Stardust (Eelgrass EGL-20221/22)
Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan – November 26th, 2006
Disc 1: Tell The Truth, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Old Love, Motherless Children, When You Got A Good Friend, Key To The Highway, Outside Woman Blues, Nobody Knows You You When You’re Down And Out, Running On Faith
Disc 2: After Midnight, Little Queen Of Spades, Anyday, Wonderful Tonight, Layla, Cocaine, Crossroads
Stardust on Mid Valley was released two weeks before Christmas. Its release was astounding because it promised a pristine soundboard recording from Eric Clapton’s Sapporo show in Japan. It was astounding also for the inflated price tag making it outside the reach of the general collector. Eelgrass, who usually release copies of Led Zeppelin titles on Empress Valley, for the first time offer an Eric Clapton from Empress Valley’s Clapton label Mid Valley. Like their previous releases this is an excellent copy of the original on pressed silver discs. It is packaged in a fatboy jewel case with very good looking artwork featuring several photographs from the tour on the artwork. And since it is half the price of the Mid Valley, it is priced within the means of the general collector and not only for the elite.
Clapton played nineteen shows in Japan and this is the only one in the Hokkaido Prefecture. In this setlist “Driftin’ Blues” was replaced by “When You Got A Good Friend” and “Five Long Years” was dropped altogether making this one of the shorter shows. The show begins with two Derek And The Dominoes standards “Tell The Truth” and “Got To Get Better In A Little While.” An eleven minute “Old Love” is followed by “Motherless Children.” The “sit down set,” where Clapton employs an acoustic guitar, follows with “When You Got A Good Friend” (Clapton solo), “Key To The Highway,” “Outside Woman Blues,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out,” and “Running On Faith.”
On the second disc the band come back with an full frontal electric set with the energetic “After Midnight.” This segues into the improvisational centerpiece of the set “Little Queen Of Spades.” Lasting a full eighteen minutes, everyone and their brother takes a solo, but it is all held together by Clapton pulling out genius blues riffs. The set closer “Cocaine” is likewise stretched out, this time to twelve minutes of more expository genius from Clapton, Derek Trucks and Chris Stainton on the keyboards. The final number of the night is the encore “Crossroads.” A very good to excellent audience recording of this show exists and was released on The Road To Sapporo on the ARMS label, but this soundboard recording is on a whole other level. It has perfect balance and the dynamics that beat an official release. Eelgrass did a great job in making this wonderful sounding recording accesible to all who want this.