Eric Clapton – Kyoto 1979 (ECOT-79-1 A&B)

Kyoto 1979 (ECOT-79-1 A&B)

Kyoto Kaikan Daiichi Hall, Kyoto, Japan – November 26th, 1979

Disc 1 (54:23):  Early In The Morning, Lay Down Sally, Wonderful Tonight, If I Don’t Be There By Morning, Worried Life Blues, Country Boy, All Our Past Times, Blues Power, Double Trouble

Disc 2 (50:40):  Knocking On Heaven’s Door, Setting Me Up, Rambling On My Mind / Have You Ever Loved A Woman, After Midnight, Cocaine, Layla, Further On Up the Road

Kyoto was, after Ibaragi and Nagoya, the third stop on Eric Clapton’s 1979 tour of Japan.  It was one of his longest of Japan in the seventies and was immortalized on Just One Night, an official live album recorded from the December 4th show in Tokyo. 

Kyoto 1979 is the only silver pressed release of this show.  It is a good recording but with slight distortion.  The distortion at the beginning has a peculiarly strong, percussive quality which makes it a bit difficult to endure, but it clears up nicely as the show progresses.  The first song “Tulsa Time” is missing, so the tape begins with the second song of the night “Early In The Morning.”

There is a relaxed, informal feel to the show throughout the evening.  At times Clapton can be heard speaking to the other members in the band and giving funny asides to the audience.  “Early In The Morning,” the first song recording, has a hazy feel to it punctuated by Clapton’s heavy slide guitar.

His feeling is carried through the next two songs, “Long Tall Sally,” a breezy version of “Wonderful Tonight” and the pop oriented “If I Don’t Be There By Morning.” 

Albert Lee injects some pathos and intensity into the show in his first number “Country Boy.”  Although it is a lighthearted (but NOT comedic) song, Lee sings it with such passion and intensity.  The show continues in that vein, especially during the two epic numbers in the middle of the set “Blues Power” and “Double Trouble.” 

The long “Rambling On My Mind” pastiche is quite effective, and is followed by “After Midnight.”  This is a vestige of the early setlist (which also included “Badge”), but would not be played until the tour visited Tokyo.  (A version appears on the live album).

“This is a song about something you’ve probably never heard of.  So if you can’t join in, don’t bother” is Clapton’s enigmatic introduction to “Cocaine.”  Even stranger are the interlopers who join the band for the song.  At several points, when Clapton sings “she don’t like / she don’t like / she don’t like…” they shouts “cocaine” and, at one point, shouts “JOHN WAYNE!!!”  It’s not clear who they are, but clearly Japanese judging from their accent.  “Thank you, boys!!”  Clapton shouts afterwards. 

A lazy “Layla” closes the set and “Further On Up The Road,” with a beautiful lyrical guitar solo by Lee, is the only encore.  

Of the four shows in the Eric Clapton On Tour boxset, Kyoto is clearly the best sounding and most enjoyable.  Like the others, it comes in the boxset with the other shows and individually in a 2CD fatboy jewel case with very dark black and white graphics. 

It’s a shame the first song is missing, but nevertheless ranks among the best of the era and is worth having.   

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