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
01. Had To Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence Of The Lord
06. Well Alright
07. Hoochie Coochie Man
08. While You See A Chance
09. Key To The Highway
10. Midland Maniac
12. Georgia On My Mind
14. That's No Way To Get Along
15. Wonderful Tonight
16. Can't Find My Way Home
17. Gimme Some Lovin'
18. Voodoo Chile
20. Dear Mr.Fantasy (encore)
First of two concerts in Osaka.
Review by Hiroshi M
2011 is destined to be quite a year for Japan, in the word's worst sense, unfortunately. What occured on March 11th left a tremendous trauma that the nation will never fully recover from for years to come. In that sense, 3/11 is to the Japanese what 9/11 is to the Americans. And amidst the aftermath of the disaster, with memories of the devastating earthquake and tsunami still vivid in everyone's mind, the much anticipated Clapton/Winwood tour has finally arrived Japan, almost four years after its first full-blown incarnation at the MSG. It started from the north, Sapporo, moved on to Yokohama, and then reached Osaka, my home territory.
I had followed reports over the internet that delivered how the first two shows went down. To summarize it briefly, Sapporo was a great show with some intense playing here and there, while the reviews on Yokohama were mixed, suggesting that it was a rather uneven performance if not sloppy, marred by technical problems.
I had already seen them in Istanbul last year, the final date of their European tour, totally blown away. I was thrilled to hear that they were coming to Japan, I knew what to expect.
With no support act, the lights turned off at about 7:10PM, Eric, Steve and the band took the stage and started the show with Had To Cry Today. Eric played a black-gray Strat that he used throughout the show except a black one on Voodoo Chile. The daphne blue one (that debuted in Osaka last time by the way) was never used this time -- has Eric finally given it retirement? Also the "9/11" Strats were nowhere in sight. In Istanbul, Steve played a sunburst Strat on the show openers, Had To Cry Today and Low Down, and a mint-green one on the show closers, Cocaine and Dear Mr. Fantasy, but this time he used the latter on both couple of sets.
The return of Presence Of The Lord to Osaka was particularly a memorable moment, among others, for me (the last time Presence Of The Lord was performed live before its resurrection at the Highclere Castle gig in 2007, was in Osaka, November 5th, 1974, EC's first ever appearance of the city). Unlike the previous performances of the song during the Clapton/Winwood tour, Steve sang the first and third verses and Eric did the second. I'd prefer the other way round, but this change of the role certainly gives the Japanese arrangement an authentic feel, more faithful to the Blind Faith original. And the wah-wah-tinged solo! Fabulous.
The unplugged Wonderful Tonight was a pleasant surprise. It is very refreshing to hear it performed by acoustic guitar, with Steve taking all the main rifs and the lead role, which has elevated this crowd pleaser (and self-addressed EC connoisseurs' worst nightmare) into a new, higher status. All the WT haters around the World, believe me, it's a treat! If in doubt, fly over to Japan and experience it with your ears, eyes and hearts, you'll be enamored, it's lovely!
The ultimate show-stopping moment, above all, came with Voodoo Chile, as has done at almost every Clapton/Winwood show to this day, the fifteen-minute guitar extravaganza where Eric made his presence felt to the full. It sent shivers down the spine on me and, I believe, every one of the audience as well. The gigantic eyeball projected on the back screen in black and white, rolling around restlessly, reminiscent of the notorious surrealistic film Un Chien Andalou, only added a weird yet fascinating sensation to this dark blues epic.
With Cocaine, everyone on the ground floor stood up and joined the shout. Encore Dear Mr. Fantasy concluded another brilliant show by the magnificent two and the gangs. Unfortunately the arena was not a sell-out, barely eighty percent full, but Eric and Steve looked happy to the ever-warm reception from the Osakans who got to see the show in the hard times of our lives, the recession, the disaster, to name a few.
Review by John Ott / Seattle, WA
First time in Japan for my wife and me. Been to many Clapton concerts but this was different. The audience was soooo quiet. That was good for the sound and hearing all the players. The band seemed to be playing well together. Eric's guitar was positively growling on Voodoo Chile. Nice guitar work by Winwood on Wonderful Tonight and a good synth solo by Chris Stainton on Well Alright.