Eric Clapton ends his 1985 North American tour in Vancouver, Duck Dunn proclaims “GODDAMN!”

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 2, 1985

By Steve Newton

“Here’s one from 1967,” said Eric Clapton at the Coliseum last Saturday (July 26). “I hope you recognize it.” Then he launched into “White Room”, a hit from his days with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker in the power trio Cream. And obviously a good number of the 8,000 or so fans did recognize it. The song, which first appeared on Cream’s ’68 LP Wheels of Fire, drew heavy applause, and even had some dancing in the aisles. But it was only one of many high points in a concert that was full of golden oldies and brand new tunes.

After an opening set by Graham Parker & the Shot, there was a short intermission (so short I barely had time to grab a hot dog–which was nice for a change), and songs by the Blues Brothers were run through the P.A. Then Eric took the stage and headed straight into “Tulsa Time”, a rollicking country-rocker from his Slowhand period.

“An old reggae song,” followed, Clapton’s version of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff”. A couple of tunes from his new album Behind the Sun came next, “Same Old Blues” and “Tangled in Love”. After the surprise of “White Room”, Clapton lit up a smoke and handed the stage over to one of his backup vocalists, Shaun Murphy, who sang a traipsey 12-bar blues called “While You Were Steppin’ Out (Somebody Was Steppin’ In”).

Back in the spotlight, Eric drew appreciative hollers for his tender love ballad “Wonderful Tonight”, then played “She’s Waiting”, the opening track of his new LP. Clapton’s other support vocalist, Marcy Levy, then slowed things down with a stirring version of the Beatles’ “She Loves You”. Levy, a longtime collaborator with Clapton (she cowrote his hit “Lay Down Sally”) showed remarkable vocal dexterity on the tune, and was accompanied by the subtle keyboardings of another Clapton vet, Chris Stainton.

Another Beatles connection–and another surprise–was thrown in when Clapton played “Badge”, a song he wrote with George Harrison for Cream’s Goodbye record of 1969. Second guitarist Tim Renwick was allowed to take one of his few solos of the night, and then “Badge” sequed into another classic Clapton tune, “Let It Rain”.

A lengthy version of Jimmy Reed’s “Tin Pan Alley” followed, and then it was time for J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine”, which was a massive hit for Clapton when he covered it on Slowhand. The crowd sang along whenever the word “cocaine” came up, and Eric injected the song with one of his patented wah-wah solos.

For what was probably the most popular song of the night, Clapton took us back to 1972 for Derek & the Dominos’ “Layla”. Arguably one of the best rock songs ever written, it was followed by an encore of his latest hit, “Forever Man”, and with that the crowd surged to the front of the stage–the burly bouncers retreated behind its wooden barricade.

Singers Levy and Murphy returned to the stage clad in the scantiest of black petticoats, causing bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn to proclaim “GODDAMN!”, and while three crew members circled the stage in F-Troop uniforms, Clapton–between mile-wide grins–managed “Further On Up the Road”. It was the last date of his 1985 North American tour, and a time for celebration. It was also his first local appearance in four years, and that was reason enough for his Vancouver fans to join in.

 

To hear the audio of the interview I did with Duck Dunn before the show subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:

Steve Hackett from Genesis, 1993
Grace Potter, 2008
Buddy Guy, 1993
Steve Lynch of Autograph, 1985
Don Wilson of the Ventures, 1997
Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar, 1998
Trevor Rabin of Yes, 1984
Albert Lee, 1986
Yngwie Malmsteen, 1985
Robert Cray, 1996
Tony Carey, 1984
Ian Hunter, 1988
Kate Bush, 1985
Jeff Healey, 1988
Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi, 1993
Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues, 1986
Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Roy Buchanan, 1988
Klaus Meine of Scorpions, 1988
Jason Bonham, 1989
Tom Johnston of the Doobie Brothers, 1991
Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, 1985
Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash, 2003
Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, 1990
Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, 1984
Davy Knowles of Back Door Slam, 2007
Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel, 1986
Steve Stevens of Atomic Playboys, 1989
Billy Idol, 1984
Stuart Adamson of Big Country, 1993
Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, 1992
Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
John Bell of Widespread Panic, 1992
Robben Ford, 1993
Barry Hay of Golden Earring, 1984
Jason Isbell, 2007
Joe Satriani, 1990
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
Zakk Wylde of Pride & Glory, 1994
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
J.J. Cale, 2009
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
Stu Hamm, 1991
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998
Dickey Betts, 2001

….with hundreds more to come

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