Eric Clapton – How Long Blues: Japan Tour 1993 (Tricone 83/84)


How Long Blues:  Japan Tour 1993 (Tricone 83/84)

Osaka Castle Hall, Osaka, Japan – October 18th, 1993

Disc 1 (54:10): Opening, Malted Milk, Terraplane Blues, How Long Blues, 32-20, Kidman Blues, County Jail Blues, Forty-Four, Blues Leave Me Alone, Tell Me Mama, White Room, Badge, Wonderful Tonight

Disc 2 (55:00): Stone Free, Circus Left Town, Tears In Heaven, Crossroads, Tearing Us Apart, Groaning The Blues, Cocaine, Ain’t Nobody’s Business, Layla

Eric Clapton’s Japan tour in 1993 continued with two shows at the Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka on October 18th and October 19th.  The first of the two shows has been released before on Blues Roots (Craze Music – CR-1883/05) and the first two discs of Soul Survivors (Mid Valley 712/713).

How Long Blues on Tricone contains a new audience recording of the entire gig.  It’s very clear, loud and enjoyable.  The left channel becomes weak during “Forty-Four” when the taper moves but recovers nicely.  Otherwise there aren’t any flaws on the tape.  

After a short opening Clapton comes on stage to start the show.  The set list for all these gigs are identical.  He starts off with two Robert Johnson tunes, “Malted Milk” and “Terraplane Blues.”  Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, these are stark, cold and bleak.  But the instrumentation changes as the set goes on.   

After “How Long Blues” Clapton introduces the next three songs.  He states they are by Big Maceo Merriweather, the famous blues pianist who is most famous for “Worried Life Blues.”  One of the most influential pianists in the genre, he unfortunately died at a young age and was posthumously induced into the Blues Hall Of Fame.  

Chris Stainton, playing piano for Clapton, channels a high level of aggression in the three songs “32-20,” “Kidman Blues” and “County Jail Blues.”  He’s absolutely inspired in “Forty-Four,” one of Clapton’s favorite blues tunes and one of the highlights of all these shows.  The blues section of the show comes to an end with a loud and wild “Tell Me Moma.”  

Without any introduction Clapton launches into “White Room,” the Cream classic that found new life in the set during the mid-eighties.  “Badge” merges nicely with “Wonderful Tonight” and “Stone Free” is something “by Jimi Hendrix,” according to Clapton.  He follows with a two song acoustic set, “Circus Left Town” and “Tears In Heaven.”  

The set ends with “Cocaine” and is followed by two encores, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and “Layla.”

How Long Blues is another in a series of releases by Tricone documenting this tour.   The artwork utilizes the same design and, in some cases, photographs as the others making it hard to really distinguish it from the others.  Personal taste dictates whether it’s better or not the sound quality is better than the other two releases.  Tricone could have issued this show in a set with the others, but it’s nice to have it as a separate release.  

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