Burning Of The Midnight Lamp (Beano – 006)
Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, South Yorkshire , England – October 3rd, 1993
Disc 1: White Room, Badge, Wonderful Tonight, Stone Free, Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, Circus Left Town, Tears In Heaven, Feelin’ Alright, Love Me Like You Do, You Can Leave Your Hat On
Disc 2: Hard Times, Unchain My Heart, Groaning The Blues, Crossroads, Ain’t Nobody’s Business, Sweet Home Chicago
Burning Of The Midnight Lamp features one of the charity concerts for the Chemical Dependency Centre from October 1993 and was released in late 2003, early 2004 as one of Beano’s earlier titles. These charity shows took place at three different venues starting with National Indoor Arena on Oct. 1st, National Exhibition Centre on Oct. 2nd, both in Birmingham, and finally Sheffield Arena on Oct. 3rd. This lineup featured Richie Hayward on drums, Nathan East on bass (who replaced Donald “Duck” Dunn), Chris Stainton on keys, Andy Fairweather-Lowe on guitar, Jerry Portnoy on harmonica, Katie Kissoon and Maggie Ryder on vocals and a brass section made up of Roddy Lorimer, Tim Sanders, and Simon Clarke. Joe Cocker makes an appearance in the middle of the set to perform some of his material with the band and the brass section enters during “Love Me Like You Do” and remains through the end of the show. Clapton started the year off playing all blues shows but these performances are a mix of classics, unplugged, and blues tracks.
The recording is an excellent audience source that is very clear with a punchy sound. A bit of the venues atmosphere is captured but all detail is retained and audience interference is almost completely absent. Clapton opens the show with the growl of his guitar and hits them hard with two from the Cream days followed by “Wonderful Tonight”, which features the arrangement first used in the early 90s with scat vocals at the end from Katie Kissoon. “Circus Left town” and “Tears In Heaven” are not quite as clear as the rest of the show due to the quieter acoustic mood but are still enjoyable. “I’d like to do a couple of songs from an old pal of mine, Jimi Hendrix” Eric says before a powerful “Stone Free” where Eric throws in a brief reference to “Third Stone From The Sun” at the end. This track was recently recorded by Clapton for the Stone Free: A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix compilation. Eric also includes “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” which was recorded for the tribute as well but remains unreleased.
Joe Cocker’s portion of the set begins with a kicking version of “Feelin’ Alright” followed by “Love Me Like You Do” that features a harmonica solo by Jerry Portnoy. The band continues with Cocker’s material with “You Can Leave Your Hat On” and “Unchain My Heart” and Joe shares the lead vocal with Eric on Ray Charles’ “Hard Times”. Clapton finishes the show with his blues roots including another unique arrangement of “Crossroads” (there are many). During the final track, “Sweet Home Chicago”, the band is joined by Joe Cocker again and Nine Below Zero. There appears to be two drummers that at times are not perfectly in sync.
This concert was also part of a 4CD set from Mid Valley called Midnightlamp (MVR 230 – 233) that also contained four tacks from Sussex on September 18, 1993 and the entire Birmingham show from October 1, 1993. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp on Beano is a limited edition most likely limited to 300 numbered copies (mine is 271) and is a title well worth the investment if you come across it.