Eric Clapton – The Hottest Night In Brussels Town (Mid Valley MVR 139/140)

The Hottest Night in Brussels Town (Mid Valley MVR 139/140)
Forest National, Brussels, Belgium – 13 June 1977

Disc 1:  Hello Old Friend – Sign Language – Alberta – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Tell the Truth – Can’t Find My Way Home – Key to the Highway

Disc 2:  Stormy Monday – I Shot the Sheriff – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out – Layla / Dream – Further On Up The Road.

The back cover has some inner notes which pretty well summarize the show. They just read as follows:

“One one of the hottest days in June, Eric and his band played one of the best gigs of his life. Sporting a moustache and a white smock, looking a little like a sixties hippy, Eric played some spectacular solos. In fact, during one particularly amazing solo in ‘Key To The Highway’, an American fan can be heard near the taper screaming ‘I can’t take it anymore’. Yes, it was that kind of evening. Superlative solo after superlative solo. Just listen to ‘Stormy Monday’ or ‘I Shot The Sheriff’. Definitive!

“Eric and the band were clearly enjoying themselves, and after constant shouts of ‘Bell Bottom Blues’ from the audience, Eric would introduce almost every song as “Bell Bottom Blues” without actually playing it!

“Despite the Forest National being a concrete monstrosity, Eric always played amazingly here over the years. Treat your ears to a wonderful slab of history and put the discs on!! “

The Hottest Night In Brussels Town is an excellent audience recording for the era and captures an excellent performance too. “Tell The Truth,” “Stormy Monday,” “Sheriff,” “Layla”… they all are real standouts. This show proves EC was in great form just a few days before he would enter the studios to record the Slowhand album.

People in the audience can be heard raising requests to EC after each song…. Just after “Can’t Find My Way Home” a couple of guys are heard asking EC to play “Key To The Highway” and “Bell Bottom Blues”….. EC then introduced “Key To The Highway” as “Bell Bottom Blues.” At that point EC made happy one of the guys…. by the time the first chords sounded EC would make happy the other one, I guess!!

Two snags about this show are that it is slightly short at 12 songs / 90 minutes and also, “Key To The Highway” is cut at its seventh minute, thus making the show musically incomplete.

An ultra-rare special limited package in a nice plastic Bag with a cover insert exists, which comes with T-shirt and a rare mini-LP cover with the Belgium-only cover of the Rainbow Concert. A superb release from the Mid Valley folks that you simply can’t miss!!

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