Eric Clapton

The Definitive 24 Nights
Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton: Carl Studna.

This box set heavily expands Slowhand’s 24 Nights, the live album and video of Eric Clapton’s 1990-’91 residencies at London’s Royal Albert Hall. It includes six hours of music, including 35 previously unreleased performances, while the rock, blues, and orchestral segments are also available separately.

Fortunately, Clapton wasn’t in one of his nothing-left-to-prove phases, and is backed with top-flight musicians including Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, and others. With their help, he’s often pushed to exceptional Stratocaster highs.

The rock portion features an intense “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Can’t Find My Way Home,” boisterous “Bad Love” (one of eight songs from 1989’s slick Journeyman), and reggae-tinged “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” The Vegas-arrangement trappings of “Cocaine” detract from its raw power. The blues performances are more visceral; “Worried Life Blues” and “Reconsider Baby” stand out. Generally, the orchestra plays a supporting role; strings and brass enhance the core band, but not overpower it. “Edge of Darkness” is a brooding winner, while the zenith is the 29-minute “Concerto for Electric Guitar” with plenty of dynamic guitar excursion

Tons of live music – most of it not previously available – from one of our greatest living guitarists. What’s not to love?

This article originally appeared in VG’s September 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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