The Core (Beano-010)
PNC, Vancouver, BC, Canada – Feburary 1st, 1978
Disc 1 (75:40): Peaches & Diesel, Wonderful Tonight, Lay Down Sally, Next Time You See Her, The Core, We’re All The Way, Rodeo Man, Fool’s Paradise, Mean Old Frisco, Cocaine, Badge, Double Trouble, Better Make It Through The Today
Disc 2 (54:59): Let It Rain, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Nobody Knows You, Key To The Highway, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Layla, Further On Up The Road
Eric Clapton’s Slowhand LP split critics when it was released in November 1977 and continues to do so. Many see this as the beginning of his ten-year slide after the big 1974 comeback 461 Ocean Boulevard. They will argue that this is soft adult-rock, which is boring, and especially the cover of “Cocaine” to be overrated. On the other hand others will argue this to be a return to form by Clapton after two LPs, There’s One In Every Crowd and No Reason To Cry, that were more experimental.
Clapton’s tour in support of Slowhand began in Japan at the album’s release, continued in North America beginning with this concert in Vancouver and continued through Europe and the UK the rest of the year.
This new release on the Beano label uses a previously undocumented, amazing stereo audience recording. It sounds better than a soundboard it’s so good. There are some unfortunate spots where tape deterioration lowers the quality to a very good mono like at the very beginning of “Lay Down Sally” and the beginning of “Layla”. They don’t last too long and are not enough to detract from the overall enjoyment of the show.
As expected the weight of the set list falls upon the new LP with great versions of “Wonderful Tonight” and “Mean Old Frisco”. “The Core” features a great duet with vocalist Marcy Levy and an extended jam that is fantastic. Before “We’re All The Way” Clapton explains “I’d like to do a couple of songs that are a personal tribute to a friend of mine, who has given me direction the past couple of years, Don Williams”.
Clapton plays his version of Arthur Louis’ reggae cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” which is ironic since Bob Dylan was playing Arthur Louis’ reggae cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” at pretty much the same time.
The set is all very slick and professional with “Layla”, in an extraordinary performance, being the only real time in the set where Clapton plays with unbridled passion and intensity. The Core features several pictures from the era and is limited to only 300 copies worldwide.
Beano has been in production for about a year and a half and have drawn rave reviews from Clapton collectors for their finding and issuing amazing quality releases. Whatever your view might be on this period The Core is definitely worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)