The Sheriff And The Pilgrim
(Tarantura TCDEC-82-1, 2)
Hallenstadion Zurich Switzerland – October 31th, 1998
Disc 1 (62:57): Opening – My Father’s Eyes – Pilgrim – One Chance – River Of Tears – Going Down Slow – She’s Gone – Driftin’ – Tears In Heaven – Layla- Change The World.
Disc 2 (52:58): Old Love – Crossroads – Have You Ever Loved A Woman – I Shot The Sheriff – Wonderful Tonight – Cocaine – Sunshine Of Your Love (with Bonnie Raitt).
Eric Clapton – Guitar, Vocals
Andy Fairweather Low – Guitar, Vocals
Nathan East – Bass, Vocals
Alan Darby – Guitar, Vocals
Tim Carmon – Keyboards, Vocals
Kenneth Crouch – Keyboards
Steve Gadd – Drums
Katie Kissoon – Backing Vocals
Chyna – Backing Vocals
Charlean Hines – Backing Vocals
You only need to listen to My Father’s Eyes, the song which opens the show, to know this is going to be a special night! It is so energetic that it’s hard to believe the band is just warming up!! Pilgrim and Once Chance are a couple of funk testimonial songs that are enhanced with a couple of brilliant outros….. still neither of them as good as the solo on the outro to River Of Tears !!
Clapton continues his pilgrimage by playing Going Down Slow and She’s Gone which is a true kind of axfest!!! It’s a pity that Brokenhearted did not survive the Japan Tour of 1997 when it debuted live… one year before the Pilgrim album was released! It would have been good to see how that song had evolved with this band!!
The unplugged set begins with a solid interpretation of Driftin’ followed by Tears In Heaven and Layla whose solo is played by no other than Nathan East on bass!!! An intense rendition of Change The World puts an end to the acoustic set.
Old Love is nothing but a highlight. Clapton steals it by playing a stunning lead on the first half of the song. The second half has a jazzier feel and is plagued with bass and keyboard lines that make me miss Clapton’s guitar more and more. A solid Crossroads segues into Have You Ever Loved A Woman. With no room for the keyboards, its intensity has got to blow me away.
Clapton might have not shot the sheriff…. but there is no doubt this rendition is a killer one!! The crowd-pleasing Wonderful Tonight has room for some nice licks from Clapton and a two-minute vocal performance by Katie Kissoon that reminisce from the arrangement in 1990 and 1991. A sublime Cocaine puts the show to an end: Clapton takes the first solo and the second half sees Crouch and Carmon take short solos on the keyboards before Alan Darby closes the song. Bonnie Raitt was the fantastic support act for the Tour and this time also joined Clapton for a scorching eight-minute version of Sunshine Of Your Love, the only number in the encore.
“The Sheriff And The Pilgrim” comes in a boxset that is limited to 150 numbered copies to celebrate the guitarist’s 50th year as a professional musician. The 2CD set also comes with an eight-page booklet featuring pictures of Clapton taken at some hotel in Milano in early 1998 that were only published in a couple of magazines in Spain that year.
Both the performance and the sound quality are excellent and the fact that Tarantura produces a fantastic packaging/artwork makes “The Sheriff And The Pilgrim” a release that is worth having… even if you are not the most fanatic fan of the Pilgrim Tour!!!!If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)