Eric Clapton – Ain’t Nobody’s Business: Japan Tour 1993 (Tricone 075/076)

Ain’t Nobody’s Business:  Japan Tour 1993
(Tricone 075/076)

Rainbow Hall, Nagoya, Japan – October 14th, 1993

Disc 1 (59:23):  Opening, Malted Milk, Terraplane Blues, How Long Blues, 32-20, Kidman Blues, County Jail Blues, Forty-Four, Blues Leave Me Alone, Tell Me Mama, White Room, Badge, Wonderful Tonight

Disc 2 (56:50):  Stone Free, Circus Left Town, Tears In Heaven, Crossroads, Tearing Us Apart, Groaning The Blues, Cocaine, Ain’t Nobody’s Business, Layla

The third show of Eric Clapton’s Japan Tour 1993 was at the Rainbow Hall in Nagoya.  Tape sources have been issued before on Rainbow Night (Slowhand Music – ECRN0141/2) and Ride On The Breeze (Tarantura TCDEC-77-1, 2) last spring.  

Ain’t Nobody’s Business on Tricone debuts a new recording.  It is very good to excellent, although not as good as the Tarantura.  There is more echo on this tape, but it is still a highly enjoyable recording of a fascinating performance.  

The set is a mix of the blues covers he would later record for From The Cradle and older solo and Cream classics along with the “Unplugged” set thrown in for good measure.

He starts off along playing the Robert Johnson tunes “Malted Milk” and “Terraplane Blues,” one of the seminal songs for rock-and-roll. Sinister versions of “32-20″ and “Kidman Blues” follow, reminding the audience just how violent these old blues songs really are. As played, they reflect an older world with different sensibilities and sound like archaic museum pieces.

The opening blues section of the show ends with the rarely performed “Tell Me Mama,” the Little Walter blues. Originally recorded in 1953, it is the most recent of the blues covers in Clapton’s set and sounds more rock than blues.

They glide into the Cream tune “White Room,” played as it was in the mid eighties with bassist Nathan East singing the chorus. It’s followed by a nice version of “Badge” and a standard version of “Wonderful Tonight.”

The “Unplugged” set is reduced to two songs. “Signe” is dropped, but the as yet unreleased “Circus Left Town” is played. He follows with the Grammy Award winning “Tears In Heaven.” Chris Stainton plays tasteful keyboards on the track, but it doesn’t sound as nice as Chuck Leavell’s little baroque trills played on the grand piano from the previous year’s performances. The song receives the loudest applause of the night.

After the acoustic interlude, they return with a new arrangement of “Crossroads.” Unlike the rock-blues version, this one is more straight-ahead rock with a heavily accented syncopated rhythm and a scorching Jerry Portnoy harmonica solo in the middle.

“Tearing Us Apart” is a great tune from the mid-eighties output which was retained from the “Unplugged” set the previous year. The synthesizer melody is minimized in favor of a strong horn section. The Kick Horns play an important part in this tune, lending an air of excited anticipation and anger augmented by Clapton’s guitar.

The show ends with a groovy arrangement of featuring great harmonica by Portnoy “Cocaine” and a cover of Bess Smith’s “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.” A nice electric version of “Layla” is the encore and is only marginally marred by Andy Fairweather-Low’s inability to properly play the “Layla” riff on the chorus.

Tricone utilize the same dark and obscure artwork on this as they do with the other two Japan Tour 1993 titles released at the same time.  While not aesthetically pleasing, they are certainly interesting.   

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