When Eric Clapton Surprised With Electric ‘Layla’ at Tokyo’s Budokan

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Eric Clapton performed his first concert of 2019 on Saturday night, April 13, with the first of five shows at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan. Of note was the return of an electric version of “Layla” which, for years, Clapton has performed acoustically, mid-set, while seated.

As of that date, Slowhand had played the legendary venue a reported 96 times in his career. On opening night, he performed a 16-song set that featured many blues covers (“I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Before You Accuse Me”) that he’s recorded and performed during his career.

Clapton included many classic rock songs like “Wonderful Tonight” and “Badge” that have been part of his DNA for decades. Missing, however, were such staples as “White Room” and “Lay Down Sally,” as well as “The Core,” from 1977’s Slowhand album, which he revived for the first time in decades for several 2018 performances.

Clapton, with Bramhall and East, at Tokyo’s Budokan, April 13, 2019

For the Budokan encore, “Cocaine,” he was joined onstage by John Mayer. (Watch it below.)

The Tokyo, London, and European dates feature Clapton’s regular seven-piece band: Doyle Bramhall II (guitar), Paul Carrack (keyboards), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Nathan East (bass), Sonny Emory (drums), and vocalists Sharon White and Katie Kissoon.

[In 2018, he had just five ticketed events, including his July 8 headlining performance in London’s Hyde Park as part of the British Summer Time series. Though he announced several years ago that his touring days are over, he surprised his fans with news of a European tour for 2020. It’s since been moved to 2022, due to the pandemic. Tickets are available here and here.]

Watch electric “Layla”

And just for good measure, here’s an alternate view of the same performance, once the camera comes into focus.

Two nights later, it was back to acoustic “Layla.”

Eric Clapton, Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan, April 13, 2019 Setlist

Pretending
Key to the Highway
(I Wanna) Make Love to You
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
I Shot the Sheriff
Driftin’ Blues
Running on Faith
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Tears in Heaven
Layla
Badge
Wonderful Tonight
Crossroads
Little Queen of Spades
Before You Accuse Me

Watch Clapton, with John Mayer, perform “Cocaine”

Encore
Cocaine

Watch Clapton and his band perform “Badge” and “Wonderful Tonight” at the residency’s second concert on April 15.

Related: Links for 100s of classic rock tours

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