In The Court Of King Eric (Mid Valley MV 438/439/440/441)
Hampton Court Palace – Surrey, England – May 9 & 10, 2006
Discs 1 & 3. Pretending – So Tired – Got to Get Better in a Little While – Old Love – Everybody Ought to Make a Change – Motherless Children – Back Home – I Am Yours – Nobody Knows You – Running on Faith
Discs 2 & 4. After Midnight – Little Queen of Spades – Let it Rain – Wonderful Tonight – Layla – Cocaine – Crossroads
As a part of 2006’s Summer’s Hampton Court Palace Festival, EC played two dates at this historical venue to wrap up the first leg of his 2006 European tour. Hampton Court Palace is a former royal palace standing on the banks of the River Thames. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and a famous maze, it is open to the public as a major tourist attraction in England.
EC played an identical setlist on both nights but it is true that the setlist differs a bit from what EC began playing at the Albert Hall some weeks earlier. We don’t get “Sheriff”, “Lost And Found” or “Anyday” now but “Old Love” and “Let It Rain” instead, and also “Everybody Oughta Make A Change” and “ Motherless Children” have been moved up to the opening section.
“Pretending” opens the show and takes me to 1990 and without pausing for a second, the band races straight into “So Tired” now taking me to 2006. It is one of my favourite tracks of the “Back Home” album and it sounds great live too. That song is about EC’s family, something I do find very touching. Family life finally seems to suit him and listening to “So Tired” it seems he found happiness in his personal life. Next song is “Got To Get Better” which has got to take me to 1970… and how happy I go, only God knows! “Old Love” returns me to 1990 on his first part but then, I’m taken to 1998 when I hear Tim Carmon’s funky soloing on this beautiful number. Then you will believe to be at the beginning of an EC show in 1985 when you hear “Everybody Oughta Make A Change” linked with “Motherless Children”. This is indeed a great walk down memory lane.
Then it’s time for the sit down set. EC can be heard saying something like “aah , finally!” on the second night when he finds his way to the chair. “Back Home” – on the second night dedicated to Billy (Preston) who had passed away on June 6th – “I Am Yours” , “Nobody Knows You” and “Running On Faith” are all excellent and again take me on the very same journey from 2006 to 1970 and again to 1990!
“After Midnight” speeds up the tempo again and gets me grooving. “Little Queen Of Spades” is simply amazing with Doyle, Derek and Chris Stainton all playing superb solos. “Let It Rain” benefits from having three guitar players onstage and again, Chris Stainton’s work on the piano is more than remarkable.
Most of the people may say that no EC show is complete without “Wonderful Tonight”, “Cocaine” and “Layla”…. Well, I have doubts on the first one, but I guess this has got to be true. These three songs bring the shows to the end. The classic “Crossroads” is left for the encore and sees EC play and jam with Doyle and Derek in a great guitar tour-de-force.
Highlights have got to be “Got To Get Better”, “Old Love”, “Little Queen Of Spades”, “Let It Rain”, “Layla” and “Cocaine” from no particular night as EC is in great form on both of them.
“In The Court Of King Eric” was originally released on proCD-R by Mid Valley as a “MVR Limited Sampler” with no catalog number and different artwork. It seems that the MVR gang remastered the original recordings and pressed them on silvers now giving them a well deserved catalog number. No goodies accompanied the first release and that remains unchanged, which makes it a sober 4CD set in a fat boy case.
Both audience recordings are excellent and I can’t do anything else but highly recommend this release.