Soul Man: His Alibi For The Fourth Night (Tarantura TCDEC-53-1, 2)
Yoyogi Olympic Pool, Tokyo, Japan – December 9th, 1990
Discs 1 (69:22): Announcements / Soul Man, announcements / All Right Now, Walk Away, Layla (orchestra intro), Pretending, No Alibis, Running On Faith, I Shot The Sheriff, White Room, Can’t Find My Way Home, Bad Love, Before You Accuse Me
Discs 2 (79:49): Old Love, Badge, Wonderful Tonight, band introductions, Cocaine, A Remark You Made, Layla, blues intro., Crossroads, Sunshine Of Your Love, drum solo, Sunshine Of Your Love (reprise), Otsukaresama-Deshita!, SE / Happy Trails ~ announcements
Eric Clapton’s Journeyman tour of Japan, dubbed the Seven Nights Of Pleasure, started off with four shows around Tokyo. The first three were in the Nippon Budokan, the main arena for touring rock stars. But the fourth and final Tokyo show on December 9th was booked for the 13,000 seat Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
For a long time the only circulating tape of this show was a fair to good recording which was pressed on Seven Nights Of Pleasure (Mid Valley) several years ago. A much better recording surfaced and was pressed on Gold Flavor (Tricone 057/058).
Soul Man: His Alibi For The Fourth Night documents a new tape source from Crypton. It is an excellent stereo DAT recording capturing the details of the performance very well, sounding very much like a professional recording. Crypton is the taper best known for turning his machine on before the show and keeps it running through the whole concert and keeps it running as he’s heading home afterwards.
He’s not as extreme for this show as he is for others. He starts taping at the opening announcements and three songs, “Soul Man,” Free’s “All Right Now” and the James Gang’s “Walk Away” are recorded as they are played through the PA before the orchestral “Layla” starts, announcing the band and Clapton as they walk onstage.
Slowhander, in his Tricone review is correct in pointing out the aggressiveness of the opening numbers. There are no wilder versions of “Pretending” and “No Alibis” from Journeyman than in this show. Clapton is playing like he really wants to impress Tokyo in the final night in the city. So much so that someone gets a bit lost in the beginning of “No Alibis.”
After a calming “Running On Faith,” they kick into a wild, nine minute performance of “I Shot The Sheriff” followed by a six minute, unfocused version of “White Room.”
Nathan East takes the lead vocals for “Can’t Find My Way Home,” which Clapton calls “a song from 1968 or ‘69, recorded by Blind Faith.” His gentle vocals and the band’s surreal, almost mystical arrangement make it one of the most beautiful recordings of the night.
“Old Love” provides more highlights. Clapton’s vocal delivery is very soft, emotional and profound, one of the best on tape for this particular track. The segues between the soloists are very tight and harmonious. It’s followed by “Badge” which segues directly into the keyboard driven arrangement of “Wonderful Tonight.”
The encores contain the long “Sunshine Of Your Love” with many and various improves in the middle including a short drum solo. It’s not the frenetic soloing of Ray Cooper, who toured with Clapton for most of the year but had to opt of Japan because of illness, but still quite effective.
At the end of the tape Cypton captures the PA announcing the end of the show and a tape of Roy Rogers singing “Happy Trails” as the audience depart the venue.
Soul Man is a very good recording, certainly the best of the three in circulation for December 9th. It is the final show in Tokyo for the year and Clapton delivers a very warm and magical performance enhanced by such a beautiful recording. Tarantura utilize a pretty gatefold sleeve with period photographs, and is another in a long line of excellent Clapton titles to be released by the label.