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Rainbow Concert

4.4 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Polygram Records
  • ASIN: B000001FLE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,640 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert was a concert organized by his good friend Pete Townshend back in 1973 as Mr. Clapton's first public appearance after a lengthy struggle with a heroin addiction. The band was full of English rock luminaries including his old Blind Faith pals, Steve Winwood & Rick Grech, Winwood's Traffic mate Jim Capaldi, Ron Wood and Mr. Townshend himself. The cd reissue is one of the better around as the original album was a truncated version of the show containing only six songs. The reissue adds eight songs from the show including the first live version of "Layla" ever released in its original form. The band is a little ragged in spots, probably due to lack of rehearsal time, but they are all pros and the overall sound is superb. Mr. Clapton plays an invigorated guitar and his voice is suitably course and bluesy. Versions of "Blues Power", "Bell Bottom Blues", "Let it Rain" and "Badge" stand out as well as an inspired "Presence Of The Lord". This cd is notable for the assemblage of musicians, but the music stands up after all these years.
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Format: Audio CD
I always had a soft spot in my head for the original 1973 'Rainbow Concert' album - Clapton, in the midst of his heroin addiction, was helped out by a cast of famous friends who together turn in a loose, touching, and sometimes dessicated performance that captures the era as well as other druggy, haunted post 60s documents, like the Stones' "Goats Head Soup," Traffic's "Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory," and Lou Reed's "Berlin." For the so called cd 'upgrade', Jon Astley has committed - and multiplied - the same revisionist sins that marred the Who's box set, utterly transforming the original performance and the album that resulted from it. This cd has more than twice as many tracks as the murky, dark original (6, clocking in at under forty minutes), but 5 of those tracks have been severely shortened, and many of the unreleased tracks are suspiciously short, clean and neat sounding as well. Example, the deliciously sleazy sounding "Roll It Over" has been cut from 7 minutes down to four; "Little Wing" (with Ron Wood's beautiful lead soloing atop Townshend's slashing chords)has 2 minutus lopped off the original 6:32. Etc, etc. Thus, the 1995 cd remaster (and, 'remix')is utterly different in sound, mood, and spirit from the more honest original album (and cd, which went out of print in the mid '90s). It's a shame, for now we have to own both the 1973 album (issued just a few months after the Dominos' "In Concert" and providing a fascinating, stark contrast) and this silly, cleaned-up 'medley' of the Rainbow shows to hear most of the songs Eric and his friends played those dark winter nights in January 1973. Maybe we'll get a full-length "Deluxe edition" on 2 cds? It would make more sense than the recently issued, padded "Disreali Gears."
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Format: Audio CD
Imagine you're Pete Townshend, circa 1972, early 1973. You have this friend who's not just a terrific guy but also happens to be one of the greatest guitar players ever (short of yourself and a select list of few others). In fact, the man is so great they started to compare him to God very shortly after he had emerged onto the scene; and he even managed to convince you that white boys CAN play the blues ... even if they are from England - something you hadn't even bought coming from the original Bluesbreaker Peter Mayall. Unfortunately, the man is sinking into the abyss called heroin addiction, and there doesn't seem to be anything anybody can do about it. His live-in girlfriend Alice (on the downward slide with him) has called you repeatedly in the middle of the night, and you have made the long trip to their house only to witness junkie scenes which you will later be quoted describing, in the man's authorized biography by Ray Coleman ("Clapton!") as "despicable." You start wrecking your brain what to do about the situation. You know, of course, that only the junkie himself will ultimately be able to pull himself out of the abyss; but encouragement from people close to him is crucial - as crucial as a deeper motivation to make the struggle worthwhile.

In your friend's case, it seems obvious that his love of music has to be the thing that should restore his will to go on living. The problem is, except for an appearance at George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh, ca. 1 1/2 years earlier, the man hasn't appeared on stage, nor has he seen the inside of a recording studio. Before embarking on his slide into addiction, he has been part of a number of true supergroups; but everyone of them has disintegrated over time, many say before they had really had a chance to take off.
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Format: Audio CD
This, to me, is one of the most curiously overlooked and underrated live albums of the 70s. Ever, actually.
I know that not everyone shares my fondness for Eric Clapton the bluesman-slash-rock singer rather than Eric Clapton the balladeer-slash-watered-down-blues-singer, but I remain convinced that this is one of the three or four greatest records Clapton has ever released.

"Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert" is not a polished, highly produced affair; it is all gritty rock n' roll and smouldering blues, and Clapton is backed by star players like Pete Townshend, Ron Wood and Steve Winwood, and guest percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah. And this all-star band, which has former Traffic-drummer Jim Capaldi on the swivel chair and the late Rick Gretch playing bass, leads Clapton through a dozen raw, ragged and superbly atmospheric renditions of his best songs of the 60s and 70s, including "Layla", "Bell Bottom Blues", "Key To The Highway" and "Blues Power".
Eric Clapton and the band play with passion and urgency, and Clapton himself sounds much more alive than on most live recordings.
If you like Eric Clapton at his grittiest, it doesn't get any better than this.
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