Eric Clapton – “Finland 2022” – NANKER DOG 006
Disc1: Intro – Pretending – Key To The Highway – Hoochie Coochie Man – How Long – I Shot The Sheriff – Driftin’ – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – Layla – Tears In Heaven (54:59)
Disc2: Badge – Wonderful Tonight – Crossroads – Little Queen Of Spades – Cocaine – High Time We Went (44:02)
Originally scheduled for 25 June 2020 in Helsinki, the show was first rescheduled for 17 June 2021 and rescheduled again for 17 June 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only the date but also the venue was changed from Helsinki to Tampere.
“Pretending” opens the show. Clapton plays a fiery first solo on wah-wah and I think this can be a good show. Doyle plays lead on the outro before EC brings it home. The next songs performed are the well-known “Key To The Highway” and “Hoochie Coochie Man”. No complaints on the playing but these two have been in Clapton’s setlist for more than a decade and I’d say they need a rest now…. With Clapton having such a vast catalogue of songs to choose from, I’d have preferred a breath of fresh air, but I understand it might be hard for the man to get out of his comfort zone these days. “How Long”, a song that has been coming and going from the setlist for the past few years, follows with Paul Carrack on vocals. It’s okay but I don’t like it as much as “It Ain’t Easy” or “Honest Man” which were played on the 2013-1014 tours. “I Shot The Sheriff” brings the first electric set to an end. Even at 9 minutes I find this one way too short!! On a inspired night like this, I could be listening to Clapton soloing on this one for the whole show.
The sit down, acoustic set starts with “Driftin'” followed by “Nobody Knows You”, “Layla” and “Tears In Heaven”. Again, not many surprises here, I’d say. One is the slightly different arrangement on “Driftin'” which sees Doyle play the harmonica, and another one is the fact that Clapton messes up a couple of chords on his solo on “Layla”. Last but not least, I can hear a few lines on the intro to “Tears In Heaven” that I really like.
Clapton switches to electric mode for the the last part of the show, which is plagued with classics. He hits a bad note on his solo on “Badge” which he cuts short, but even with that mistake, I still enjoy it. Anyway, it is Doyle who steals the song with his solo on the outro. “Wonderful Tonight” is another crowd pleaser. Absolutely flawless technically, the die-hard fans would love this one to see replaced by other love songs that Clapton does have in his repertoire. Along with the bluesy “Spades”, “Crossroads” is my favourite of this segment of the show. No Doyle on lead guitar on this one – Clapton’s solos are alright and Chris Stainton’s work on the keyboards is to be noted too! “Spades” clocks at 11 minutes and gives every band member the opportunity to shine on their instruments. Clapton plays the blues like no one else. No mistakes, no flaws whatsoever….. I think he should do some blues-only shows like he did in 1994-1995 because that is what he does best.
“Cocaine” is a surprise because just when I was thinking EC was in the middle of an unaimaginative solo, he kind of takes off and proves me wrong hitting some notes that make me feel fine. The show comes to an end with “High Time We Went” – another song needing a retirement – where Stainton does shine again on the keyboards.
Packaged in a slimline jewel case with an OBI strip, “Finland 2022” is a 2CD set in a very good audience quality. Inexpensive and with some moments of brilliance, this is worth having even if this is not a show of historical relevance.