Japan tour first week report
Eric Clapton 2003 Japan Tour

E-mail:clapton@clapton.ne.jp

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This is Osaka first show.

17 Nov (Osaka-Jo Hall  Osaka)
"2003 Japan Tour" Second show

Setlist

01.When you've got a good friend
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02.Crossroads
03.I shot the sheriff
04.Bell bottom blues
05.Reconsider Baby
06.Can't find my way home
07.White room
08.I want a little girl
09.Got my mojo working
10.Hoochie coochie man
11.Change the world
12.
Five Long years
13.Kind hearted woman
14.Badge
15.Holy mother
16.Lay down Sally
17.Wonderful tonight
18.Cocaine
19.Knockin' on heaven's door
20.Layla
Encore
21.Sunshine of your love
22.Somewhere over the rainbow

Short impression ;
 

November 17, 2003 – Osaka Jyo Hall – Osaka, Japan

 According to the program, tonightfs performance was the second of eighteen shows on ECfs gsecreth fall tour of Japan.  Two years ago, we saw EC perform at Tokyofs Budokan for what was billed, and reviewed here, as his last elarge venuef performance.  Well, Ifm pleased to report he came out hungry tonight.  The Japan 2003 Tour, billed on the program apparently as gJust For You; A Celebration of 40 years as an Artisth is what all great performers should enjoy: a need to be satisfied in front of a very appreciative and polite audience.  Frankly, I did not know what to expect beyond an extension of Slowhandfs most recent tour performances.  I did not get to enjoy his other 2003 shows, but this was worth the trip to Osaka from Beijing.  By coincidence, I found myself in Japan for a trade show and once discovering the dates of this tour, I invited a client from the U.K. to join me – his first EC concert.  Our seats were in the enose bleed sectionf and there were no video screens, but believe me, it didnft matter.

 At 7:14, EC appeared from stage left in jeans, short sleeve shirt and docksiders.  The audience was typically polite, applauded at his appearance and his gKomban-wa, Hello!h greeting before he quickly settled into gWhen Youfve Got a Good Thingh (I think), while standing with his black acoustic guitar.  The band moved into position for the second chorus with a brilliant segue into gCrossroadsh showing remarkable strength.  There was esnapf to ECfs playing tonight with such freshness and enthusiasm that made me remark to my colleague that ghe was hungryh to be in front of an audience.  gI Shot The Sheriffh followed with a vocal tribute to Bob Marley – gIf I am guilty I must payh.  About the third note of gBell Bottom Bluesh made me come out of my seat.  Very close to the Derek version.  The plaintiff cry of gDo you want see me crawl across the floor to youh gripped me like a vice.  The tone and strength of ECfs guitar resonated Osaka Jyo Hall and about 16,000 fans.

 Next was gReconsider Meh from gCradleh and the blues just kept on coming.  Eric and Andy switched to acoustic guitars for gCanft Find My Way Homeh, throwing me back to Honolulu International Center in 1970 where EC played with Blind Faith and Steve Winwood.  Nathanfs voice was stirring.  gWhite Roomh followed and I asked the young lady sitting next to me if it was her first EC concert, which it was.  I briefly explained the tunefs 1968 origin, which was well before her time.  But she loved it enthusiastically.

 A recent favorite that touches me personally is gI Want a Little Girlh and the intro cast away all further expectations for the remainder of the performance.  EC explains in the program his life as a full time father and his two baby girls.  Call me sentimental, but the depth of feeling this tune delivers is unmatched.  It is my current favorite love song.  Next came the Muddy Watersf tribute, beginning with gGot My Mojo Workinfh followed by gHoochie Coochie Manh.  gMojoh was covered by Paul Butterfield in f66 with former Muddy drummer Sam Lay on drums.  ECfs version of gMojoh smoked and gHCMh surpassed recent versions in concert or on DVD with a killer solo.  The mood changed with lovely lighting and backdrop with his acoustic guitar for gChange The Worldh, another touching love song.  It was a nice bridge before returning to the blues with gFive Long Yearsh, perhaps ECfs best studio performance since the late e60s, again from gCradleh.  Chris Staintonfs keyboards contributed a great solo.  gKind Hearted Womanh started and I thought it was gHave You Ever Loved a Womanh.  But thatfs what I love about the blues – familiarity.  gBadgeh was next with no real surprises before another rarely heard nugget, gHoly Motherh.  A young woman stood in the isle with her infant son – coincidence?  But therefs more.

 The band shifted gears again (a great pace all night) with gLay Down Sallyh.  When gWonderful Tonighth followed, I suspected gCocaineh was next and it was.  I still have difficulty with this song that I used adore.  But it fit within the context of the concert and the average Japanese fanfs appreciation with Andy adding echicken scratchingf treble chords and Chris Stainton unloading another exceptional solo.  Placing the lid back on the audience was gKnockinf on Heavenfs Doorh with what I thought was a typically unheard Dylan verse.  The audience came out of their chairs on the first seven notes of gLaylah, which was true to its eDerekf roots.  Chris missed a keyboard voicing on the bridge, but I bet he doesnft do it again for the next show Wednesday night.  The bandfs hollow threat to leave the stage let the audience prepare for the encore - a hard and articulate gSunshine of Your Loveh.  Reaching back 35 years to renew this treasure was effortless and thoroughly rewarding.  We anticipated heading for the exits when the band sat down for introductions and gSomewhere Over the Rainbowh.  This was a great lineup and a fabulous set list.  The gCradleh tour was the last time I saw EC so comfortable and capable.  Knowing that he can return to his audience when he feels ready to perform at such an elevated level was eye opening as well as satisfying.



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