The Dark Horse Years 1976-1992
Part Six: Live in Japan
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2004, Volume 11, #12
Written by John Metzger
Live in Japan
On paper, the concept of George Harrison and Eric Clapton joining forces to resurrect numerous nuggets from The Beatles’ repertoire as well as to rattle around within Harrison’s solo canon appeared to be a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, while the results were solidly soulful, they also proved to be a little disappointing. Granted, when the duo embarked on a tour of Japan in 1991, Harrison had not performed in concert for 17 years, and his return to the stage was a reluctant one that was accomplished only at Clapton’s insistence. Throughout the souvenir set Live in Japan, one can hear the hesitancy with which Harrison approached some of his material, although there are also hints that perhaps something greater could have developed, if only the project had persisted for a longer period of time. Even so, there were many notable moments, such as the R&B- flavored flourishes that filled Cloud 9; the blues-y undercurrents that graced Something; the brief, but biting guitar interlude in All Those Years Ago; the fun-filled romp through Roll over Beethoven; and the urgency lent to Taxman, I Want to Tell You, and Old Brown Shoe. Still, the alterations between the songs as they appeared in concert and their studio-captured counterparts were mostly innocuous, designed to make the arrangements arena-friendly without offending fans. In essence, this gave the renditions an underlying problem of being far too tasteful, polite, and restrained, especially considering that two exquisite guitarists were sharing the same stage. Indeed, the interjections from Clapton and Harrison came exactly where one might have anticipated them. For the most part, each was relegated to providing short riffs and solos rather than anything that probed deeply into the material, and when either instrumentalist did cut loose, the journey would end just as it was about to stumble into something interesting. Consequently, as a concert, Live in Japan works by placing a different and enjoyable spin upon a variety of classic songs. As a concert album, however, it’s merely a mediocre affair that is tainted by the promise of what might have been, had the duo engaged each other in true musical conversation.
This is the first installment of a seven-part series, which will examine each
album in The Dark Horse Years 1976–1992. The entire boxed set is rated: ½
Of Further Interest...
Live in Japan is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
This album is also part of the box set
The Dark Horse Years 1976–1992 is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box