offered initially in a limited edition (300 copies) 8-CD set packaged in a CD-sized box and cardboard sleeves for each show along with a foldout page with the show dates and setlists. Each of the four were subsequently released individually in 2CD fatboy jewel cases with very minimal artwork on each.
While Kokura is a good show, the sound quality is good for collectors but not appealing for a more general audience. There are much better sounding shows in circulation.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)