Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood – Midland Maniac (Tarantura TCDECSW-2-1, 2)

Midland Maniac (Tarantura TCDECSW-2-1, 2)

Osaka Jo Hall, Osaka, Japan – November 21st, 2011

Disc 1 (64:59):  SF, 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, Midland Maniac, Crossroads – Robert Johnson, Georgia On My Mind – Hoagy Carmichael

Disc 2 (62:36) – 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 – Cocaine – J.J.Cale, Dear Mr.Fantasy – Traffic

After stops in Sapporo and Yokohama, the Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood tour played in Osaka for two nights.  The first night is presented on Midland Maniac by Tarantura.  Sourced from a Mr. Hanatan tape, it’s close to the stage and has very good sound quality.  Only a slight dullness prevents it from being an excellent tape, but the dullness curiously enhances the guitar sound and makes this one of the most visceral documents from this tour. 

There is a special quality right from the start of the show when the artists play dueling leads in “Had To Cry Today.”  At times they echo one another, and at other times they play “compare and contrast,” and make it quite interesting before.

Winwood gives “After Midnight” a slight boogie vibe underneath Clapton’s joyful vocals.  The segue into “Presence Of The Lord” is seamless and the performance of the Blind Faith classic is gorgeous.  The artists take turns singing the verses and Clapton plays a magnificent wah-wah solo in the middle. 

The transition from Traffic’s “Glad” into “Well All Alright” is another highlight early in the show.  The rhythm of the latter changes from disco to a marital and serious beat in a second, and they both stand in contrast to the insane Chris Stainton keyboard solo in the middle. 

After “Key To The Highway” play “Midland Maniac” instead of “Pearly Queen,” the Traffic tune they played the previous night and end the first half with “Georgia On My Mind.” 

The acoustic interlude begins with “Driftin’.”  The Robert Wilkins cover “That’s No Way To Get Along” is played with a chilling quality in Clapton’s vocals.   They follow with the acoustic arrangement of “Wonderful Tonight” which debuted the previous night in Yokohama, and end with “Can’t Find My Way Home.”

They start the finale with a rather limp version of “Gimme Some Lovin’.”  Maybe they were still thinking about the awesome heights of the acoustic set, but it sounds like they’re not really into the song.  “Voodoo Chile” sounds frightening as every, and is a worthy set closer. 

The encores remains the same as all the shows, a long “Cocaine” followed by the Traffic classic “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

Like the other titles from this series of shows, Midland Maniac is packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve made out of glossy paper with various photographs from the gig.  Tarantura always do a splendid job with artwork and this is no exception.  It’s very attractive and a good addition to the collection.  

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