Let Me In (Tricone 011/012)
Bunka Taiikukan, Yokohama, Japan – December 8, 1981
Disc1. Opening – Tulsa Time – Lay Down Sally – Wonderful Tonight – After Midnight – I Shot The Sheriff – A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Country Boy – Another Ticket – Blues Power – Blow Wind Blow.
Disc2. Motherless Children – Ramblin’ On My Mind / Have You Ever Loved A Woman – Cocaine – Layla – Band introduction – Further On Up The Road.
To see an old tape being unearthed is always a great news so I when learnt that Tricone would be releasing “Let Me In”, a 2CD set bringing out a new source for an EC show from his Japan Tour of 1981, I just didn’t think twice and madly went for it since this tour is so hard to see in silver media: “Let Me In” is the second show from this tour to be silver pressed after “Japan Tour 1981” (EC Rarities – ECR 003/4) and Tarantura’s recent “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (TCDEC-43) both covering the previous show. It was anticipated that the sound quality on “Let Me In” would be “amazing”. Well, that may be too much to say but it indeed is an excellent sounding tape for the era. Too much clapping in places but it truly is a brilliant release.
In March 1981, only a few dates into a mammoth 57-date US tour promoting his Another Ticket album, EC was hospitalizated after a serious attack of bleeding ulcers and was forced to cancel the tour. Six months would have to pass before EC would reappear in public again when he played at the “Secret Policeman’s Other Ball” charity gigs in aid of Amnesty International alongside Jeff Beck, Sting and Phil Collins to name a few. An 8-date Scandinavian tour in October and one gig for West Bromwich Albion’s football player John Wile’s testimonial in November is all that EC performed live before heading to Japan in late November for a short tour which would consist of 8 dates and last until December 9th.
Tulsa Time and Lay Down Sally make the crowd happy without trouble but it has to be Wonderful Tonight the first highlight of the night: it is as faithful to the original as possible and EC’s playing is as soft, slow and romantic as it gets. After Midnight is exciting and sees a couple of powerful solos by EC but to me it just falls short when compared to Sheriff which features a brilliant, lengthy solo on a wah–wah pedal.
At this point EC introduces Gary Brooker for a beautiful rendition of A Whiter Shade Of Pale. No introduction for Albert Lee and his Country Boy but EC acknowledges both Gary and Albert at the end of this song which, no offense intended, is far away from being my cup of tea. By the way, Country Boy is also the name of Albert Lee’s biography, published in May 2008, for which EC wrote the foreword.
With EC back in the spotlight we are treated to a rare rendition of Another Ticket, in my opinion, one of EC’s most overlooked songs. This song had not been played the night before so it was unavailable in silver media and it alone is worth the price of this release. If this song does not make you melt, I’m afraid you can’t have a pulse. No guitar pyrotechnics on Another Ticket because they all are saved for an outstanding version of Blues Power which sees our man play a stunning, outrageous solo for 4+ minutes!! Then it’s time for a bit of blues with Muddy Waters’ Blow Wind Blow performed in a fast tempo and for the usual slide guitars showcase of Motherless Children.
The blues centerpiece of the night is the Ramblin’ On My Mind / Have You Ever Loved A Woman medley that sees Albert Lee and Chris Stainton briefly take their share of the spotlight before EC manifests his prodigious technique with some inspired and prominent playing. Cocaine sounds pretty much like the version on the Just One Night album with a very similar arrangement. EC’s solo is quite an extended one and I slightly prefer it over Albert Lee’s who nevertheless does a great job in his turn. Layla features an extended intro and a couple of minutes of fabulous soloing by EC that leaves you asking you for more.
The band return on stage after a couple of minutes of cheering from the crowd which have all been preserved on the tape. All band members are introduced before they embark on the final number of the night: the stage favourite Further On Up The Road, a song that EC incorporated to his setlist in the mid seventies and would keep until the late eighties. EC says “Domo arigato! Sayonara!” and with this the show is gone.
Tricone did a stunning job bringing to life this fantastic document of a previously uncirculated tape. Long at 95 minutes and with no cuts, the show is complete. The artwork is more than correct featuring pictures from the era. All this and the fact that this Japan Tour of 1981 is a poorly documented one, make “Let Me In” an essential release to own. I can only hope Tricone has got more like this in store for us!