Saint Patricks Days
(Tarantura TCDED-80, 81)
Eric Clapton spent the first half of 1978 touring for his critically acclaimed Slowhand. After completing the sessions for the follow up Backless he spent the summer playing three large concerts in support of Bob Dylan. Between the July 1st festival at Zeppelinfeld in Nürnberg in Germany and The Picnic at Blackbushe Aerodrome in the UK Clapton played two shows at the National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on July 7th and July 8th.
These are among the final shows from the Slowhand tour. After the Blackbushe show he would drop “The Core,” the excellent eight minute long rocker used to open his shows since the Japan shows in September. Clapton would also say goodbye to lead guitarist George Terry, his collaborator since 1974’s 461 Ocean Boulevard and all the albums and tours since.
Even though both shows were recorded they’ve been scarcely pressed in the past because of the middling sound quality. Tarantura did a good job in resurrecting these two audience tapes to being listenable and enjoyable even though the second night is a chore to get through.
National Stadium, Dublin, Ireland – July 7th, 1978
Disc 1 (54:44): Opening, The Core, Worried Life Blues, Wonderful Tonight, Lay Down Sally, Rodeo Man, Fool’s Paradise, Cocaine, Double Trouble, Nobody Knows You When You Down And Out
Disc 2 (42:11): Badge, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Key To The Highway, Layla, Early In The Morning
The July 7th show was released on Dublin ’78 First Night (Masterport 035) on professional CDR. Tarantura offers the first silver pressing of the entire show in upgraded sound quality. It is a slightly distant but clear audience recording. There is faint distortion in some of the more loud parts and there is an unexplained slight drop in sound quality for the encore “Early In The Morning.”
The set is the same as employed in previous stops that summer. After a brief introduction and tune up they start off with the epic riff-laden rocker “The Core.” Both Clapton and Marcy Levy share vocals as they navigate the epic ten minute piece. They follow with the slower “Worried Life Blues” and “Wonderful Tonight.”
After “Lay Down Sally” Clapton jokes “we’re having trouble with our lead guitarist” before “Rodeo Man.” It sounds as if Terry was having some sort of equipment problems. Clapton continues in a jocular mood, stating afterwards they’re going to do another number, “obviously, that’s what we’re paid to do” before introducing Levy for her first number of the night “Fool’s Paradise.”
After scorching versions of “Cocaine” and “Double Trouble” Clapton introduces Levy for her second number. She gives greeting from Belfast, confusing the audience and prompting someone to give her an obscene gesture. “That’s not nice” she says before singing “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out.”
Clapton get into interesting funk-like jamming on “Badge.” Before “Knocking On Heaven’s Door” he continues the joke from before, saying that “we’re still having trouble with our lead guitarist. He’s having trouble with his kidneys. He’s got the Miami Leg.” Someone in the audience shouts “what a rush!” and “don’t fall down!”
“Layla” closes the show and “Early In The Morning” is the only encore.
National Stadium, Dublin, Ireland – July 8th, 1978
Disc 1 (47:51) Opening, The Core, Worried Life Blues, Wonderful Tonight, Lay Down Sally, Rodeo Man, Fool’s Paradise, Cocaine, Double Trouble
Disc 2 (40:21): Nobody Knows You When You Down And Out, Badge, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Key To The Highway, Layla, Early In The Morning
The tape for the July 8th show is a bit further than the previous night. It’s not as loud and clear but the music is very listenable. Clapton’s between song introductions are a bit harder to hear. This is the first time the show has been available commercially.
Clapton plays the same set and the laid back jocular atmosphere from the first show continues. Opening with a scorching “The Core,” they continue with great versions of “Worried Life Blues,” “Wonderful Tonight” and “Lay Down Sally.” Terry doesn’t have any problems tonight and Marcy Levy, when she’s introduced for her songs, doesn’t insult the crowd by mentioning Belfast.
Clapton points out that “Cocaine” is a “logical progression to being insane” and that “Double Trouble” is “dedicated to two young ladies named Amy and Lucy.” Much like the previous night “Badge” takes on epic dimensions as does “Key To The Highway.”
Saint Patricks Days comes in a deluxe box with a little booklet decorated with photos from the era including several very rare pictures from the first night. It’s limited to one hundred-fifty numbered copies and is part of the label’s celebration of Clapton’s fifty years in the music business.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)