God’s Favorite (Tarantura TCDEC 17 – 1, 2)
Parken, Copenhagen, Denmark – April 17th, 2004
Disc 1: Opening, Let It Rain, Hoochie Coochie Man, Walk Out In The Rain, Bell Bottom Blues, I Shot The Sheriff, Milkcow’s Calf Blues, When You Got A Good Friend, They’re Red Hot, Kind Hearted Woman Blues, Got To Get Better In A Little While
Disc 2: Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Badge, Wonderful Tonight, Layla, Cocaine, Sunshine Of Your Love, Got My Mojo Working
God’s Favorite from Tarantura features the last show before a brief break during Clapton’s European tour where he would have almost a week off before some shows in Ireland, Scotland, and England. Tarantura claim on the front cover “This is amazing recording and the best show from 2004. It is Eric’s favourite performance!” While it is certainly debatable on whether or not it is Clapton’s favorite performance, it does feature one hell of an audience source. The recording is very clear with a nice dynamic sound and has a good solid low end. The crisp drum sound and clear bass give it an almost soundboard quality. The recording sounds a bit compressed, similar to what you would hear in a radio broadcast, but may be a characteristic of the recording gear and not from the mastering. That said this is a very minor issue considering the clarity of the recording.
Clapton had released Me And Mr. Johnson in March 2004 and for the first time since late 1991 Andy Fairweather-Low wasn’t on the tour. Doyle Bramhall II has filled Andy’s place in the live show although both do appear on the Robert Johnson tribute album. Clapton always surrounds himself with top notch players resulting in incredible consistency in his performances and this show is no exception. Doyle has a very unique style of playing. He’s a lefty playing a right handed guitar so the strings are upside down and he brings in a fresh new element to Eric’s sound. Nathan East and Steve Gadd make up the rhythm section with both Chris Stainton and Billy Preston on keys and Michelle John and Sharon White on backing vocals.
The opening of the show has an interesting mix of Eric’s past material before settling into a chunk of songs from the new album. The Robert Johnson tracks are no doubt the highlight of Clapton’s evening and the rest of the players seem to be enjoying themselves as well. “Got to Get Better In A Little While” is a pleasant surprise for this tour while “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” is another example of some great improv soloing from Eric, Doyle, Billy, and Chris. The compression issue seems to affect “Layla” more than the rest of the recording maybe due to the heavy energy of the performers. EC announces Robert Randolph during the outro of “Sunshine Of Your Love” and he joins Eric in the solos. The band immediately launch into “Got My Mojo Working” for another jam with Robert.
There are two separate recordings from this show and I can’t imagine the other being any better than this. This latest offering from Tarantura is a very nice title to own and comes packaged in the gatefold paper sleeve common to recent Tarantura releases.