Eric Clapton – LA Forum 1990 (Beano-022)

LA Forum 1990 (Beano-022)

Forum, Los Angeles, CA – May 1st, 1990

Disc 1:  Opening, Pretending, No Alibis, Running On Faith, I Shot The Sheriff, White Room, Can’t Find My Way Home, Bad Love, Before You Accuse Me, Old Love, Tearing Us Apart

Disc 2:  Wonderful Tonight, band introduction, Cocaine, A Remark You Made, Layla, instrumental jam, Crossroads, Sunshine Of Your Love

Eric Clapton’s May 1st, 1990 show at the Forum in Los Angeles occurs in the final week of the first leg of the Journeyman tour.  There have been two prior silver releases of this date, but both Live at the Forum (USA International Pop UNP050) and Crossroads in L.A. (Blackie 06) use a poor sounding tape.  It is also incomplete featuring “Bad Love” to “Crossroads” and missing the first hour and the final encore “Sunshine Of Your Love.”  Beano use a second tape source which was taped much closer to the stage producing excellent sound.  There is great balance between the instruments on stage and also with the audience noise too perfectly capturing the atmosphere of the event.  There is some tape deterioration in the very beginning of “Bad Love” and during “Sunshine Of Your Love.”   

This show is distinctive for George Harrison joining Clapton on stage for the encores.  He was in nearby Bel Air working on the new Traveling Wilburys album at the time.  His appearance was probably rumored beforehand because several people by the taper were talking about it during the opening.  (“Elton John?  I think George Harrison will guest.  That’s what they were talking about.  That makes sense.”)  The show begins with the orchestral arrangement of the “Layla” coda as the band hit the stage.  Phillinganes plays a bit of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” on the piano as an introduction to “Pretending.”  “Thank you very much and good evening.  We’d like to do a medley of Jerry Williams songs” Clapton says before the playing two more new songs, “No Alibis” and “Running On Faith.”  All three were written for Clapton by the late Jerry Williams, who also wrote “Forever Man” for him in 1984.  

The reggae “I Shot The Sheriff” is segued with “White Room,” a song that found new life several years prior when he opened his short Live Aid set with it.  Clapton introduces Nathan East to sing “Can’t Find My Way Home” and does a magnificent job in his rich baritone.  On an album that is considered to be Clapton’s comeback as a blues guitar hero, “Bad Love” is an anomaly, sounding firmly planted in the mid eighties pop synthesizer arrangements.  “Before You Accuse Me” is a tremendous slice of 12 bar and is followed by the twelve minute “Old Love” where even Nathan East plays a solo on the bass guitar.  

“Wonderful Tonight” is played in a dreamy haze of soft chords and the band play a great funky tune while Clapton introduces the band.  “Cocaine” is augmented by both keyboard and Hammond organ figures over its seven minutes using the sonic boundaries of early and late seventies progressive rock.  After “Layla” there is a moment of crowd noise as the band plus George Harrison come on stage.  There is no announcement (does Harrison even need an introduction?)  The audience cheer and scream loudly as they play a two minute blues improvisation, trading riffs off of one another before gliding into “Crossroads.” 

The final song of the evening is a seventeen minute long version of “Sunshine Of Your Love” with East on vocals.  Clapton throws in “Strangers In The Night” at the beginning of the piece and Ray Cooper plays his percussion games with the audience in the middle.  This was a feature of Clapton’s shows throughout the eighties and would be used in “Roll Over Beethoven” the following year when Harrison toured Japan with Clapton and the band.  L.A. Forum 1990 is a great release for Beano who are able to find great uncirculated tapes and produce definitive versions for collectors.  It is packaged in a double slimline jewel case with photos from the era (Clapton with his hair at early seventies length).  This is the second great show from the tour Beano produced after Ferocious and is worth having.         

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