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Eric Clapton's Rainbow Concert (Expanded Edition) [Live]

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Following his crucial appearance at 1971's Concert for Bangladesh, Eric Clapton organized his own blowout show with the help of old friend and rival Pete Townshend. Thus was born the Rainbow Concert, performed at London’s Rainbow Theatre on Jan. 13, 1973. It was a crucial moment in Clapton’s career. After he'd nearly succumbed to heroin addiction, this was his friends’ way of showing him that rock 'n' roll was a gift worth living for. Backed by Pete Townshend, Ronnie Wood, and Steve Winwood, the concert marries Clapton’s classic singing, songwriting, and guitar playing to a rough and ragged attitude more commonly associated with The Who and The Rolling Stones. “Roll It Over,” “Layla,” “Bottle of Red Wine," and “Let It Rain” are delivered with a gloriously reckless edge, and even slow-burning ballads like “Little Wing” and “Presence of the Lord” hang in the air like singed flags. Listen closely, and you can hear the light in Clapton’s soul turning back on. After this performance he made the decision to quit heroin for good and consequently assembled the band that would record his landmark comeback album 461 Ocean Boulevard.

Customer Reviews

A Special Night

This was obviously a special evening, and a love letter from Pete to Eric. It came at a time when Pete and others probably were deeply worried about Eric and did not want to see him become another rock-n-roll casualty. Two years earlier, the whirlwind sixties were over, the Domino's cratered, and Eric was shooting junk at a cost of $1500 a week and did nothing but watch TV. Because of this, part of the beauty of this concert lies not with it's technical merits, but the overall spirit of Pete's gesture. I heard that Eric still battled heroin addiction after this concert, so it wasn't a cure for him, but it sure must have been wonderful to see him come out of his doldrums and put on a fine show. Sure, the band at times was sloppy, but it doesn't matter. It doesn't make it unenjoyable. It makes it real and human, and Pete's stage banter is pure Pete, and makes for a very unusual Clapton concert. I am impressed with Pete's musical contributions on stage as well. He provides a powerful rhythm guitar and backing vocals, making each song rock as hard as ever, especially on "Blues Power", "Tell The Truth", and "Little Wing". I don't think Ron Wood really needed to be there, but the gesture was nice. Eric's guitar playing isn't as electrifying as his work on the live segments of Cream's Goodbye and Wheels of Fire albums, but his singing is strikingly beautiful. His singing on "Badge", "Little Wing", and "Bell Bottom Blues" will make you cry; Very delicate and soulful. Pete's backing vocals are way better than Bobby Whitlock's work with the Dominos, and Steve Winwood's presence was perfect. His piano and organ are very understated and wonderful on "Little Wing" and "Bell Bottom Blues". Eric even steps aside and lets Steve take the lead vocal on "Presence of the Lord" and "Pearly Queen", and Pete even takes a few lead vocal lines on "Tell The Truth". You almost have a Blind Faith reunion if Ginger had showed up, but they were better off with a solid Capaldi on drums, and not the flashy Baker.. The sound quality is not perfect, but it is certainly acceptable. Focus on the historical importance of the night and Eric's fine singing, playing, and supporting cast. Imagine if Jimi had lived longer and been in a two year drug rampage and then showed up for a great show. It reminds me of Bob Dylan coming out of his shell at the Concert for Bangladesh and Isle of Wight. It just must have been great to see Eric again and hear him play and sing so well. I would buy this CD. I am always playing it in my car. "After Midnight" is not that great, but the aforementioned songs deserve repeated listening. Enjoy. Also, go buy Traffic's On The Road if you like Steve on this CD

what a show!!!

this is definetly a great album. pete townshend, ronie wood, and of course clapton playng pretty much clapton's greatest hits together is phenomenal. of course, the guitar is amazing. this is a great album and a great deal 4 just $6.

God or just a man?

If you are a Clapton-is-god type you probably shouldn't be reading reviews so I'll address the rest. I have to admit that despite the fan that I am, I was not as interested in this album without the real life story behind it. If nothing else, listening to this one gives a reminder of the brink at which EC found himself and the power of friendship and mutual respect can have. After giving it a try for those reasons, I have come to love this set of live songs - all star cast notwithstanding. Not the pinnacle of performances, true, but quite good listening in its own right.


Born: March 30, 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

By the time Eric Clapton launched his solo career with the release of his self-titled debut album in mid-1970, he was long established as one of the world's major rock stars due to his group affiliations -- the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Blind Faith -- which had demonstrated his claim to being the best rock guitarist of his generation. That it took Clapton so long to go out on his own, however, was evidence of a degree of reticence unusual for one of his stature. And his debut...
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