Next Stop Royal Albert Hall (Beano-032)
Next Stop Royal Albert Hall picks up where Wonderful Return leaves off by offering the second two of the four Hammersmith Odeon shows in 1983. Like the first set, these two shows come from unreleased audience recordings originating from the same taper as the first two.
The sound quality is very similar too. They are somewhat distant from the stage and slightly distorted but are clear enough to be enjoyed and provided a wonderful aural snapshot of the performances.
Not only are these new tapes being circulated for the first time, but this is the first time these shows have been available on silver disc before as well. They help illumine not only the Money And Cigarettes tour but also Clapton’s relationship with London as well.
The title has two possible meanings. His next London shows in 1983 would be at the Royal Albert Hall for the ARMS and Prince’s Trust concerts in September, and the title could refer to those. But also someone suggested that these four shows serve as a precursor to his extended engagements at the Royal Albert Hall beginning in 1987.
The set list is the same as the first two nights except for a slight variation in the long blues medley in the second half of the show. There are slight differences in performance, as to be expected, with the final night being a stand out gig and one of the best ones from this entire tour.
Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – May 18th, 1983
Disc 1 (55:13): Tulsa Time, I Shot The Sheriff, Worried Life Blues, Lay Down Sally, Let It Rain, Double Trouble, Sweet Little Lisa, Key To The Highway, After Midnight
Disc 2 (54:16): The Shape You’re In, Wonderful Tonight, Blues Power, Who’s Loving You Tonight / Have You Ever Loved A Woman / Rambling On My Mind, Cocaine, Layla, Further On Up The Road
The tape for the May 18th show is perhaps the clearest of the four. It is very detailed and captures all of the dynamics of the performance nicely. There is a small cut three minutes in “Tulsa Time” and after some songs such as “Sweet Little Lisa,” but is otherwise complete.
Clapton brings an air of anger to the show this evening. Not an unchanneled hositlity, but his playing is brimming with much passion and excstacy throughout the performance. This becomes very clear in the schizophrenic roller coaster ride of “Double Trouble” where he contrasts the fury with moments of soft sublimity.
It is true also with one of the better versions of “After Midnight” on tape. “Blues Power” has a very quick, barely noticable refernce to “Badge” in the introduction.
The long blues medley begins not with “Honey Bee” as in the first two Hammersmith Odeon shows but with “Who’s Loving You Tonight” (aka “That’s Alright”) as it did back in the early days of the Money & Cigarettes tour. The double whammy of “Cocaine” and a very tight “Layla” close the show with “Further On Up The Road” as the only encore.
Hammersmith Odeon, London, England – May 19th, 1983
Disc 3 (53:58): Tulsa Time, I Shot The Sheriff, Worried Life Blues, Lay Down Sally, Let It Rain, Double Trouble, Sweet Little Lisa, Key To The Highway, After Midnight
Disc 4 (55:03): The Shape You’re In, Wonderful Tonight, Blues Power, Rambling On My Mind / Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Cocaine, Layla, Further On Up The Road
The final of the four nights at the Hammersmith Odeon is perhaps the best. Beano use another very good sounding recording. It is just a bit distant from the stage but captures the dynamics of the performance very well. There are several cuts between songs and the one after “Wonderful Tonight” eliminates the opening notes of “Blues Power.”
After the opening song “Tulsa Time” Clapton stops the show to say, “I don’t usually do this sort of thing but I’d like to introduce someone tonight. A very good friend of mine. He’s an egomaniac and wants his name mentioned. So Arthur English please make yourself known” introducing the actor.
The play an epic “I Shot The Sheriff” with a breathtaking solo in the middle with a satisfying resolution in the final verse. “Long Tall Sally” is dedicated to Elton John (“Reg”) who was also in the audience and the short Bob Dylan reference is audience in the end (“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”).
Both Clapton and Lee experiment with strange sounds on the guitar during the long middle to “Double Trouble.” “The Shape You’re In” even though it’s a new song sounds like he’s played it all his life. It is firmly planted in the blues idiom but he gives the same vocal deliver for this as he would for “Badge” or “White Room.” It is a rough and confident delivery and the audience eats it up.
The long medley in the this show forgoes any opening and starts with “Rambling On My Mind” leading in to “Have You Ever Loved A Woman.” Depite dropping the third song (“Honey Bee” and “Who’s Love You Tonight”) this ie as long as the others given the intenst improvisation in the middle. Although only two songs are listed, there are several quotes from other well known blues pieces.
“Layla” is played wih a passion in keeping with the intensity of the entire performance. Overall this is another strong set from Beano and a worthy sequel to Wonderful Return To Hammersmith Odeon(Beano-031). It is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with photographs from the era.