The Final Budokan (no label)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – December 10th, 2011
Disc 1 (60:35): Opening, Introduction Speech, Had To Cry Today, Low Down, After Midnight, Presence Of The Lord, Glad, Well Alright, Hoochie Coochie Man, While You See A Chance, Key To The Highway, Pearly Queen, Crossroads
Disc 2 (69:49): Georgia On My Mind, Driftin’, That’s No Way To Get Along, Wonderful Tonight, Can’t Find My Way Home, Gimme Some Lovin’, Voodoo Chile, Dear Mr. Fantasy, Cocaine
The Eric Clapton / Steve Winwood thirteen date tour of Japan ended on December 10th in the Budokan in Tokyo. The setlist, drawn from Blind Faith tunes, Clapton and Winwood solo classics, and interesting covers they enjoy playing, remained the same for each show.
The Final Budokan offers an excellent stereo audience recording, meeting the high standards of contemporary audience tapes. It is an excellent souvenir of the show, capturing all of the dynamics and emotion of the powerful performance.
Before the music starts Clapton tells the audience it is their final show in Japan and “we go home tomorrow for Christmas. We had a great time here, thank you very much.” He continues by dedicating the show to “a good friend of mine who passed away, Dickie Sims.”
Dick Sims was the keyboard player in Eric Clapton’s band from 1974 to 1979. According to the obituary, Sims was “Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sims was playing in clubs by age 12. From 1968 through 1972, he toured with Phil Driscol and Yurmama, appearing with Yurmama on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1971.
“In 1972, he and Jamie Oldaker (a fellow member of Yurmama) worked with Bob Seger and recorded Back in ‘72 which contained the Seger classic ‘Turn the Page.’ Sims and Oldaker then returned to Tulsa and formed the Tulsa County Band, along with fellow Tulsa musician (and fellow member of Yurmama, Jamie Oldaker. In 1974, he was recruited to Clapton’s band by fellow Tulsan, Carl Radle. Oldaker was also a member of the EC Band.
“During the mid-70s, Sims (keyboards), Radle (bass) and Oldaker (drums) were pioneers of the ‘Tulsa Sound.’ Sims’ playing can be heard on all of Clapton’s releases from those years, including 461 Ocean Boulevard and Slowhand. During his lengthy career, he also toured and recorded with Joan Armatrading, Peter Tosh, Stephen Stills, Pure Prairie League, Etta James, Carlos Santana, Perry Farrell and others. Sims’ only solo album, Within Arms Reach, was released in 2008. Sims was residing in Tulsa at the time of his death.”
The concert opened with Blind Faith’s “Had To Cry Today.” It’s a good mid-tempo rock dirge setting the mood for good nostalgia. They follow with two J. J. Cale tunes, “Low Down” and the more well known “After Midnight.”
During “Presence Of The Lord” Clapton takes the second verse, something he rarely ever did. The peaceful tune is followed by the Cream instrumental “Glad” serving as an introduction to Blind Faith’s cover of Buddy Holly “Well Alright.” This song is more upbeat and would have been a better opener.
One of the highlights is the short acoustic interlude in the middle of the show. “Driftin'” is played the same was as Clapton played on previous tours. “That’s No Way To Get Along” is the Rev. Robert Wilkins 1929 blues which shares the same melody as “Prodigal Son,” another Wilkins tune made famous by The Rolling Stones.
“Can Find My Way Home” provides a contemplative moment in the set, followed by a fun “Gimme Some Lovin'” and the set closer, the magnificent slow blues psychedelic “Voodoo Chile.” Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and the popular “Cocaine” are the encores.
The Final Budokan is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with sepia tones over the front and back covers. The design from the Clapton / Winwood DVD makes an appearance as art on the back along with several photographs from the gig. It’s a nice production all around and a good way to obtain the show.