The Living Legends In Yokohama (Tarantura TCDECSW-1)
Yokohama Arena, Yokohama, Japan – Nov 19, 2011
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Steve Winwood – hammond organ, piano, guitar, vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Disc1. Announcement – Start – Had To Cry Today – Low Down – After Midnight – Presence Of The Lord – Glad / Well Alright – Hoochie Coochie Man – While You See A Chance – Key To The Highway – Pearly Queen – Crossroads – Georgia On My Mind.
Disc2. Driftin’ – That’s No Way To Get Along – Wonderful Tonight – Can’t Find My Way Home – Gimme Some Lovin’ – Voodoo Chile – Cocaine – Dear Mr.Fantasy – SE / Announcement – The Lobby – The Entrance.
After intensively touring the States and Europe in the past recent years – including their latest 5-show stint at the RAH in London last May/June – it was high time the “Blind Faith” leaders did hit Japan, extending their reunion out a massive 13-date tour.
The setlist remained very conservative being exactly the same as it had been in London six months earlier, consisting of solo hits from both Clapton and Winwood / Traffic and of course a few Blind Faith classics too.
The Clapton & Winwood reunion may not be as important as the Cream reunion was back in 2005 but here money won’t play the important role that played with Cream…. It’s friendship and musicianship what is involved here and you can feel that in the music both Clapton and Winwood produce together. Anyway, this reunion still is important enough for me to see the staying power of what once was one of the first (so-called) supergroups in the world ever!
The show kicks off with a 7-minute version of the Blind Faith classic Had To Cry Today (how much I do like the riff on this song, only God knows!), with Winwood accompanying Clapton on guitar. Clapton flubs a line at the very start of his first solo but the song sees a brilliant second half with both Clapton & Winwood soloing superbly before getting together again for the main riff to close the song.
Next we get two JJ Cale’s songs. Low Down is my favourite track on his “Guitar Man” album and I never get enough of the lyrics “Crying, crying all night long / I had nothing but the blues / Since you came along”. After Midnight needs no introduction. For this Winwood puts his guitar down and does a great job on the hammond organ while Clapton plays a long, excellent solo.
The guys share vocals on Presence Of The Lord but of course the peaking moment of the song can’t be other than Clapton’s powerful solo on wah-wah. Without horns of any kind the rendition of Traffic’s Glad does not sound as jazzy as the original but it still is a pleasure to listen to. It is shortened to just 3 minutes before seguing into Well All Right with a psycodelic hammond work from Winwood that gives me a perfect idea what the late 60s were like music-wise.
An impeccable rendition of Hoochie Coochie Man sees solos from Stainton on piano and Winwood on hammond before Clapton’s. Winwood’s While You See A Chance is a true treasure that was revealed to me only last year. Originally found on Winwood’s “Arc Of A Diver” released back in 1980, Clapton enhances this catchie song with some tasteful guitar licks on the outro like nobody else is able to do. Key To The Highway sees flawless solos from Stainton, Winwood and Clapton, in this particular order.
Traffic’s Pearly Queen alone is worth the price of admission….An all-time favourite of mine, to have Clapton playing this again after so many years is a kind of a miracle…… Of course, Winwood’s work on the hammond is not to be overlooked either! This has to be one of my favourite tracks on Disc1. Clapton plays a very short intro to Crossroads where both Stainton and Winwood shine. Clapton closes this number very nicely with one of his trademark solos.
The pace is slowed down by the acoustic set that follows, which is opened by a beautiful cover of Georgia On My Mind – the song that Winwood would record with the Spencer Davis Group back in 1965 – with Clapton adding a nice, subtle guitar solo. Winwood returns the compliment by playing a hammond solo on a six-minute long Driftin’. The uptempo rocking blues of That’s No Way To Get Along preceeds the only surprise in the setlist and tour: Clapton gives Wonderful Tonight an acoustic treatment, resulting in an extremely charming version. Winwood shows his brilliant soulful vocal abilities on Can’t Find My Way Home which also sees the pair trade licks quite neatly.
The final part of the show starts with Gimme Some Lovin’ which inevitably raises the temperature quite notably!!!! After that we are treated to a 14-minute tour-de-force, rendition of Voodoo Chile featuring excellent pyrotehcnics from both Clapton on guitar and Winwood on the hammond. Cocaine has room for a second guitar solo from Winwood just before Stainton closes the song. By the way, Steve Gadd wants to finish this number early as he does not realize Stainton still has a few more notes to play on his solo!!!
The encore consists of a brilliant cover of Traffic’s memorable Dear Mr. Fantasy. Clapton plays lead on the first half of the song but he is upstaged by Winwood’s superb final solo.
Using an excellent audience tape from Mr. Crypton and being limited to 100 unnumbered copies only this is another highly collectable Tarantura release to own. Recommended.
“Stage Fright” on the Tinkerbell label is another excellent tape that needs our attention too. Claimed to be sourced from Winwood’s ear phone mix, that does not distract at all from Clapton’s guitar playing!