Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Tarantura TCDEC 75-1, 2)
Rainbow Hall, Nagoya, Japan – November 22nd, 2003
Disc 1 (65:03): SE /Start, When You Got A Good Friend, Crossroads, I Shot The Sheriff, Bell Bottom Blues, Reconsider Baby, Can’t Find My Way Home, White Room, I Want A Little Girl, Got My Mojo Working, Hoochie Coochie Man, Change The World, Five Long Years
Disc 2 (56:08): Badge, River Of Tears, Lay Down Sally, Wonderful Tonight, Cocaine, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Layla, Sunshine Of Your Love , band intro., Somewhere Over The Rainbow, SE
Eric Clapton spent several months in 2003 working on a new solo album of original material (which would surface as Back Home, released in 2005) as well as a tribute disc to the songs of Robert Johnson. Clapton also participated in a few benefit concerts including the Teenage Cancer Trust, UNICEF, Lincoln Center Jazz Foundation and Pavarotti & Friends / SOS Iraq.
A tour of Japan rounded out the year. The tour was important as it heralded the high-energy shows of 2004 and a return Eric Clapton’s “Guitar God” status of decades past. Eighteen concerts between November 15th and December 13th. Nagoya is the first show and only one in Nagoya.
Earlier releases of this show can be found in the massive thirty six disc box set Just For You – Complete Japan Tour 2003 (EC is Here / DJ Copy), Reach The Stars – Tour 2003 (E&C World Star EC-0024) and Wonderful Rainbow (Dorthy).
Somewhere Over The Rainbow on Tarantura debuts a new source. Taped by Momosaburo, who is also responsible for the awesome Live At Rainbow Hall, it is a brilliant stereo audience recording with wonderful dynamics.
The show begins with “When You’ve Got A Good Friend,” the Robert Johnson tune that would open Clapton’s 2004 Me And Mr. Johnson tribute. Clapton starts the song alone on guitar, and is joined by the band in the middle. The song segues seamlessly into “Crossroads,” another Johnson tune played in the heavy-metal Cream arrangement.
“I Shot The Sheriff” sounds much lighter than in the past and has a mellow guitar solo in the middle and “Bell Bottom Blues” is played at a faster tempo than in the past.
The Lowell Fulsom blues “Reconsider Baby” is played in the identical arrangement as the From The Cradle tours in 1994 and 1995. After classics from Blind Faith (“Can’t Find My Way Home” sung by Nathan East) and Cream (“White Room”), they follow with the jazz / blues standard “I Want A Little Girl” originally recorded for Pilgrim in 2001. It was played on the 2001 tour (and featured on the live album One More Car, One More Rider) and often in 2004.
Three songs out of the next four, “Got My Mojo Workin,” “Hoochie Cootchie Man” and “Five Long Years” are arrangements dating from From The Cradle. “Change The World,” Clapton’s first collaboration with Babyface in the late nineties, also makes an appearance in the middle of the show.
Except for the excellent and melodramatic “River Of Tears,” the latter half of the show is time for the classics such as his mid-seventies peak such as “Lay Down Sally” and “Wonderful Tonight.” The set ends with “Layla” and the first encore is “Sunshine Of Your Love.” Clapton introduces the band (and East introduces Clapton” before they play a soft jazz arrangement of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”
Somewhere Over The Rainbow is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve made out of thick, glossy cardboard. It is a very good show with great sound and is worth having.