ME & MR JOHNSON 2004
I have been very happy to see and hear EC again, after he had announced his retirement from the big tours during the REPTILE-tour. The tickets have been sold for the major part on a one-day pre-sale directly at the Festhalle, therefore only the rest came into the normal trade... TO BE FAST was mega-in this time. We had been able to send a friend of Sylvia to it, who got us 4 tickets (more were not allowed each person anyway).
It's been a fantastic concert with some really terrific moments (among others the solo of I SHOT THE SHERIFF), powerful ROBERT JOHNSON songs, superb co-operation of the two guitarists ERIC and DOYLE BRAMHALL II. And especially this Doyle Eric let very much solistic space. Doyle (he had such a huge effectboard with him, that it must be carried by two people), sounded partly as EC himself 30 years ago, during the times of the Dominos. Actually the two of them had been the lynchpin of the entire concert.
Eric once more had a night when he was not in Wah-Wah mood at all, although it was lying there ready for use. The only thing he used was the pedalboard to switch his Fender amplifier and the Leslie. He can run the Fender stand-alone, the Leslie stand-alone or both combined. Very good to hear (if I had been on the qui vive right) again at BADGE. Both are in operation during the verses, for the guitar-solos only the Fender and the bridges always after the short breaks are Leslie pure. :-o)
BILLY PRESTON on the Hammond organ/piano and CHRIS STAINTON on other keyboards/piano had their moments, apart from that they took them self back and gave the harmonic groundwork, the base for the two gitarreros, rhythmically kept together absolutely tight by EC's favorite drummer, STEVE GADD (an icon himself in the drummer's world) and the senior-member of the band at all bass-player NATHAN EAST. Nathan is on board since 1986 !!! with a short interruption in the mid 90ties. As far as I know no other musician ever stayed that long in EC's band.
Not bad, but though a bit sallow I saw the two female background singer, SHARON WHITE and MICHELLE JOHN, who additionally had been dressed up somehow unfitting (also in the word's actual sense) in Frankfurt. I have bitterly missed the dream-duo KATIE KISSOON and TESSA NILES.
The musically weak point has been CHANGE THE WORLD. This song didn't fit at all to the rest of the pretty heavy, old-fashioned-rocking-bluesing setlist and somehow also had been played half-hearted... in contrast to the last tour. It's been the only song for which he took the acoustic-guitar, but already for the end-solo again exchanged against the Stratocaster CRASH#3. Like TEARS IN HEAVEN was not included this time CTW also should have been allowed to take a brake and instead put in maybe one more R.J.-no.
Anyway, it's been like it's been...and liked it very much.
Also this time the warm-up act "ROBERT RANDOLPHF & THE FAMILY BAND" appealed to myself brilliant. The second time no boring during the warm-up group. An unbelievable pedal-steel-guitarist... he rocked the house already pretty good and returned to EC onto the stage later on for two encores.
© Oktober 2016 Pit Schmidt