Eric Clapton – Super White (Mid Valley MV 330/331)
Forest National, Brussels, Belgium – January 17, 1987
Disc1. Crossroads – White Room – I Shot the Sheriff – Hung Up On Your Love – Wonderful Tonight – Miss You – Same Old Blues
Disc2. Tearing Us Apart – Holy Mother – Badge – Let it Rain – Cocaine – Layla – Money for Nothing – Sunshine of Your Love
EC started 1987 by playing 8 dates in the UK and then 10 more in Holland, Belgium, France, Germany (4) and Italy (3). “Super White” covers EC’s one and only show in Belgium and the second show on the continent after the UK dates. EC is accompanied by Steve Ferrone on drums, Greg Phillinganes on keyboards and Nathan East on bass. Mark Knopfler is featured on second guitar and he would also join EC for one more show, which would take place the following night in Paris (Le Zenith – Blackie 07/08).
Mid Valley treat us to an excellent audience recording for the era (sound fluctuates a bit at the end of “Let It Rain” but that has a minimal impact on the excellent overall impression) and EC’s perfomance is of no lower quality. Taking a look at the setlist it’s easy to see that this show is a greatest hits package, as it happens to all the shows from this Tour due to EC’s laziness and unwillingness to change the setlist. Having performed “Wanna Make Love To You” and “It’s In The Way That You Use It” on the mini tour of 4 shows on the East Coast of the States in November, it is a pity that these songs have been dropped from the setlist by now.
EC plays four songs from the “August” album, which had been released two months before. Motown’s songwriter Lamont Dozier’s “Hung Up On Your Love” sees EC play one of the best solos of the night. EC sings “Miss You” with heartfelt vocals and throws in another excellent guitar solo. (I just wonder why “Wonderful Tonight” is sandwiched between those two new songs, thus seeming entirely out of place). “Tearing Us Apart” is dominated by the keyboards but still features enough guitar work from EC to make it enjoyable. (The example that best illustrates how songs are dominated by keyboards is “Badge”. I wonder why the second solo on that one is played not by Knopfler on the guitar but by Phillinganes on the keyboards instead!!). “Holy Mother” is a beautiful ballad and for me it has got to be the highlight of the “August” album. It is also one of the highlights of this show.
“Same Old Blues” is the perfect vehicle for the band members to express themselves and demonstrate their abilities to improvise. Not my favourite rendition ever, I still prefer the 1985’s arrangement which made the song be more guitar-based. EC plays great solos on “Cocaine” (with the solo on the second part of the song played by Phillinganes again!) and “Layla”, where most of the guitar work on the coda is done by Knopfler but with EC still adding some great licks at the end. The encore consists of nice versions of “Money For Nothing” and “Sunshine Of Your Love”.
“Super White” features a very sober artwork and I would be grateful if someone could shed some light on Mid Valley’s choice for the title.
“Super White” may bring just another 1987 show, but it is an excellent audience recording and sees EC deliver some very good solos. If you are not a completist and/or you are not a keyboards fan and/or already have other shows from this well documented tour, you might want to pass on it.