Lord Have Mercy (Tricone-007/008)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – November 2nd, 1975
Disc 1: Introduction, Layla, I Shot The Sheriff, Little Rachel, Can’t Find My Way Home, Blues Power, Stormy Monday, Teach Me To Be Your Woman
Disc 2: Little Wing, Badge, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Further On Up The Road
Eric Clapton’s final show in Japan in 1975 was released previously as 1975 Japan Tour Final on Masterport. That release used a high generation tape and had some distortion in the lower frequencies. Lord Have Mercy utilizes (according to the label) the master tape. The instruments are very well balanced and there is the minimum of distortion present on the tape. It still remains a fairly mediocre tape. It’s not great nor even very good, but not bad either. I rated it just above average because once the ears adjust it can be enjoyed. There is a lot of emphasis upon lengthy jams and all of the songs are long with extended instrumental passages. Both “Layla” and “I Shot The Sheriff” give a rousing start to the show and there is no break until the peaceful “Can’t Find My Way Home”. “Blues Power” and “Stormy Monday” are segued together and form one of the strongest parts of the show with Clapton’s shouts of “Lord have mercy!” in the latter, giving inspiration to the label for the title.
There is particularly good use of the organ giving a very gospel feel to the song. Marcy Levy dedicates “Teach Me To Be Your Woman” to Tokyo and delivers a great version of the piece. There is a cut in the tape about sixteen seconds in missing a minute of music. But the real fun of the evening begins in the latter half with a long fourteen-minute version of “Little Wing”. The band really take their time with the verses and it sounds like Clapton gets lost in his own little world in the middle and the rest of the band have to bring him back! The coda of “Badge” is dropped (“love is my badge…”) and segues directly into a ten minute drum solo that serves as a prelude to “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad”. “Further On Up The Road” serves as the encore. Given the mediocrity of the tape this might be a tough listen for most people but Clapton collectors will appreciate this.