The Road To Sapporo (ARMS 128/129PR)
Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan – November 26th, 2006
Disc 1 (54:20): Tell The Truth, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Old Love, Motherless Children, When You Got A Good Friend, Key To The Highway, Outside Woman Blues, Nobody Knows You You When You’re Down And Out, Running On Faith
Disc 2 (60:52): After Midnight, Little Queen Of Spades, Anyday, Wonderful Tonight, Layla, Cocaine, Crossroads
Eric Clapton played ninteen shows in Japan in 2006. The November 26th appearance was the only one in Hokkaido. An amazing quality stereo soundboard recording exists for this show and was released on the mega expensive Stardust (Mid Valley 414/415) and the more affordable copy Stardust (Eelgrass EGL-20221/22).
But The Road To Sapporo on ARMS was the first release of this show and uses a very good to excellent stereo audience recording. While it’s not nearly as good as the soundboard, it’s still a commendable recording picking up the atmosphere of the show perfectly.
Two Derek And The Dominoes tunes, “Tell The Truth” and “Got To Get Better In A Little While” start off the show. “Five Long Years,” sandwiched between the two in the previous couple of shows, was dropped altogether. “Little While” features an very catchy bass solo by Willie Weeks in the middle.
An eleven minute “Old Love” is followed by “Motherless Children.” Clapton’s acoustic interlude follows. “Driftin’ Blues” was replaced by the Robert Johnson cover “When You Got A Friend” and continues with intimate versions of “Key To The Highway,” “Outside Woman Blues,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out,” and “Running On Faith.”
On the second disc the band come back with a full frontal electric set with the energetic “After Midnight.” This segues into the improvisational centerpiece of the set “Little Queen Of Spades.” Lasting a full eighteen minutes, everyone and their brother takes a solo, but it is all held together by Clapton pulling out genius blues riffs. The set closer “Cocaine” is likewise stretched out, this time to twelve minutes of more expository genius from Clapton, Derek Trucks and Chris Stainton on the keyboards.
The final number of the night is the encore “Crossroads.” The artwork is typical of ARMS releases from Clapton’s contemporary tours. It is low key with several photos from the tour but nothing too fancy to detract from the focus upon the music contained therein. This certainly isn’t a title that could replace the soundboard recording on Stardust, but is worth checking out to those who prefer audience tapes.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)