Goes On A Pilgrimage (Tarantura TCDEC-79-1, 2)
Binyanei Ha’Ooma, Yerushalayim, Israel – October 27th, 1979
Disc 1 (43:52): Monitor Check, If I Don’t Be There By Morning, Worried Life Blues, Tulsa Time, Early In The Morning, Lay Down Sally, Wonderful Tonight, Country Boy, Double Trouble
Disc 2 (44:12): Blues Power (fade in), Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, After Midnight, Tipitina, Setting Me Up, All Our Past Time, Cocaine, Layla
Eric Clapton debuted his new English band with two low-key gigs in England in early September 1979 before continuing on a European tour. This first European tour with the new band ended with his first shows in Israel. He played five gigs in Tel Aviv and the final night, October 27th, was at the Binyanei Ha’Ooma in Jerusalem.
Tarantura use an excellent sounding, virtually complete audience tape. It has never before been pressed onto silver disc, but has circulated on the fan produced CDR title The Lost Israel Tapes and labeled October 29th. Tarantura has incredible sound with a fantastic audience and the correct date.
The early autumn 1979 shows are the first with Clapton’s new Just One Night band. And even after being on the road for a month they still sound tight but careful to not make major mistakes. The music is close to being perfect but improvisations are kept to a minimum. The real showman in the group is Albert Lee, the only returnee from the previous band and the spiritual successor to George Terry. Even though he’s English, he inject Americanisms into the music very well capped off with his frolic romp “Country Boy” and “Setting Me Up.”
The tape starts off with a minute long monitor check followed by the stomping rhythms of “If I Don’t Be There By Morning.” The following tune “Worried Life Blues” slows the pace down but features excellent slide guitar and Chris Stainton’s honky tonk piano.
It was rare for western pop stars to play in the middle east in the seventies and the Israeli audience are quiet and respectful but show a tremendous s amount of enthusiasm in their response. They sing along with Clapton too, especially with “Lay Down Sally,” “Wonderful Tonight” and a haunting “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”
In the latter half of the show they play “Tipitina,” the Professor Longhair New Orleans inspired tune. A true rarity, he played it only a few times on this tour. Other tapes that have recordings of this song are Blue Sky (Beano-016) with the October 6th show in Vienna and British Pride (Tricone 015/016) with the November 23rd show in Ibarai, Japan.
After “Setting Me Up” they follow with “All Our Past Times.” There is a short delay before “Cocaine” while they sort out the equipment. “Sorry about the delay. It’s usually much worse than this” Clapton jokes. A shortened version of “Layla” lacking the piano coda is the only encore.
Goes On A Pilgrimage is an excellent release. It’s about time this tape has been pressed onto silver. Tarantura excel with the artwork. The cover features the up close and personal photo of Clapton and Patti Boyd. The gatefold sleeve opens to reveal several more photos of Clapton with Patti (one is really cute with her doting on Clapton in the dressing room), with Ron Wood and others. The track listing is printed in Hebrew inspired font and the legend “Eric Clapton Israel Tour” is transliterated into Hebrew characters. The creativity and attention to detail makes this a classic Clapton release worth having.