Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood – Dedicate To Hubert Sumlin (Tarantura TCDECSW-5-1, 2)

Dedicate To Hubert Sumlin (Tarantura TCDECS-5-1, 2)

Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – December 6th, 2011

Disc 1 (63:41):  Announcement, Start, Had To Cry Today- Blind Faith, Low Down – J.J.Cale, After Midnight – J.J.Cale, Presence Of The Lord – Blind Faith, Glad – Traffic, Well All Right – Buddy Holly, Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters, While You See A Chance – Steve Winwood, Key To The Highway – Big Bill Broonzy, Pearly Queen – Traffic, Crossroads – Robert Johnson, Georgia On My Mind – Hoagy Carmichael

Disc 2 (63:48) – Acoustic Set – Driftin’ – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, That’s No Way To Get Along – Robert Wilkins, Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton, Can’t Find My Way Home – Blind Faith, Gimme Some Lovin’ – The Spencer Davis Group, Voodoo Chile – Jimi Hendrix – Encore – Dear Mr.Fantasy – Traffic, Cocaine – J.J.Cale, SE / Announcement

The Eric Clapton / Steve Winwood tour took a short break after the second Tokyo show on December 3rd.  The night after blues great Hubert Sumlin passed away in Wayne, New Jersey, at the age of eighty.  Given his seminal work with Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and his overall influence upon Clapton’s career, the show on December 6th was played to his memory. 

Dedicate To Hubert Sumlin captures the evening with a perfect audience tape.  Very close to the stage and picking up every little detail, it is among the very best sounding shows to be released by Tarantura from this important tour. 

The tape begins with the band walking onstage and Clapton’s low key “good evenings” before starting with “Had To Cry Today.”  He makes the dedication to Hubert Sumlin before “Low Down.”  Whether it is the inspiration from Sumlin’s spirit or if the band are rejuvenated after a three day break, but the performance of in this show is perhaps the most energetic and enjoyable of the tour. 

“After Midnight” sounds particularly funky, and the segue into “Presence Of The Lord” is quite dramatic. 

Winwood seems to add many little touches to the arrangements.  In “Well All Right,” after Chris Stainton’s bizarre little keyboard solo, Winwood adds a pretty little piano interlude giving an almost “baroque” feeling to the piece.

The two big blues numbers in the first half of the show are enthusiastic.  Clapton squeezes as much sleaze out of “Hoochie Coochie Man” as is possible, and “Key To The Highway” has some really nice jamming on the guitar, honky tonk piano and blues organ adding to the fun.  Winwood’s pop trinket “When You See A Chance” from 1980’s Arc Of A Diver is a pleasing interlude between the two.

“Pearly Queen” is played in favor of “Midland Maniac” and the show is much better for it.  They give a stunning performance lead by Winwood’s hypnotic organ.  After “Crossroads,” sounding more gospel than blues, they give a gentle performance of “Georgia On My Mind.”  Both Clapton and Winwood play solos which are given nice ovations from the appreciative crowd. 

The acoustic interlude retains the same songs as the previous nights starting with “Driftin’.”  This is one of the songs featured on From The Cradle and has been the one song from that era with the longest stage life.

Robert Wilkins’ “That’s No Way To Get Along” sounds much more gospel than blues with the addition of the backing singers in these concerts.  Clapton’s arrangement is more upbeat compared to the Rolling Stones’ treatment of “Prodigal Son.”  The female singers almost sound like a choir of angels adjudicating the protagonist in the song. 

They follow with the acoustic arrangement of “Wonderful Tonight,” introduced several nights before, and close with “Can’t Find My Way Home” with Winwood on vocals.

A happy “Gimme Some Lovin'” follows.  It’s a much better performance than the one on the second.  “Voodoo Chile” closes the show and the encores remains the same, “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and the elongated “Cocaine” with both artists jamming in the song’s middle. 

Dedicate To Hubert Sumlin is packaged in a gatefold sleeve made out of thick glossy paper giving a very classy appearance.  With both the sound quality (from a taper named Keith Clearwater) and the quality of the performance makes this one of the best Tarantura releases of the Clapton / Winwood tour of Japan.

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