Eric Clapton – Cleveland (ECR 010/011)

 Cleveland (EC Rarities 010/011)

Richfield Coliseum, Ohio, USA – June 2, 1979

Disc1. Badge – If I Don’t Be There By Morning – Worried Life Blues – Tulsa Time – Early in the Morning – Motherless Children – Crossroads
Disc2. Double Trouble – Setting Me Up – Watch Out For Lucy – Lay Down Sally – Wonderful Tonight – Cocaine

Another old release by the sadly defunct EC Rarities label, a label I always loved for their 2CD “fatboy” cases, their artwork and the stuff they used to bootleg.  But, I know I may be biased by the fact that my first ever boot from Japan was an “EC Rarities”.

This is a very good soundboard from the 1979 US Tour but probably not complete. Running at 90 minutes, it falls 10 minutes short when compared to an audience tape in (little) circulation that I don’t have, by the way. Since “Cocaine” is the last song featured, one can think of both “Layla” and “Further On Up The Road” as the songs being sacrificed. This tour is EC’s last tour with his American band before deciding it was time for a change. Following this tour EC hired only British musicians to record the “Just One Night” live album just a few months later.

The show starts with a 7+ minute “Badge” that sees EC soloing first and then Albert Lee taking his turn. Bob Dylan’s “If I Don’t Be There By Morning” comes next with no guitar fireworks but still fun to listen to. Then we are treated to the first blues number of the night, Maceo Merryweather’s great “Worried Life Blues”, where Eric’s singing and playing is brilliant.

“Tulsa Time” features some slide playing and so does “Early In The Morning”, but had I to choose I would select the latter. Another great blues number indeed. “Motherless Children” does not mean anything special to me after listening to “Crossroads”, eight splendid minutes from the intro till the end that just leaves you asking for more…

Disc2 opens with “Double Trouble” which EC dedicates to Albert Lee who would get married soon. EC claims “Double Trouble” to be “a sort of romantic song we turned round and changed into a blues”. Had I had to dedicate a romantic song I would have dedicated “Tell Me That You love Me” which would have fitted perfectly in the setlist as it too could have helped boost sales of the “Backless” album.

Had EC to dedicate a romantic song I would have bet he’d dedicate “Wonderful Tonight” but not “Double Trouble”! Weird indeed. Anyway, the rendition is so great that I’m sure Albert Lee was more than happy with it. Next comes Dire Straits’ “Setting Me Up” featuring Albert Lee on vocals and “Watch Out For Lucy” the fourth song of the night from the “Backless” album, featuring in its live form a quite extended guitar solo at the end.

“Lay Down Sally” sounds great when EC is playing “Blackie” and it just comes before “Wonderful Tonight”, which EC now dedicates to Albert Lee’s future wife. Last song in store is “Cocaine” almost two minutes shorther than the one you can find on the “Just One Night” album but still a great closing with a first solo by EC, then a second one by Albert Lee but then joined by EC for a short but intense guitar battle.

This recording captures an era and a band that is not very prolific in this soundboard quality, so I guess this is another must-have in anybody’s collection.

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