Eric Clapton – Blues Up Tight (Mainstream MAST-009/010)

Blues Up Tight (Mainstream MAST-009/010)

Olympiahalle, Munich, Germany – March 1st, 1990

Disc 1 (50:53):  Pretending, No Alibis, Running On Faith, I Shot the Sheriff, White Room, Can’t Find My Way Home, Bad Love

Disc 2 (72:38):  Before You Accuse Me, Old Love, Tearing Us Apart, Wonderful Tonight, Band Intro, Cocaine, Layla, Sunshine of Your Love

The extent of Eric Clapton’s European tour for Journeyman was only fourteen concerts over a three week period from the middle of February through the first week in March.  Blues Up Tight is one of a handful of silver pressed titles are in circulation for these dates.  The recording is good to very good.  The distance from the stage produces a deep echo around the music which borders on distortion. 

It is very enjoyable, however, and Mainstream made a good choice in selecting this show for release.  The label mislabels “Old Love” as “Holy Mother,” a song which was not played on this tour.  

The band Clapton too to Europe with him was his standard backing band of East, Ferrone and Philinganes.  They were augmented by Phil Palmer on second guitar, Alan Clark on keyboards, Ray Cooper on percussion and backing vocals by Katie Kissoon and Tessa Niles.

Like the British shows, there is a boogie piano introduction before they play “Pretending,” the signature song for this tour.  “No Alibis” was moved up and played second in the set.  “I Shot The Sheriff” is much longer than in the past with more soloing by the musicians and segues into “White Room.”  

Clapton shares vocals with Nathan East in the Cream classic, and East sings “Can’t Find My Way Home.”  He also has a short bass interlude in the middle of the piece which is met by a chorus of whistles from the crowd. 

“Old Love” is another very long jam session by the band, played before a fun version of “Tearing Us Apart.”  The ending of the show becomes extremely heavy.  “Cocaine” contains a very intense keyboard solo in the middle, and Clapton performs an extremely effective “Layla.”  Ray Cooper punctuates the chords in the coda with very loud bangs.

“Crossroads,” the first encore in the English concerts, seems to have been dropped.  The only encore is a thirteen version of “Sunshine Of Your Love.”  It has a unique introduction and an abrasive, nasty heavy metal sounding guitar solo in the middle right before Cooper’s percussion fun and games.

Blues Up Tightwas one of the first titles produced by Mainstream and one of the very few Eric Clapton titles.  They issued a few early on but dropped production of his titles when more Clapton specific labels like Beano and Mid Valley came along.  This is still a title worth having for the rarity of titles documenting the short European Journeyman period.

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