Eric Clapton has been making music for the better part of his life, going all the way back to his teen years. That is a very long time. Throughout the course of his career as a musician, he has played with some of the biggest acts and names in the business. But as audiences learn in his new tour documentary Eric Clapton: Planes, Trains, and Eric Clapton may be eyeing slowing down or even retirement in whole as he nears his seventieth birthday. It is sad news that one of the greatest talents to ever pick up a guitar may be putting it down in the not too distant future. But when that day does come, at least audiences will have a whole room’s worth of music that he has recorded over the course of his career. They will also have plenty of live recordings to look back on including this latest one, which was released just this week. Eric Clapton: Planes, Trains, and Eric was released this week via Eagle Rock Entertainment. It was released alongside another archived live recording from Eagle Rock in the form of From The Vault—The Rolling Stones: Hampton Coliseum Live in 1981. Clapton’s new live recording is one that his fans new and old alike will appreciate for a number of reasons, first of which being the overall presentation. The overall presentation is one part documentary and one part live concert. The balance between the two elements is something truly important to note. Keeping on that line of thought, the documentary element and the live element both make the overall presentation will impact audiences in the best way possible. Last but not least of all are the collective production values of the presentation’s live element. It is just as impressive as any full live recording that Eagle Rock Entertainment has previously released. The end result of these factors together is a work that is not just some space filler for fans. It is a work that expertly presents what could be the beginning of the end for one of the greatest names and talents in music’s modern history. If it is indeed the beginning of the end, this this is a wonderful way to remember a great musician and his equally great career. It proves in the end to be one more example of why Eagle Rock Entertainment is still to this day, the leader in live recordings.
Tour documentaries are releases used far too often by record labels and those on their rosters. More often than not, tour documentaries are little more than pieces used for the purpose of fulfilling contractual obligations (I.E. space fillers). It’s pretty obvious with the recordings in question when they are used as nothing but space fillers. They are slapdash productions with guerilla style filming and little snippets of songs tossed in for good measure. The end result is more often than not rather disappointing and hardly worth consumers’ hard-earned money. Luckily for Eric Clapton’s fans, Eric Clapton: Planes, Trains, and Eric is anything but another of that mass of space fillers. Rather it is the polar opposite of those space fillers. It expertly balances Clapton’s live performances from his tour of Asia and the Middle East with personal interview segments to make a whole that will keep audiences fully engaged from start to finish. Rather than just throwing in a bunch of concert snippets alongside the tour documentary, audiences are presented with a grand total of twelve full live performances from different points of his tour earlier this year. The recording’s final two songs are also full songs, used almost as a form of encore of sorts for audiences. On the documentary side, audiences get short glimpses into his travels across Asia and the Middle East. Interviews with Clapton himself, his family, and his fellow musicians make up the majority of the documentary side of the presentation. Both they and the songs in the presentation’s live side are collectively the next part of what makes this new recording another welcome addition to any Clapton fan’s personal collection.
The balance of the live and documentary element in Eric Clapton’s new “docu-concert” is the cornerstone of the presentation’s overall success and enjoyment. Both elements were expertly balanced from start to finish. And both were just as expertly recorded. It’s more proof even here why Eagle Rock Entertainment is the leader in live recordings. This company releases nothing but the best possible product for audiences even in a setting such as this. It’s not the only way in which the presentation here shines. Both elements by themselves offer their own enjoyment for audiences. On the side of the live performances, audiences are offered no fewer than a dozen great songs plus two “encore” performances. Among those great songs is the likes of: ‘Layla,’ ‘Before You Accuse Me,’ ‘Wonderful Tonight,’ and one of his greatest of hits, ‘Cocaine’ among many others. Audiences will love how many of the performances naturally progress from performances to full on jam sessions. While they are separate segments, the end result of those performances makes themjust as enjoyable as a full concert in one single setting.
The performances selected for Eric Clapton’s new “docu-concert” recording are by themselves more than enough reason for audiences to check out the presentation contained here. They aren’t just snippets shot by some amateur. Rather they are full, professionally recorded performances. On the presentation’s documentary side, interviews with Clapton’s family, fellow musicians and with Clapton himself add quite a bit of insight into Clapton, his career past and present, and especially his potential future plans. Audiences will be moved at the appreciation that everybody has for Clapton both as a musician and as a person; so much so that it is sure to move some to both tears and laughter more than once throughout the course of the presentation. It’s one more way that the overall presentation proves to be a welcome addition to any Clapton fan’s personal collection.
The balance of Eric Clapton: Planes, Trains, and Eric’s documentary element and concert element alone makes the “docu-concert” quite enjoyable in its own right. The very material that makes up each of the two elements adds even more enjoyment to the overall presentation. The last but hardly last aspect of the presentation that audiences will appreciate is the audio and video mix of the presentation’s concert element. It has already been noted before that one reason Eagle Rock Entertainment has maintained the mantle of being the leader in live recordings for so long is the value it puts on quality production values in its recordings. This recording is no different. Even with the performances coming from various portions of Clapton’s tour of Asia and the Middle East, the production values never waver from one performance to the next. It is the finishing touch on a recording that is not just a concert recording or just another space filler tour documentary. It is the best of both worlds with the best possible presentation. The end product is a presentation that every fan of Eric Clapton will enjoy and one more work that shows once more why Eagle Rock Entertainment remains today the Leader in Live Recordings.
Eric Clapton: Planes, Trains, and Eric is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. It is available both in stores and online. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at
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