LSU Night (MVR 519/520)
Louisiana State University, Assembly Center Baton Rouge, LA – Nov 11, 1976
Disc1 (59:12). Hello Old Friend – Sign Language – Key To The Highway – I Shot The Sheriff – All Our Past Times – Tell The Truth – Love Me – Blues Power
Disc2 (32:56). One Night – Knocking On Heaven’s Door – Double Trouble – Badge / All I Have To Do Is Dream – Layla
Eric Clapton’s short tour of the US in November 1976 comprised 13 dates between the 5th and 22nd of the month and the set list for the tour featured new songs like Hello Old Friend, Sign Language, All Our Past Times and Double Trouble from his recently released album at the time “No Reason To Cry”. Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, which had been released as a single, would also be performed. “LSU Night” is a very good uncirculated audience tape that captures EC on the 6th night of the tour in Baton Rouge, LA.
Hello Old Friend and Sign Language see EC on acoustic guitar leaving all electric duties to the sweet George Terry. EC’s microphone does not seem to work right when he starts singing the first verse but the technical problem is soon left behind. EC plugs his guitar for an extended rendition of Key To The Highway with additional soloing from George Terry. At this point there’s a two minute break due to a “double trouble with the organ” as stated by Clapton. It takes the band a couple of minutes to resume the show with the safe bet of I Shot The Sheriff which sees EC bend the strings of his guitar to make it scream in a way that does pay my attention.
The wonderful All Our Pastimes comes next. The only solo in the song is shared by George Terry first and then Clapton who plays some lovely fifteen seconds from 02:50 to 03:05. If you ask me why I have to like Clapton’s playing so much I would ask you to listen to those fifteen seconds: the emotion that I find there, I just can’t find it anywhere else. They alone are worth acquiring this release.
Long, extended guitar solos from Clapton and Terry are heavily featured on the rousing rendition of Tell The Truth that heats things up a lot! Featuring Yvone Elliman on vocals next comes the seductive Love Me, a mellow song written by the Bee Gees that Yvonne Elliman had released as a single on her own the previous month. Clapton plays a long lead on Blues Power.
The introduction of Marcy Levy is missing but no music is lost and we get One Night in its entirety. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is well received by the audience and even with EC flubbing a line on the outro, it still is a great rendition. The best part of Double Trouble is the first half where Clapton attacks his guitar. The second half has a more laidback feel with keyboards being more prominent. Badge is a joy to listen to with incendiary guitar solos from both Clapton and Terry. It segues into a one minute version of All I Have To Do Is Dream which closes the show. Layla is kept for the encore and as it is easily predictable, the guitars reign supreme on this one.
The set comes with a Led Zeppelin bonus CD of their performance at the same venue in 1975. Featuring a total of twelve tracks, four are taken from Freezer’s Audience Master tape and the rest are taken from EVSD soundboard master. Strange bonus disc indeed for a Clapton release.
Clapton’s US Tour of 1976 is quite well documented but I still have to thank the taper for attending this show, preserving the tape for posterity and MVR for making it available to collectors after so many years. It just makes me sick to think that this good performance could have been lost forever if not for them. Recommended.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)