Eric Clapton – Rodeo Man In Paradise (Slunky 26 AB)


Rodeo Man In Paradise (Slunky 26 AB)
Boutwell Auditorium, Birmingham, AL. – March 2, 1978

Disc1.  Peaches and Diesel – Wonderful Tonight – Lay Down Sally – Next Time You See Her – The Core – We’re All The Way – Rodeo Man – Fool’s Paradise – Cocaine
Disc2.  Badge – Double Trouble – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Goin’ Down Slow – Layla – Bottle of Red Wine

Rodeo Man In Paradise captures EC’s last gig of the first leg of his 1978 US Tour, which started in Vancouver, Canada on February 1st.  It is hard to believe an artist can perform 20 shows in just one month’s time these days. Old times, good times.

No surprises on the setlist: like it used to happen on this tour, the first half of the show is dedicated almost in its entirety to promote the Slowhand album, with 7 out of the first 9 songs played being from that album.  No suprises on my favourite songs either: like it happens with all the recordings that I have from this tour, my favourite song has got to be Next Time You See Her. The guitar intro is played by EC and lasts for just 15 seconds – just 15 beautiful seconds. That guitar playing does affect me in a way I am just not able to express in words.  It has to do with feelings and there’s just no explanation for that, I guess. I know it may not the “best” guitar solo in the History of guitar solos – if such a classification exists – but I love it so much that I plead guilty of having played these 15 seconds one hundred times!! Again, no particular reason for that. The Core and Cocaine are stronger songs and feature much more aggresive guitar solos… (but I keep thinking of those 15 seconds….) Fools Paradise is fun and is introduced as an old Buddy Holly song featuring Marcy Levy on vocals.

The tape shows some serious problems on Badge that really prevent you from enjoying it. Thank Heavens the problems are left behind by the time an outstanding version of Double Trouble begins. It shows how good EC’s rhythm section was. Marcy Levy sings Nobody Knows You and after announcing this is their last concert for a few weeks, dedicates the song to “everybody in the band, all of our crew and all of you”. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is  particularly good featuring some beautiful guitar work from EC and George Terry.

Dicky Simms piano is strongly present on a good, extended rendition of Key To The Highway. Goin’ Down Slow is a highlight but the fact that is it cut is a real blow. The cut takes place at the end of the song and it’s true that we still have 10+ minutes to enjoy, but it still is a pity that some music is lost forever….

Layla sees EC play and jam with George in a great but shorther-than-usual guitar tour-de-force. Bottle Of Red Wine is saved for the encore and an ironic EC  introduces it this way: “We’d like to dedicate this last song of the evening to the roadcrew who, despite being totally unintelligent, stupid and crude, have burnt every ounce of energy they had into make this one of the worst tour we’ve ever had in our lives possible.  Thank you.”

Not the best audience sound ever, but still very listenable except for Badge. Also the fact that it is the only source available of this gig, makes it a good addition to your Clapton collection.

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