Prismatic Blues (Tarantura TCDEC-38-1,2)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – October 7th, 1977
Disc 1 (47:56): Opening, The Core, I Shot The Sheriff, Double Trouble, Badge, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, Mama Told Me
Disc 2 (61:28): We’re All The Way, Sign Language, Alberta, Cocaine, Bottle Of Red Wine, Stormy Monday, Layla, announcements, Tell The Truth
Bonus disc, supporting act (19:00): unknown tune 1, unknown tune 2, introduction, unknown tune 3
The nine date tour of Japan in late 1977 is Eric Clapton’s third in four years. The show at Budokan on October 7th is the final date and has been released previously on a very good soundboard recording that can be found on the erroneously titled Budokan First Appearance (Scorpio 430-1/2) and its copy Budokan First Appearance (VS – 430-1/2). That tape is incomplete with a cut in the middle of “Nobody Knows You,” and missing completely both “We’re All The Way” and the encore “Tell The Truth.”
Prismatic Blues debuts a never before circulated complete audience recording courtesy of the source known as Song Brothers, tapers responsible for many great sounding recordings in Japan in the mid to late seventies which Tarantura have been releasing over the past two years. This recording is very close to the stage, clear and detailed and sounds more lively than the dry soundboard.
Ostensibly this tour was in support of No Reason To Cry, but falls between the recording of Slowhand in May and its release in November just a month after this particular show. Two songs from the 76 album are played and three new as yet unreleased songs, “Cocaine,” “The Core” and “We’re All The Way” “Cocaine” from Slowhand are included. The setlist for Japan changed slightly. Whereas earlier in the year they would start with “Sign Language” and “Alberta” these shows start with the newly written nine minute groove “The Core.”
Although in the final two shows of the year in Hawaii right after Japan he would revert back to the old setlist suggesting that Japan was a test run for the new material. It is a shame this song wouldn’t survive the seventies because the grinding rhythm is one of the most effective of Clapton’s show openers. Both he and Levy share vocals throughout the song. “I Shot The Sheriff” moved to the second slot early in the tour and features the first blistering, heavy riffage of the evening. Both Clapton and Terry take turns, stretching the song out to ten minutes.
The story is the same for “Badge” and Levy has great fun belting out the chorus by the song’s end. She is given a two song mini set singing “Nobody Knows You” (which she dedicates to all the people from Nashville, Tennessee) and “Mama Told Me.”
She shares vocals on the new, mellow ballad “We’re All The Way.” The two No Reason To Cry tracks, “Sign Language” and “Alberta” follow in quick succession followed by the last new song of the set, a cover of JJ Cale’s “Cocaine.” There is a rare harmonica included in the instrumentation, probably played by the percussion player Sergio Rodriguez.
The final forty minutes of the show is occupied with material from Eric Clapton and Derek & The Dominoes Layla LP. “Stormy Monday,” which was a staple for the Dominoes live set, is a slow, massive fifteen minute dirge encompassing many blues styles and textures (perhaps why this set is called Prismatic Blues). “Layla,” even lacking the second section, is almost ten minutes long of urgent passion. There is a two minute interval before the encore, a nine minute Derek standard “Tell The Truth.”
A 2″ bonus mini disc is included with nineteen minutes of the opening act taped by the same taper. Nobody seems to know who they are or what the names of their songs are. It is clear they are a local Japanese act playing very smooth jazz-fusion instrumentals which are actually very enjoyable. It’s a nice touch for Tarantura to include this fragment even if no information is available.
Prismatic Blues is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve with various photos from the Slowhand tour. Tarantura have been finding and releasing these excellent quality rare Eric Clapton tapes for over a year now and are building an impressive catalogue with these tapes alone. This is an essential title for the sound quality and the more complete performance.