Legend (Tarantura TDVDEC-2)
North Sea Jazz Festival, Statenhal, Den Haag, Netherlands – July 11th, 1997
Disc1. Full House – Marcus #1 – Ruthie – Snakes – Going Down Slow – The Peeper – In Case You Hadn’t Noticed – Third Degree – First Song / Tango Blues – Put It Where You Want It – Jelly Roll – In A Sentimental Mood / Layla.
Eric Clapton (guitar & vocals)
Steve Gadd (drums)
Marcus Miller (bass)
Joe Sample (keyboards)
Tarantura’s latest Eric Clapton DVD is a double containing a small collection of rare material. The first disc is Legend with the complete set from the North Sea Jazz Festival.
1997 saw the 22nd edition of the North Sea Jazz Festival (July 11-13) which was visited by a total of 70,000 music lovers from all over the world. It was a huge success and tickets for the first night were sold out more than one month before!! Prices ranged from $49 a day or $130 for all three days.
The program of the North Sea Jazz Festival 1997 featured numerous highlights, including Ray Charles, Robert Cray, Jimmy Vaughan, Steve Winwood to name but a few. Stiil the highlight has got to be Legends, the band put together by Marcus Miller that consisted of Joe Sample, Steve Gadd, David Sanborn, EC and Marcus Miller himself.
They played a total of 11 dates at major European Jazz Festivals but it was obvious that EC was the guy the crowd came to see. No doubt some songs in the setlist had been tailored for him (i.e. Third Degree, Layla) but still this is a fantastic oportunity to see EC out of his element.
The show kicks off with a vivid version of David Sanborn’s Full House, a perfect vehicle for everyone to warm up. David Sanborn’s saxophone is heavily featured on Marcus#1 but I have to find EC’s supportive rhythm guitar and Joe Sample’s work on the keyboards simply beautiful.
Ruthie is an instrumental ballad that EC wrote for his eldest daughter. EC’s outro albeit good, is not the best of the tour. David Sanborn’s Snakes turns into a fantastic jam session where Marcus Miller shines above everybode else. At this point EC changes to acoustic mode and sits down to play the blues classic Goin’ Down Slow with a great Joe Sample on keyboards. This would remain in EC’s setlist on his next solo tours and also appear on Clapton’s “Pilgrim” album (1998).
The Pepper sees one of the finest moments of the night with great leads by Sanborn and Sample. EC who is back on electric guitar shows where he comes from and plays his heart out on a very bluesy solo. Then he changes to acoustic guitar again for the delicate In Case You Hadn’t Noticed (aka Suggestions). Great closeups of a very sweaty Marcus Miller and EC on the fretboard.
EC switches to electric mode for Third Degree, which may not quite fit in this jazzy setting but Eric ‘s contribution to the setlist couldn’t have been anything else but a blues number. That’s his territory – you can tell by his authoritative playing. First Song, bassist Charlie Hadenwhich’s lovely ballad is played by Sanborn along with Sample segues into Tango Blues, a show stealer by the grace of EC’s guitar work. Marcus Miller introduces the band one more time before the Crusaders’ Put It Where You Want It. This is without doubt, the highlight of the night. With Joe Sample leading the band, every band member gets his share of the spot, everyone leaves you breathless.
The encore consists of Jerry Roll (aka Shreveport Stomp) – featuring Joe Sample on his own on the piano – then joined by Marcus Miller on bass clarinet for In A Sentimental Mood which segues into an acoustic version of Layla now with all band members. The solo on Layla is taken by David Sanborn on saxophone with nice notes from Marcus Miller on the clarinet.
The disc ends with the speaker saying thank you to every band member and announcing the Robert Cray band will be performing in 15 minutes’ time… It’s a pity this is not included as EC would join them onstage…
“Legends – Live at Montreux” is a bluray disc that was officially released a couple of years ago. It features the complete show from July 4. In very good VHS quality “Legend” won’t surpass that, but it still is a fantastic 100-minute pro-shot document full of this one-off Legends Tour.
Rare Compilation (Tarantura TDVDEC-3)
Disc2. Love Like A Rocket (Boomtown Rats single featuring EC 1987) – BPI Award (December 9th, 1987) – Love Like A Rocket (Saturday Superstore – February 14th, 1987) – Behind The Mask (Pop Of The Tops, 1987) – Free Nelson Mandela Concert at Wembley Staidum – June 11th, 1988: Walk Of Life – Sultans Of Swing – Romeo And Juliet – Money For Nothing – Brothers In Arms – Wonderful Tonight – Solid Rock. Bonus tracks, The Apollo Theater Tribute – June 15th, 1993: Introduction – Rock Me Baby (BB King and EC) – Sweet Little Angel – Let The Good Times Roll. David Sanborn’s Night Music: Opening – Hard Times – Old Love – Before You Accuse Me.
I always found EC’s contribution on Bob Geldof’s Love Like A Rocket outstanding, so watching now the video film is a nice bonus.
Next we get the 1987 BPI Awards Ceremony, hosted by Jonathan King. Lionel Richie congratulates EC from Australia and at one point says “Even though I am on tour on the other side of the world nothing could prevent me from sending my heartfelt congratulations to you, buddy. You know, Eric, let me tell you…. you’re one of my all-time favourite music heroes. Working with you this past year on my [“Dancing On The Ceiling”] album was definitely one of the highlights of my career“. EC gets the Outstanding Contribution to Music Award who is presented to him by his friend Phil Collins.We also get Chris de Burgh’s Lady In Red…. and the only reason for that has to be a quick glimpse of EC and Patty Boyd at the end of the song….
The most funny track has got to be the playback performance on the children’s TV programme Saturday Superstore and see EC wear a yellow tracksuit. A whole world away from what he would look like just three years later when he would wear Armani!! Still EC’s lead guitar adds a new dimention to Bob Geldof’s song. This is a pop song and EC is a blues player, but his versatility is the key to his greatness, and this is a very clear example. The performance is followed by a short interview in which EC mentions Peter Gabriel was one of his favourite artists at that time. Next comes what it probably is EC’s worst performance ever: his appearance on Top Of The Pops to promote his then new single Behind The Mask proves EC is a very bad actor.
The Free Nelson Mandela Concert was held at the Wembley Stadium in London on June 11, 1988. The concert celebrated Mandela’s 70th birthday and helped put more pressure on the South African government to set him free. EC joins Dire Straits on their 55-minute set and contributes with some awesome lead guitar on what it probably has to be the best version of Walk Of Life ever!! After that everything else is in vain: he plays mainly rythym guitar except for a nice rendition of Wonderful Tonight.
Bill Cosby hosts the first “Apollo Hall of Fame” at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, NYC. He introduces BB King and BB King introduces EC. They play a great rendition of Rock Me Baby – a song that they would record officially for their “Riding With The King” album a few years later. After that, BB King introduces Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Jeff Beck who join them onstage for an excellent Sweet Little Angel. All 5 guitar players show their different styles on the guitar, but the vocals are all saved for BB King and Buddy Guy too. Let The Good Times Roll close the show. Jeff Beck plays lead in the first place, then followed by Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and EC. After that the rest of the guests which include Ella Fitzgerald, Ben E. King and Bryan Adams to name but a few join the band for a rousing finale that is faded out.
The last tracks on the disc feature footage from “Night Music with David Sanborn” TV show. Recorded on October 25th, 1989 it wouldn’t be aired until January 15, 1990. This is episode #211 and sees David Sanborn being joined by EC (in a purple suit!!) and Robert Cray. Mr. Cray is not featured on the great cover of Ray Charles’ Hard Times but he makes up for that with an outstanding guitar work on Old Love. EC gave up smoking in 1993 so I wallow in nostalgia when I see EC’s smoking guitar, with that cigarette burning on the headstock! Before You Accuse Me makes this magical evening come to an end.
The sole presence of these last three blues numbers makes this release worth having (but remember you also get EC playing some stunning lead guitar on Bob Geldof’s Love Like A Rocket!!). It’s true that it is a drawback that EC’s guest spot with the Robert Cray Band is not included on the first disc but nevertheless this 2DVD set from Tarantura is a recommended release.