Eric Clapton – Wonderful Farewell (Tricone 049-050)
Koseinenkin Kaikan, Tokyo, Japan – December 9, 1981
Disc1 (40:31). Opening – Tulsa Time – Lay Down Sally – Wonderful Tonight – After Midnight – I Shot The Sheriff – A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Country Boy.
Disc2 (73:35). Another Ticket – Blues Power – Blow Wind Blow – Motherless Children – Ramblin’ On My Mind / Have You Ever Loved A Woman – Cocaine – Layla – Band introduction – Sad Sad Day – Further On Up The Road.
Eric Clapton – guitar & vocals
Henry Spinetti – drums
Dave Markee – bass
Albert Lee – guitar & vocals
Gary Brooker – keyboards & vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
One year after “Final Show“, Tricone releases “Wonderful Farewell” which is a new tape covering the same show: the final gig of the Japan Tour of 1981.
The tape begins soon with the opening announcements that are missing on “Final Show“. Then you’ll notice the band enter the stage receiving a great ovation from the audience.
The first highlight of the night is the beautiful Wonderful Tonight with some lead guitar that’s got to melt your heart. The cover of JJ Cale’s After Midnight is remarkable too with a couple of smoking guitar solos.
Sheriff is a show stealer with a magnificent two-and-a-half-minute solo on wah-wah. It is a shame that no film footage of this exists – it would be just wonderful to watch EC playing these extended solos those days…Then it’s time for Gary Brooker and Albert Lee’s solo numbers: A Whiter Shade Of Pale has to get my vote because I’ve always found the bluegrass feel of Country Boy hard to cope with.
The epic version of Blues Power is sandwiched between the two only numbers of the night from the “Another Ticket” album. The title track is an all-time favourite of mine. Flooded by a fantastic keyboard work, it adds a kind of ethereal feel to it. As far as I’m concerned, this remains as the last time Clapton ever performed this song. The cover of Muddy Water’s Blow Wind Blow is well received by the audience and its arrangement reminds me a lot of Bo Diddley’s Before You Accuse Me, with guitar and keyboards having their respective turns.
Motherless Children features a brilliant slide work before EC heads to the blues centerpiece of the night: an outstanding 11-minute medley consisting of Ramblin’ On My Mind and Have You Ever Loved a Woman with Albert Lee having his fair share of the spotlight too!! Something’s happening with the drums now and EC apologizes to the audience.
The intro to Cocaine is quite unusual. With the audience clapping along EC starts playing the riff very subtetly and is then joined by drums and keyboards. The song is played at a slow pace and two and a half minutes into the song something happens onstage because the audience just gets wild!! After the solo Gary Brooker says “A big round applause for Eric!” If someone has some hint about what’s going on at this point, please share it!
A codaless Layla closes the show. The solo is quite incendiary but EC marres it somehow with a couple of mistakes. The band is introduced at the sounds of Further On Up The Road and just when EC is about to sing the first verse they suddenly stop for a very fitting two minute free version of Muddy Waters’ Sad Sad Day before they go back to Further On Up The Road again. Gary Brooker and Chris Stainton on the keyboards and Albert Lee and EC himself all take their turns on the song which, halfway through it, turns into Bright Lights Big City. The last two minutes on the tape allow you to hear some post-show announcements and music over the PA.
“Wonderful Farewell” is not EC’s best performance of the Tour but it is a noticeable upgrade to “Final Show“, the only silver release of this night that used to exist. In my opinion, it is worth the fare.