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Eagle Eye Media presents
Eric Clapton & Friends: Live 1986 (1986)

"Thank you, Birmingham! We love you!"
- Eric Clapton

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: February 12, 2004

Stars: Eric Clapton
Other Stars: Phil Collins, Greg Phillinganes, Nathan East
Director: Gavin Taylor

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 00h:58m:50s
Release Date: September 23, 2003
UPC: 801213902194
Genre: rock

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- BC+A- D+

DVD Review

Recorded live in Birmingham, England, on July 15th, 1986, this DVD shows Eric Clapton after several decades as a warrior of rock, but before his MTV Unplugged album made him a Grammy darling. This hour-long set shows him and his pals flush with the success of Live Aid, which was in the not-too-distant past; the set is a mixture of old standards and the new stuff, from what at that time was Clapton's forthcoming album, August. Of course we want to hear a greatest hits set; and of course Clapton wants to play his newest tunes. So what's here is sort of a grab bag, with some memorable songs, and some rather forgettable ones. (I held the high hope that the Miss You in the set was a Rolling Stones cover; no such luck. Other hand: even if it's shopworn, it's always good to hear Layla again.) This is from the time when Clapton was a ubiquitous presence on Michelob commercials, and shortly before one of his songs from the same period, It's In The Way That You Use It, would propel Paul Newman to billiards glory in The Color of Money—there's enough of the classic Clapton here to keep even the casual fan happy.

He's backed by Greg Phillinganes and Nathan East, and sitting in on drums is Phil Collins—as Clapton says, Collins's presence gives the audience "a chance to hear that song again," In The Air Tonight, surely one of the most overplayed and overrated songs of the 1980s. There's no mistaking the period, either, with the clothes and hairstyles—Collins's mullet is especially unfortunate, and given his Hawaiian shirt and Clapton's linen suit with a T underneath, you could mistake the two British rockers for a cut-rate Crockett and Tubbs.

But still, the music is fairly solid, and while by the looks of things, they're playing a huge venue, the four musicians sound tight. Here's the set list:

White Room
Miss You
Tearing Us Apart
Holy Mother
In the Air Tonight
Sunshine of Your Love

Neither Clapton nor any of the others have much to say to the audience, or one another, but you've got to appreciate a bunch of rock musicians who take their bows with the Junior Birdman goggles salute.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The concert seems to have been recorded on video, and hence the image is way too contrasty; also, the glare from the stage lights is present at the top of many of the shots, which can be very distracting on your television. The transfer is adequate and workmanlike.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Things sound a lot better than they look, and at times you may think that this DVD has reinvented radio. The DTS track sounds especially rich and full, though the 5.1 track sounds fair enough, as well. And even if your home theater setup isn't tricked out with a family room full of speakers, things will sound just fine with the 2.0 track. The transfer has been well done, though the limits of the recording equipment at the concert are evident, especially at the high end of the spectrum.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 9 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. insert booklet with musicians' biographies and liner notes by Roger Newell
Extras Review: Chapter stops are for each song, and the accompanying liner notes are brief but informative.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

A fairly solid hour of rock, representative of Clapton's output from the 1980s. It may not have been his most artistically fertile period, but this is still an entertaining and professional set.


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