"The Next Big Step"
October 25, 26, 27, 1993
3BR Records - 3BR 190 - SB 6
1. Malted Milk
2. Terraplane Blues
3. How Long
5. Kidman Blues
6. County Jail
8. Blues Leave Me Alone
9. Tell Me Mama
10. White Room
12. Wonderful Tonight
13. Stone Free
1. Circus Left Town
2. Tears in Heaven
4. Tearing Us Apart
5. Groaning the Blues
7. Ain't Nobody's Business
LINEAGE: Original 3BR (Directly from Igor and the Professor) > LiteOn iHAP322 (UL18 Firmware) > EAC v. 0.99 Prebeta 4 (Secure Mode, Calibrated Offset +6, 0) > FLAC (Level 6) > You !!!
The early 1990s were an amazing run for Clapton, with the growth of the Royal Albert Hall shows, constant touring, and seemingly inexhaustible exposure.
Starting in 1990, "blues only" nights were a part of the Albert runs, and hugely popular with diehard fans. But EC's management and label resisted the idea of progressing any further in that direction.
After the huge critical and commercial success of "Unplugged", Clapton was freed to pursue other directions, which eventually led to the "blues tours" in 1994 and 1995.
The 1993 shows were a fascinating melange of classic rock, pop, and hard blues. If you're one of those people who listens to "good music" no matter what the genre, the 1993 shows are probably the most accessible EC ever did live.
In the fall of 1993, EC went to Japan, where the audiences are deeply respectful and appreciative - the perfect crowd for this fusion of old and new.
The sets began quietly, with acoustic blues, veering from the Delta sounds to the sounds of electric Chicago blues, and then coming to the fire and fury of 1960s British Blues, with "White Room" and "Badge". After a breather of "Wonderful Tonight" (a perennial Clapton Speed Bump in most sets) there comes EC's unhinged rendition of Hendrix' "Stone Free".
After a more modern pop / AOR break with "Circus" and "Tears in Heaven", the band breaks into a funky reworking of "Crossroads", the 1980s hit pop single "Tearing Us Apart", then digging deep into the blues with "Groaning the Blues".
As if this set didn't cover enough musical decades, next we have EC's 1970s version of "Cocaine", with a new feel for the 1990s, Bessie Smith's 1920s "Ain't Nobody's Business", and then closing with those Seven Incredible Notes, "Layla" ... themselves taken from Albert King's "As the Years Go Passing By".
Basically, this set is like a Graduate Level course in the history of the blues, taught by one of its best students.
The 3BR version is a remastered version of the Mid Valley release "Into the Fire". This wasn't some quickie "tweak" job, as The Professor reportedly spent 50+ hours on this recording (I heard, he liked it! haha). The important thing, check it out and let YOUR ears be the judge.
Even if you already have a copy of this title, this may be a nice upgrade for you, direct from the masters with known lineage.
Also, the original scans I did "back in the day" weren't very good (because my scanner, wasn't very good) so for this torrent I have included new scans at 300 DPI.
Of course, EAC logs and checksums included.
There's been a lot of discussion lately about what is "essential" Clapton, and I'm really glad this has come up. It's so easy for those of us who are familiar with an artist to lose track of what's essential, and accessible to everyone, not just diehard fans.
This is a great one ... and remember, kids ... PLAY IT LOUD!
~Geetarz, August 2009