Blues Leave Me Alone: Japan Tour 1993 (Tricone 071/072)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – October 12th, 1993
Disc 1 (55:03): 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 (55:29): Stone Free, Circus Left Town, Tears In Heaven, Crossroads, Tearing Us Apart, Groaning The Blues, Cocaine, Ain’t Nobody’s Business, Layla
Eric Clapton, after such a busy and successful 1992, slowed down a bit the following year. He performed twelve shows at the Royal Albert Hall early in the year. After relative inactivity, only playing a handful of charity gigs, he toured Japan for the first time since he visited with George Harrison two years prior.
Unlike the Royal Albert Hall shows, which featured sets derived exclusively from blues standards, he mixed up the Japan shows to feature numbers from “Unplugged” and other classics. The opening night in Tokyo was pressed many years ago on Blues Roots (EC Rarities ECR-020/1) utilizing a good but distant audience recording. Made by the same guy who recorded the following night in Budokan and the October 14th show in Nagoya (among many others), it is a substantial improvement over past releases.
The very start of the show is more distant from the stage than the rest. The echo in the vast venue lends a chilling aura to the start Robert Johnson songs that start the show, “Malted Milk” and “Terraplane Blues.” Normally reserved, the audience cheer and clap along with the opening tunes and whoop in approval.
“How Long Blues” is accompanied by a heavy barroom piano and the rest of the band come in for “32-20.” The final two opening blues songs, “Blues Leave Me Alone” and “Tell Me Mama” are played with extreme enthusiasm that, in the latter song, it sounds as if they can go on all night hammering out the old blues chords.
“White Room” starts off with a short heavy-metal introduction, and “Badge” is played much like it has been in the past. “Wonderful Tonight” receives the same enthusiastic response as it did the last time Clapton visited Japan.
The harmonica in “Tears In Heaven” is less prominent than in other performances It gives a subdued coloration to the already melancholy track.
They continue with the new arrangement of “Crossroads” and the horn infused “Tearing Us Apart.” Overall this is a good, tight and professional performance. It’s a bit more subdued compared to the following nights in Budokan and Nagoya, but just as good.
The artwork for Blues Leave Me Alone is along the same lines as Groaning The Blues and Ain’t Nobody’s Business. The front has the Clapton close up, the back the extreme guitar close up, and the inside has the identical photos of the band and the tour itinerary. The sound quality for each of the three is great and worth having.