Happy Anniversary: Eric Clapton, 24 Nights

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Happy Anniversary: Eric Clapton, 24 Nights

24 years ago today, Eric Clapton released the audio document of the 42 concerts he performed at the Royal Albert Hall between 1990 and 1991, a run which featured a record-setting 24-night run between February 5 and March 19, 1991, hence the title of the album. Mind you, it's a best-of set rather than a complete audio document of every show, but you probably figured that, anyway, since this is Eric Clapton we're talking about, not the Grateful Dead.

24 Nights features 15 songs recorded on various nights during Clapton's run at the Hall and cover various eras of his career, as evidenced by his performance of Cream's “Badge,” which kicks off the album. “White Room” and “Sunshine of Your Love” also turn up in short order, but they're preceded by “Running on faith,” and Jerry Lynn Williams composition which originally appeared on the Journeyman album. The remainder of the first disc is dedicated to covers, with Clapton turning in performances of Buddy Guy's “Watch Yourself,” Billy Myles' “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” Big Maceo Merriweather's “Worried Life,” and Junior Wells' “Hoodoo Man.” The second disc is decidedly heavier on Clapton-penned tracks, including “Bad Love,” “Old Love,” “Wonderful Tonight,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” and “Edge of Darkness,” but things actually kick off with Journeyman's first single, “Pretending,” so, yeah, if you were wondering, that was indeed the album he was promoting at the time of the tour. Oh, and lest we forget, there's also a great take on Ray Charles' “Hard Times” toward the end of the disc which is well worth hearing.

Like most live albums, 24 Nights may or may not be a must-own, since it ultimately comes down to whether or not you enjoy trying to recapture the concert experience or you prefer sticking to the studio versions, but it's a strong representation of what it's like to hear a Clapton show. It wasn't a huge seller upon its initial release, and its existence was somewhat forgotten when Clapton's MTV Unplugged performance became a defining moment in his career, but it's well worth spinning nonetheless.