Groaning The Blues (Tres Hombres Recordings EC 94004/5)
San Jose Event Arena, San Jose, CA – November 4th, 1994
Disc one: 74:06 Jimmie Vaughn and the Tilt -A-Whirl Band set: Intro, Hey Yeah, Just Like Putty, Just Some Old Song, Six Strings Down, “Some Other Song” (An as of yet unreleased song) Boom Babba Boom. Eric Clapton set: Motherless Child, Malted Milk, How Long Blues, Kid Man Blues, Country Jail blues, Forty Four, Blues All Day Long, Standin Round Cryin, (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man, It Hurts Me Too
Disc two: 74:24. Blues Before Sunrise, Third Degree, So Long, Sinners Prayer, I Cant Judge Nobody, Someday After A While (You’ll Be Sorry), I’m Tore Down, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Cross Cut Saw, Five Long Years, Crossroads, Groanin The blues, ‘Taint Nobody’s Business If I Do, Sweet Home Chicago
This is a very unique audience recording release documenting one of Eric Claptons best tours as a solo artist. It captures an entire evening straight through, including the opening act Jimmie Vaughn. Clapton deserves respect for having an opening act that can hang with him lick for lick on guitar. It’s a celebration of the blues and guitars. He could not have asked for a better opening band than Vaughn and the Tilt A Whirl Band. Vaughn’s set consists of only material from his first great solo record Strange Pleasure. No T-Birds or Stevie Ray tunes, but does throw in a song that has yet to be released. Vaughn opening instrumental, Strange Pleasure, is cut short on the recording and then it goes straight into Hey Yeah. There is a wobbling in Boom Babba Boom at 2:39. But Vaughns set get the audience up and he smokes with blistering solos throughout Boom Babba Boom.
There is a break until the Clapton set comes on, like a seperation on an old LP. Clapton starts off with six acoustic numbers, the whole tour started with Motherless Child, played on Dobros. After the song, Clapton talks to the audience, but it’s barely audible. There were no originals played on the whole tour, just paying tribute to his heroes and influences. Soem songs are Clapton classics like Have You Ever Loved A Woman for example. It’s not [layed the Dominos way, instead he’s backed up by a horn section, but still sprays solos all over. A great change really. Crossroads is played much differently than those use to Cream’s version. It’s a bit more of a Clapton homage to Robert Johnson with a large band behind him.
The encore is Sweet Home Chicago, with Jimmie Vaughn and his whole band on stage and it’s a 12 minute jam with everyone getting in their chops. This is an audience recording and while it’s very good and balanced, it is distant. During the acoustic set, people can clearly be heard talking at what sounds like a normal tone of voice, clapping and yelling. The acoustic set music is at times hard to hear. It is very listenable however. There is a wobble at 1:15 into Third Degree, but other than that there are no other cuts or fade outs. The arenas natural acoustics actually help in this recording though. It adds a bit of natural echo that helps balance it out and bring the music forward and keep it in stereo. Overall though, this is a great document because of the Jimmie Vaughn set being included, a superb attention to detail. Not the best available from Claptons Nothin But The blues Tour, but worthy for any fan to have.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)