Eric Clapton – Four Piece 1989 (Blackie 03/04)


Four Piece 1989 (Blackie 03/04)

RAH, London, UK – January 21, 1989

Disc1. Crossroads – White Room –  I Shot the Sheriff – Bell Bottom Blues – After Midnight – Wonderful Tonight – Can’t Find My Way Home – Forever Man – Same Old Blues
Disc2. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Easy Lover – Tearing Us Apart – Cocaine – A Remark You Made – Layla – Behind the Mask  – Sunshine of Your Love

Not at all a new release but quite an interesting document I digged out from my collection and I completely had forgotten about! EC played a series of twelve shows at the RAH back in 1989. There is an awesome soundboard from this stint in wide circulation but that features EC’s big band . “Four Piece 1989” is an audience recording and it’s obvious that as the title name itself indicates it features a different lineup.

The mix of this audience recording is quite strange, with EC’s guitar being very notorius,  but everything else being kind of muffled and/or distant.  We must be  happy EC plays the guitar and not the drums – otherwise this would be a recording of little importance to us. 

I enjoyed rediscovering this show because it took place nearly 20 years ago and gave me the chance to compare two different scenarios. Crossroads – used as encore nowadays – used to be the opener those days and if it wasn’t by the fact that EC didn’t change the setlists those days one could think EC listened to someone’s request to play “White Room” after the first song!   “Sheriff” comes next and the solo here is an absolute joy to listen to!

“Bell Bottom Blues” and “Layla” were the only songs from the “Layla” album to be performed and the Dominos’ material is far much more prominent these days. “After Midnight” features the 1988 arrangement which I have always preferred over 1970’s, the one used by EC on his 2006/07 tour. From the guitar point of view “Wonderful Tonight” and “Can’t Find My Way Home” are not highlights at all for me but Thank Heavens “Forever man” comes to the rescue with some great exended fiery guitar playing! This is an excellent rendition indeed of this song. A 16-minute “Same Old Blues” closes disc1. I much more prefer the original arrangement of 1985 but even not being my cup of tea it is fair to say this is a magnificient showcase of all band members’ talents.

“Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” features a “reggae feel” I like and some guitar work I love. “Easy Lover” is sung by Phil Collins and again EC shows how well he can play pop music delivering a couple of great solos. “Tearing Us Apart” does not let you down either. “Cocaine” features both an extended intro that allows EC to introduce the band and a very good extended solo from EC as well. But it is the solo on “Layla” the one that really steals the show. Absolutely brilliant!

“Behind The Mask” and “Sunshine Of Your Love” – with some guitar chords at the end of the song that sound like “Carnival” to my ears – are the encores. Such different kind of material you may say…. but Eric’s versatility is the key to his greatness.

A good recording for the era that shows an EC in top form. No other alternative for me but to recommend it!

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