Eric Clapton – Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen (Tarantura TCDEC-67-1,2)

Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen (Tarantura TCDEC-67-1, 2)
Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore – January 13th, 2007

Disc1. Opening – Tell The Truth – Key To The Highway – Got To Get Better In A Little While – Little Wing – Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad – Driftin’ – Outside Woman Blues – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – Running On Faith.
Motherless Children – Little Queen Of Spades – Further On Up The Road – Wonderful Tonight – Layla – Crossroads.

With 15 shows in 4 weeks, the Eric Clapton Asian Tour of 2007  takes off in Singapore with stops in Thailand, Hong Kong,  Shanghai, Seoul and New Zealand before nine final dates in Australia. Only two dates of this tour – Hong Kong and Shanghai –  have surfaced so far by means of Tarantura’s “Shanghai Grand Stage” and Mid Valley’s “Chinese Takeaway” – so “Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen” is a welcome release.

Featuring three guitar players in the front, some may say it would be more appropiate to say it is a Derek & The Dominos revival rather than an usual Eric Clapton show, and I may agree to some point. In fact, during his Summer Tour of 2008 EC was caught on tape saying he liked doing more guitar work than he used to do on this [2007] tour.

The first part of the show is a whopping great tribute to Derek And The Dominos. It begins with an energetic rendition of Tell The Truth followed by Key To The Highway in which, with a third guitar on stage, there’s no room for the usual keyboard solo from Chris Stainton. Three guitars are too many for Chris Stainton on Key To The Highway and they are too many for me too on Got To Get Better. EC is far from being heavily featured on this, just saving the first half of the song for himself and letting Doyle and Derek shine on the second half. Little Wing is a show stealer and by far the best song in the first half of the show with the perfect combination of energy and feeling. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad keeps the Dominos momentum going. EC, Doyle and Derek take their turns on the first half before the tender outro gives way to the acoustic set.

It’s no secret that Clapton does not interact much with the audience during his live shows… Singapore is no exception but at least you will hear him say “Thank you very much – nice to be back! I took a bit of a break…. like fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years… I don’t know. Seems like a long time….” before he launches into a nice, intimate rendition of Driftin’. Outside Woman Blues and Running On Faith are standouts and make Nobody Knows You sound too dull.

The fast paced Motherless Children features a nice drum intro and sees a very impatient Clapton, wanting to launch into the song before the rest of the band members! Little Queen Of Spades is the blues centerpiece of the night. Clocking at 16+ minutes, Stainton finally finds a place to show his terrific skills on the piano. The song is also a showcase for Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks’ abilities before EC closes the song with a smoking lead. Further On Up The Road shows a great musicianship amongst all band members, including keyboardist Tim Carmon, pretty ostracised during the whole show!

On this tour the arrangement of Wonderful Tonight is very close to the original. It sounds very simple but it sounds fresh too and I just can’t help being touched by it. After that, EC brings the house down with a great solo on Layla. The coda is dominated by Derek Trucks’ slide guitar and I find it almost impossible to listen to EC’s subtle playing there.

Cocaine would be saved for the encore on this tour but it had to be dropped in Singapore due to the Government’s anti-drug laws. Therefore the encore is reduced at one song only: Crossroads. However it is such a rousing version that it makes you forget you haven’t had your dose.

Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen” is a very interesting tape of a performance that is plagued with quite a few highlights. If that’s not enough for you, it might add to the (historical) importance of the show the fact that this is the first one of the Asian Tour of 2007. This is another recommended Tarantura title to own.


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