Eric Clapton – Ride On The Breeze (Tarantura TCDEC-77-1, 2)

Ride On The Breeze (Tarantura TCDEC-77-1, 2)

Rainbow Hall, Nagoya, Japan – October 14th, 1993

Disc 1 (60:00):  Start, Malted Milk, Terraplane Blues, How Long, 32-20, Kidman Blues, County Jail Blues, Forty Four, Leave Me Alone, Tell Me Mama, White Room, Badge, Wonderful Tonight, Stone Free

Disc 2 (51:51):  Circus Left Town, Tears In Heaven, Crossroads, Tearing Us Apart, Groaning The Blues, Cocaine, Ain’t Nobody’s Business, Layla

Eric Clapton’s tour schedule was quite light in 1993.  He played twelve shows in the Royal Albert Hall in February and, after a few scattered charity shows, fourteen in Japan in October.  The third night in Japan was on October 14th in the Rainbow Hall in Nagoya. 

A previous release of this show can be found on Rainbow Night (Slowhand Music ECRN0141/2) using a very good audience tape. 

Ride On The Breeze on Tarantura utilizes a brand new, excellent sounding, previously unknown audience recording.  A product of Mabo Records, it’s the same taper who recorded the Nagoya show on December 10th, 1990, the Nagoya show on November 22nd, 2003  and the Eric Clapton / Steve Winwood show in Sapporo on November 17th, 2011.

The tape begins right when Clapton walks on stage and simply says “the blues.”  The set is a mix of the blues covers he would later record for From The Cradle and older solo and Cream classics along with the “Unplugged” set thrown in for good measure. 

He starts off along playing the Robert Johnson tunes “Malted Milk” and “Terraplane Blues,” one of the seminal songs for rock-and-roll.  Sinister versions of “32-20” and “Kidman Blues” follow, reminding the audience just how violent these old blues songs really are.  As played, they reflect an older world with different sensibilities and sound like archaic museum pieces. 

The opening blues section of the show ends with the rarely performed “Tell Me Mama,” the Little Walter blues.  Originally recorded in 1953, it is the most recent of the blues covers in Clapton’s set and sounds more rock than blues.   

They glide into the Cream tune “White Room,” played as it was in the mid eighties with bassist Nathan East singing the chorus.  It’s followed by a nice version of “Badge” and a standard version of “Wonderful Tonight.”

The “Unplugged” set is reduced to two songs.  “Signe” is dropped, but the as yet unreleased “Circus Left Town” is played.  He follows with the Grammy Award winning “Tears In Heaven.”  Chris Stainton plays tasteful keyboards on the track, but it doesn’t sound as nice as Chuck Leavell’s little baroque trills played on the grand piano from the previous year’s performances.  The song receives the loudest applause of the night.

After the acoustic interlude, they return with a new arrangement of “Crossroads.”  Unlike the rock-blues version, this one is more straight-ahead rock with a heavily accented syncopated rhythm and a scorching Jerry Portnoy harmonica solo in the middle.

“Tearing Us Apart” is a great tune from the mid-eighties output which was retained from the “Unplugged” set the previous year.  The synthesizer melody is minimized in favor of a strong horn section.  The Kick Horns play an important part in this tune, lending an air of excited anticipation and anger augmented by Clapton’s guitar.

The show ends with a groovy arrangement of featuring great harmonica by Portnoy “Cocaine” and a cover of Bess Smith’s “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.”  A nice electric version of “Layla” is the encore and is only marginally marred by Andy Fairweather-Low’s inability to properly play the “Layla” riff on the chorus.

Ride On The Breeze is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve printed on dull thick paper.  Unlike other Tarantura releases, the artwork isn’t very colorful and there is a predominance of photographs taken from that year’s Grammy awards instead of the actual show and/or tour.  It is another great Clapton release worth having.

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