ERIC CLAPTON - 1987 Royal Albert Hall: Romantic Isolation (2004) [Bootleg, Excellent]
It has become an Eric Clapton tradition to play an extended engagement of shows at the Royal Albert Hall. Normally a time to experiment with different themes and playing with different musicians, this began on the August tour with six shows. Mark Knopfer and Phil Collins on the final two shows joined the band and on January 8th Sting and Steve Winwood joined them onstage for the encores “Money For Nothing” and “Sunshine Of Your Love.” These shows were professionally recorded for a planned live album but Polydor, after releasing the Crossroads boxset and The Cream Of Eric Clapton were concerned about saturating the market with Clapton product. From the last three RAH shows “Miss You” from January 10th and “I Shot The Sheriff”, “Hung Up On Your Love”, “Tearing Us Apart” and “Layla” from January 12th were intended for this project. Poor sounding audience tapes exist for the concerts on January 6th and 8th, but almost complete soundboard did surface for the final three and various labels have utilized the tapes. The EC Is Here label attempted to create this project with The Unreleased Live Album 86/87 which includes “Holy Mother” and “Miss You” from the 10th, “Tearing Us Apart” from the 11th, and “Crossroads,” “White Room,” “Hung Up On Your Love,” and “Layla” from the 12th. The Electric Monkey label released The Unreleased Live Album 1986-87 with “Miss You” from the 10th and “Crossroads” and “White Room” from the 12th. Silver Rarities released the complete January 12th concert on On Tour 87 Parts 1 & 2. All three shows were released on 3 Nights (Zigzag Records) in 1999 and five years later Mid Valley released Romantic Isolation. The Mid Valley covers the same ground as the Zigzag release by presenting the three soundboard recordings in excellent quality but is cleaner than the others and can be considered to be definitive. British rhythm and blues revival act Big Town Playboys are the opening act for each of the nights and Clapton is joined on stage by Mark Knopfler, Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), and on January 10th with Steve Ferrone on drums.
Romantic Isolation is packaged in a six disc fatboy jewel case. A two-sided insert has photographs of the master cassettes used, and the two four page inserts have the track listing and band line ups for each of the three concerts with period photographs. The front and back cover is a bit puzzling with a close up of Clapton’s hair. For those who love the late eighties Clapton, this is a fantastic release worth having.
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