Simon Climie On Recording "The Lady In The Balcony"
Plus, watch a clip of “Black Magic Woman” from Eric’s remarkable new release out November 12.
Where's Eric! is celebrating Eric Clapton's upcoming release by posting excerpts from the series of exclusive interviews about the recording of "The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions" that appear in the new issue of the magazine.
Eric’s new project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of his May 2021 concerts at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic. Looking for a viable alternative, he reconvened with his band at Cowdray House in the English countryside and staged a concert in the presence of only the band and crew while letting the cameras roll. The only outside observer was Eric’s wife, Melia, who inspired the title.
The mostly acoustic set was envisioned to be like an "Eric Clapton Unplugged II." Three songs were played with electric guitars. The result is far more than simply a sequence of greatest hits. Rather, it’s one of the most intimate and authentic performances of Eric’s entire career.
Where's Eric! Editor, Tony Edser, recently spoke with Simon Climie, the Music Associate Producer for the event, about the sessions, including the equipment used during recording:
I had a recording rig, a beautiful Neve with pro-tools and I was recording out in the hallway through the filming. This “wizard,” Rupert Neve, who made beautiful consoles had an Abbey Road mini console which he lent us so it sounded fantastic, naturally, acoustically; you were able to get that intimacy. Sadly, Rupert Neve has since died.
I needed a 16-foot dimension in my room for bass response because I had to do some live mixes of what was going on, which I didn’t realize was the best way of getting the biggest room of everyone in the House (laughs). Genelec (a world leader in studio monitors) lent me an entire 5.1 surround sound system. I actually played Nathan and a few others the Crossroads Festival show (from 2019) as they hadn’t heard it in 5.1. Effectively I was playing a DVD through a stadium system in my bedroom!
Simon also provided insight into Eric’s recording of songs by his contemporary, Peter Green:
In the autumn of 2020, Eric and I were doing some recording and he brought along two 12-string guitars. We did four Peter Green songs, kind of as a tribute, and they all actually sounded amazing. Someone like Peter Green, who’s such an immense talent, it’s a really great study to go back into those songs. Even if they are all open to interpretation, Eric always seems to find something or bring something new to them. To do them on a 12-string was utter genius, there’s so much sound coming out of a 12-string, there’s not just the rhythm, it’s almost like an orchestra. He sat there on his own and he just worked through these songs and got them to sound pretty amazing.
Green’s “Black Magic Woman,” as recorded by Eric, Nathan East, Steve Gadd and Chris Stainton live at Cowdray House will be featured on “The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions.” Like in the autumn of 2020, Eric played a dreadnought 12-string guitar on the track. EC’s take on “Man Of The World” is also included.
Peter Green’s “Oh Well” plus the blues “Need Your Love So Bad,” which he performed in Fleetwood Mac’s early days, were also recorded at Cowdray House but not included in the upcoming release.
I recorded everything. There are usually quite a few songs that Eric has recorded that are absolutely stunning but maybe he’ll feel they aren’t quite right for this particular record. You get a lot of incredible takes. “River of Tears,” for example, he did it electric, he did it acoustic, he did it 12-string but it’s ended up as a magical version. Chris kept doing these great string parts and we’re like “how’s he doing that?” It’s ridiculous!
Available globally on November 12, “The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions” can be pre-ordered now.
It will be released in the United States on:
DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, 4K UHD+Blu-ray, 2 LPs pressed on yellow vinyl, and a Deluxe Edition containing the DVD, Blu-ray & CD packaged in a 40 page 12” x 12” hardback photo book, digital video & digital audio. In addition, a CD-only version will be available exclusively at Target.
It will be released in all other global territories on:
DVD, Blu-ray, CD, DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, 4K UHD+Blu-ray, 180-gram 2LP, limited edition 2LP pressed on 180-gram yellow vinyl, and a Deluxe Edition containing the DVD, Blu-ray & CD packaged in a 40 page 12” x 12” hardback photo book, digital video & digital audio.
The Lady In The Balcony Track Listing:
01. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
02. Golden Ring
03. Black Magic Woman
04. Man of the World
06. After Midnight
07. Bell Bottom Blues
08. Key to the Highway
09. River of Tears
10. Rock Me Baby
11. Believe in Life
12. Going Down Slow
14. Tears in Heaven
15. Long Distance Call
16. Bad Boy
17. Got My Mojo Working
Next week, read excerpts from the exclusive interview with Nathan East.