So Much Guitar (Mid Valley 013/014)
Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland – July 12, 1992
Disc1. White Room – Pretending – Anything For Your Love – I Shot the Sheriff – Running On Faith – She’s Waiting – Tears In Heaven – Before You Accuse Me
Disc2. Old Love – Badge – Wonderful Tonight – Layla – Crossroads – Sunshine of Your Love
Released in June 1998 “So Much Guitar” is one of the first releases by Mid Valley and captures EC’s last show of his short 1992 European Tour. Some of the dates of this tour were double headliners with Elton John but this is not the case. Sound quality is very good audience but Mid Valley would do better jobs in the future.
The show starts with “White Room”, absolutely wild and blistering from the intro till the end. “Pretending” seems to be played in a slightly different tempo and sounds a little bit different to what it used to sound like on the “Journeyman” Tour. “Anything For Your Love” is a song EC performed live in 1992 only and I think this song really works when played live.
A false end after EC’s first guitar solo will make you think the song is over but it is not: EC still has another great solo to throw in. “Sheriff” comes next and as usual, it is one of the highlights of the night with a superbly constructed solo. “Running On Faith” is excellent and a rendition like this one – even featuring a great outro rythym figure by EC and Nathan – is one of the reasons why I like this song so much.
“She’s Waiting” features solid solos from EC, showing both him and his band were in top form that night. “Tears In Heaven” which had become a hit by this time is welcomed by the crowd and is the only song seeing EC in acoustic mode. A 11+ minute version of “Before You Accuse Me” closes disc1.
EC makes his stratocaster scream on “Old Love” before heading to “Badge”, which sees EC take the first solo before Andy Fairweather-Low takes all honours for the second one. “Wonderful Tonight” gets a great ovation from the audience when EC finishes the last verse and just before Katie Kissoon closes out the song demonstrating a beautiful and remarkable vocal range.
You will hear someone near the taper humming the initial riffs to “Layla” but Thank Heavens EC always improvises his solos making it impossible for everyone to hum anything at all at that point ;-) The solo on “Layla” summarizes the whole night: g r e a t. After that, the audience gets wild again while Ray Cooper is beating the hell out a gong during the piano coda.
The encore consists of “Crossroads” which is also used for introducing the band, and a good rendition of “Sunshine” that would have been fantastic without Ray Cooper’s percussion solo. Why audiences were treated to 10 minute soloing by Ray Cooper instead of another song featuring EC, only God knows.
Soundboard, proshot video footage of this show does exist as excerpts of it were shown in a documentary called “Curves, Contours and Body Horns: The Story Of The Fender Stratocaster”, that was first broadcast in England on the ITV Network on Dec. 12, 1994. Whether the full show was filmed and/or recorded or not still is a mystery.
All in all, this is a good and complete recording of show from a short tour so this is definitely worth having in your collection until anything (still) better surfaces.