A 'play it often' piece of brilliance,
This review is from: Unplugged (Audio CD)
This really is a very good album. Leading with a few seconds of tuning and audience noise, to confirm that this was performed before a real audience, it moves into the first track, 'Signe', which is an instrumental: two guitars and simplest of backing arrangement. Then the famous 'Before you accuse me', a blues favourite, with the audience clapping in accompaniment. And you're hooked for the next hour.
I could list all the tracks but I won't. They are all excellent, in a performance that has Clapton's characteristic understated style matched with sublime (acoustic) guitar playing. Stand out tracks, not surprisingly, are the acoustic version of 'Layla' and the heart-wrenching 'Tears in Heaven'. I also very much like 'Old Love'. performed here as an extended version over seven minutes with the most remarkable acoustic guitar solo from Clapton at its core earning a deserved cheer from the audience.
The backing band is tight and supportive: Andy Fairweather Low on guitar, Ray Cooper on percussion, Nathan East on bass, Steve Ferrone on drums, Chuck Leavell on keyboards and Katie Kisson and Tessa Niles providing backing vocals.
The thing about the 'Unplugged' series is that it gave the performers nowhere to hide. They could either do their stuff in front of a live audience, and do it well, or they couldn't. As one would expect, with a master of his craft like Eric Clapton, this is an example of doing it and doing it well. This CD is therefore a record of Clapton giving a masterclass in front of a live audience. It is a 'play it often' piece of brilliance. Five stars.