The first year of the 70s decade marked the start of Eric Clapton’s solo career, with the recording of "Eric Clapton". Also in 1970, Eric formed Derek & The Dominos with Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon and Carl Radle. This era is a perennial favorite amongst his fans. Despite being together for only a short-time period, the Dominos’ musical output is well documented with live recordings and studio outtakes. Additionally, the Dominos played on sessions for George Harrison’s groundbreaking "All Things Must Pass". On outtakes from the ATMP sessions, one can clearly hear The Dominos gel as a band. In the live arena, Eric was pushed by his fellow musicians, resulting in many memorable performances. Songs recorded for their aborted second Derek & The Dominos album are included in the official Crossroads Box Set, but many more are available to collectors.
Eric did not tour as a solo act from 1971-1973 and little work was done. He spent much of the time in seclusion at his country estate deep in the throes of heroin addiction. During this time, he only performed in public twice. Material recorded during this era is best in its officially released form —The Concert For Bangladesh and Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert.
After conquering his addiction, Eric returned to work with a vengeance in 1974. After completing the album 461 Ocean Boulevard, Eric went on a massive world tour to support it. In the decades since, many great live recordings have surfaced. This has been helped along by the fact that many shows were officially recorded for a live album project. Large scale touring continued the following year. And like the '74 tour, the '75 tour is well-documented by bootleg recordings, many of excellent quality. Some shows featured guest appearances by Santana, Pete Townshend and Keith Moon (The Who) and Joe Cocker.
Starting in 1976, EC scaled back on his touring, performing only 27 shows in England and America. Very few recordings have surfaced in bootleg shops and record shows around the world. Eric was out on the road in support of his album, No Reason To Cry, in 1977. Like the previous year, it was a relatively short tour that featured 33 concerts split evenly between England, Europe and Japan. Of the bootlegs that have surfaced, many are of poor quality.
EC's 1978 World Tour was the most extensive since 1975. He was on the road in support of the now-classic album, Slowhand. Although blues legend Muddy Waters was the opener, Eric did not bring him on stage to jam as he had done with Freddie King in 1976. Despite a large number of shows, recordings of these concerts remain the province of the trading community. Those that are available, are of very good to excellent quality. The final year of the decade was also marked by extensive touring, but again few titles have been issued by the bootleg labels.
The essential Eric Clapton bootleg recordings from the 1970s are:
Songs for Patti: The Mastertape Edition (Strawberry Records / SB6)
A collection of George Harrison / All Things Must Pass outtakes. Eric and the nascent Dominos played on some of these tracks. Songs include “Beware of Darkness,” “What Is Life,” “The Art of Dying,” “Wah Wah,” “Isn’t It A Pity” and more.
George Harrison: The Making of All Things Must Pass (Midnight Beat / SB6)
More outtakes from the All Things Must Pass Sessions before Phil Spector got his hands on the tapes and muddied the production. The best release of this material by far. The 3 CD set includes extensive liner notes about the sessions. Again, Eric and the Dominos are featured on some tracks.
Derek & The Dominos - Live At The Fillmore (Tarantura / SB6)
Fillmore Double Night (Mid Valley / SB6)
This four-CD set captures Derek & The Dominos in two complete live shows at the Fillmore East in New York on 23 and 24 October 1970 (late shows). It ranks among the best boots ever issued. This two-show set rivals 1994’s official release, Live At The Fillmore (originally titled Derek & The Dominos In Concert) for sound quality. The official release was culled from these two shows. Eric’s playing is amazing. All the songs you would expect EXCEPT “Layla”. Where’s Eric! Magazine noted the following: “The one misnomer is the ‘other’ version of “Bottle of Red Wine”, which on listening you find is the same version on both nights. One possible explanation is that in fact it wasn’t performed on the second night, with Marc Roberty’s book, The Complete Recording Sessions, listing it erroneously. Tarantura have noted its supposed existence and therefore, it is included for completeness sake. (The complete review is in Issue 18 of the magazine). According to Marc Roberty’s book, Complete Recording Sessions 1963-1995, only the late shows at the Fillmore were recorded for possible release.
The Majestic Stand (MidValley / SB 5 / 4 / 4)
The Majestic Stand (Empress Valley / SB4 / 4 / 4): issued in limited and non-limited editions
These sets collect an amazing concert from the Electric Factory, Philadelphia PA on 16 October and the early and late shows in Santa Monica, CA on 20 November. A great portrait of Derek & The Dominos in the live arena. Sound quality is not perfect, but this is not unexpected with tapes of this age but all are eminently listenable. The playing more than makes up for this slight deficiency. The Electric Factory show features the earliest known version of “Motherless Children”, which would appear on 461 Ocean Boulevard in 1974. Delaney Bramlett guests on slide guitar on a few songs at both Santa Monica shows. The limited edition version on Empress Valley features 5 jams recorded in Criteria Studios between August and October 1970. Tracks include “Everyday I Have The Blues,” “Mean Old World,” “Derek’s Boogie,” and “Stormy Monday.”
Feast Away (ZigZag / 3 / SB5 / 4 / 4)
This 6 CD set gathers a number of previously available single disc Dominos shows in upgraded quality thanks to modern technology. Shows are The Pavilion, Bournemouth, UK (8 August), the Electric Factory, Philadelphia PA (14 October – early show), Capitol Theater, Porchester NY (5 December – early show and late shows) and Suffolk Community College, Selden NY (6 December). Suffolk Community College was the band’s last live performance. The band is tight and Eric was playing at the top of his game. Sound quality is not perfect, but this is not unexpected with tapes of this age. But all are eminently listenable. Vocals are occasionally muffled, particularly on the Bournemouth disc. The playing more than makes up for this slight deficiency. In addition to expected Domino’s songs, there are rarities like “Bad Boy” and “Let It Rain” from Clapton’s first solo album, the first live performance of “Motherless Child” and blues numbers like “Stormy Monday”, “Have You Ever Loved A Woman”, “Ramblin’ On My Mind” and a phenomenal “Key To The Highway.” The Philadelphia concert at the Electric Factory features an incredible “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” and amazing slide playing from Eric on “Ramblin’”
Note: Although the Slowhand Bootography and some other sources indicate that the Electric Factory (Philadelphia) show is a soundboard, it is indeed an audience recording. There is almost no audience noise, but the instruments all have some degree of echo, which is indicative of an audience recording.
G (Mid Valley Records / 4)
A stunning remaster from the Mid Valley label. Recorded on 26 November 1970 in Cincinatti, Ohio. Previously issued recordings of this concert were barely listenable. The show includes an R&B-influenced jam with B.B. King on “Everyday I Have The Blues.” Great stuff!
Substance Volume 1 (Eternal / SB 6)
These 4 discs are sourced from tapes that were at one time in Carl Radle’s possession. Radle played bass for Derek And The Dominos. Some were probably recorded at Criteria Studios in August and September 1970. They may have been reference cassettes that Carl took home to listen to and critique. Included are jams with the Allman Brothers Band, alternate takes of “I looked Away”, “Have You Ever Loved A Woman”, and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad.” They are interesting look at the evolution of a number of now classic Clapton songs. The fourth disc features a recording of the early show at the Fillmore East on 23 October.
Substance Volume 2: The Unreleased Second Album (Eternal / SB6)
This two-CD set is sourced from tapes that were at one time in Carl Radle’s possession. In the spring of 1971, the Dominos reentered the studio to record a follow-up to Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. Drugs and egos got in the way and the sessions were a disaster. These discs are an intimate look into the studio. Despite the problems, there are some gems. Eric would later record some of the songs on subsequent solo albums. Tracks include several instrumentals, and early versions of “Mean Old Frisco” and “High”. There is one mistake: Disc Two tracks two and ten are the same song.
Unsurpassed Eric Clapton (Yellow Dog / SB6)
This is the “Delaney Mix” of Eric’s first solo album. Infinitely better than the official release, it has been said that Eric himself prefers this version. His guitar is much more prominent in the mix. The disc also contains two alternate takes of “Lonesome And A Long Way From Home” and “Don’t Know Why”. Three mixes of this album exist and all are different. Eric did the third mix and has admitted he made a poor job of it. Tom Dowd mixed the official release.
Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert - 25th Anniversary Edition (Empress Valley / SB6)
This 4 CD set is the definitive recording of Clapton’s historic “comeback” at the Rainbow Theater in London on 13 January 1973. The tapes are unedited and these superb stereo soundboard recordings rival the official release for sound quality. The set list comprised songs from Cream, Derek & The Dominos, and Eric’s first solo album. Also, this set may just settle the argument of Fender Stratocaster v. Gibson Les Paul as Eric played “Blackie” at the first show and a Les Paul at the second. Give a listen and decide for yourself. This title was first issued as a “limited” edition in Japan and later, as a non-limited edition in the rest of the world.
Note: The Slowhand Masterfile Part 3B / Rainbow Theater 13 January (Antrabata / SB6) contains a complete recording of the late show. Only four of the 15 tracks from this set made it to the official release. Although two other titles exist — Eric Clapton’s The Rainbow Outtakes (Capricorn / SB5) and Rainbow Concert(ARMS / SB5) — they are compilations from the early and late shows and are incomplete.
Electric Smile – U.S. Tour 1974 (Outrider / SB5)
One of the shows from early in the U.S. tour recorded in Philadelphia on 29 June. A single disc, it is unique in that it features and electric version of “Smile”, which Clapton habitually played on acoustic to open shows on this tour. Here, it is placed midway through the concert. The disc also features mid-70s takes on “Presence Of The Lord” and “Layla” and a spirited “Little Queenie”.
Clapton Is Mad Dog (Akashic / SB4+)
Boston Gardens (ARMS / SB4)
This is a complete show recorded on 12 July 1974 during the U.S. tour with great versions of “Mainline Florida” and “Steady Rolling Man” — plus an early 1970s solo version of “Badge”. The Akashic release features slightly better sound quality along with two bonus tracks from Hamburg, Germany in 1974.
Welcome To New York (Silver Horse / SB4+ and Aud 4)
This is a complete show recorded on 13 July 1974. Tracks differ slightly from the above show, as Clapton would vary his set list nightly. The first two discs are a complete audience recording of the concert in nice quality. The third disc is an upgraded soundboard of the long circulating single disc of this show. The last disc features crystal clear sound. The concert featured great versions of “Let It Rain”, “Key To The Highway” and “Crossroads.”
Note: If you have Boston Gardens and Welcome To New York, you would have at least one representative recording of each song performed on the U.S. leg of the tour.
7/19 (Akashic / SB6)
Long Beach Arena (Standing Pig / SB6 – 20 July)
A pair of shows that ended the American tour. Both were recorded and several tracks appeared on the official release Crossroads 2. Great playing both nights. Songs included “Let It Grow”, “Driftin’”, “Ramblin’ On My Mind”, “Get Ready”, “Willie And The Hand Jive” and many more signature songs.
LZ Was There (Tarantura / SB5+) 4 December 1974
LZ Was Here (Tarantura / SB6) 5 December 1974
EC Was Everywhere (Smile / SB6)
The last two shows of the “Comeback Tour”. The “LZ” in the title of the two Tarantura releases indicate that members of Led Zeppelin attended. EC is Everywhere was released in 2003 and benefits from some digital remastering. The set lists vary and they are both incredible shows. On 5 December, Ron Wood guested on the encores (Eric jokingly introduces him as Pete Townshend). These shows were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London for possible official release. Four songs eventually made their way onto the official releases EC Was Here and Crossroads 2 — but lots of great unreleased tracks remain.
Note: Zig Zag released a 10 disc set entitled EC is Here with the following shows: 19 and 20 July Long Beach CA (1974), 4 and 5 December Hamersmith Odeon (1974), and 25 June Providence RI (1975). This set features slightly upgraded quality to the single show releases mentioned above and in the following section for 1975.
Joker / Summer of 1975: Two Shows (MidValley / 6 - SB5)
Discs 1 & 2 are a stunning audience recording (so good you think it’s a soundboard)from Springfield, Massachusetts on 24 June 1975. The playing is quite good unlike other shows from this tour. Discs 3 & 4 are from 14 August 1975 at the L.A Forum. It features Carlos Santana, Joe Cocker and Keith Moon on several numbers. Unlike older releases of this show, there less hiss and the glitches during “Layla” are not as noticeable. “Stormy Monday” is still cut.
Listen To Dis, Jimmy (Tarantura / 6)
A reissue of the 14 August L.A. Forum show, computer technology has improved the sound. Additionally, it is sourced for a complete audience time so for the first time, fans can hear “Stormy Monday” in its entirety.
Joker 2 / Summer of 1975: Two Shows (MidValley / 6 / 5)
This release features the Providence RI show on 25 June in upgraded quality paired with a great recording of the Stanford University gig on 8 August. The Providence gig is a truly outstanding audience recording. It features Carlos Santana on “Eyesight To The Blind” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad”. According to Marc Roberty’s Complete Recording Sessions 1963-1995, this concert was recorded for possible release. “Layla”, “Further On Up The Road”, “Driftin’ Blues”, and “Eyesight To The Blind / Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” eventually made their way onto Crossroads 2. But, there are still lots of great tracks left over. A complete soundboard recording of this show has never surfaced among collectors. The Stanford University show is a real treat. It includes tracks like “Badge”, “Better Make It Through Today,” “Key To The Highway” and “Carnival”.
At a minimum, one should have the Providence concert on Splendor (VRM / 5).
Carnival (Silver Rarities / SB5)
The majority of this two-CD set was recorded in Denver, Colorado on 12 August 1975, with the last three tracks being from San Diego, California on 16 August 1975. The disc starts with an amazing version of “Stormy Monday” and includes a rare performance of “Carnival”. This release also has a TOTALLY different version of “Crossroads” and a great “Little Wing” with Santana.
Private Gig (label unknown / SB3)
This release is from the 29 July 1976 tour rehearsals for the UK tour, it as an interesting behind the scenes look.
Dallas (Slowhand / 6)
This is an incredible (and complete) audience recording from 15 November 1976. Eric’s solo on “Further On Up The Road” is astounding. Tracks include “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, “All Our Past Times”, and “Key To The Highway”. Freddie King guests throughout the show. One song from this show is featured on his official release, Freddie King: 1934-1976. Several CDs have been released of this radio broadcast, but they are incomplete because the entire show did not air. The best of these is One Night In Dallas (Seagull / SB6).
Live In Great Smoke (Tarantura / SB6)
Slowhand Masterfile Part 6 / Hammersmith Odeon 27/4/77 (Antrabata / SB6)
This complete soundboard, recorded on 27 April 1977, rivals some official releases with lots of great material like “Alberta”, “Hello Old Friend”, “Sign Language”, and of course “Layla”. It has come to light that a handful of the Masterfile CDs have clicking noises that sound like skips. The great majority seem to be without this defect. This defect has not occurred with the Tarantura release. “Tell The Truth”, “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, and “Stormy Monday” made their way onto Crossroads 2.
Bottom Dollar (Bell Bottom / SB6)
Wonderful Tonight / On Stage (The Swingin’ Pig / SB6 - Discs 1 & 2)
Slowhand Backless on the Road (EC is Here / SB6)
This show, from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on 11 February 1978, was broadcast on radio and has been widely booted. Almost all are incomplete because only seven of the 18 songs performed were broadcast. Bottom Dollar is a complete soundboard recording which has a gorgeous version of “Peaches & Diesel” — plus rare tracks like “Rodeo Man”, Fools Paradise” and a late-1970s take on “Bottle Of Red Wine”. All the now-classic tracks from Slowhand are also present. See the Box Sets section for details about the Wonderful Tonight release. Slowhand Backless on the Road also features a complete soundboard recording from Glasgow Apollo on 24 November 1978.
Ripley’s Son (Blackie / 3)
Although this audience recording is not on par with many others listed here, it is essential because Muddy Waters, Jerry Portnoy, George Harrison and Elton John all stepped out on stage for the encores (Standing Around Cryin and Further On Up The Road). This was also the final show of the tour and took place at Eric’s hometown venue, the Guildford Civic Hall.
Cleveland (EC Rarities / SB5)
Recorded at Richfield Coliseum on 2 June 1979, it is a complete soundboard recording. It has rare tracks like “If I Don’t Be There By Morning” and “Watch Out For Lucy”.
Where’s Eric! does not encourage or condone the manufacture of bootleg recordings. They are illegal and artists do not receive royalties from their sale. However, Where’s Eric! realizes that there are fans who collect these recordings. In that spirit, information about them is provided for fans’ research and guidance purposes. Where’s ERIC! does not sell, trade or provide free copies of bootleg recordings nor can we tell you how to obtain them.