Eric Clapton Live at Montreux 1986
starring Eric Clapton and Phil Collins
Eagle Rock Entertainment
By 1986, Eric Clapton had reached such a state of Rock Godheadness that he only need crawl out of bed to sell out anything from a dive bar to Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately, he also became a bit boring. His songs are excellent, his guitar shoots sparks and bleeds tears, and you should expect nothing less. But that’s the problem with perfection — you can’t twist the knob to 11 anymore.
Clapton brings along a few of his friends — Phil Collins, as well as the lesser-known but still outstanding Nathan East and Greg Phillinganes. They play the greatest hits of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s: “White Room”, “Badge", “In the Air Tonight”, “Cocaine”, and “Layla.” Each of these is Hall of Fame Material, each done as well as a live performance can rise to, and each ultimately sounding a little “been there, seen it, done it.”
I hate to praise with faint damnation, but while I love Cream, the Yardbirds, and Genesis, I found myself drifting off more than once during this 2-hour concert. Live concerts trade crowd energy for technical perfection, and while this show is about as perfect as a live show can be, it still seems more a shrine rather than an exploration of “where can we push to next?” The band plays on a small stage decorated with Keith Haring graphics while a pair of camera men sneak around getting close-ups of Eric making chords and Phil Collins’ poor drumming posture.
There are no extra features or interviews on the disc, the insert is brief and oriented toward cross-selling other concert DVDs, but you can select from PCM stereo, Dolby 5.1, and DTS digital surround. The sound quality is excellent, and while not HD, the video ranks up there with any mid-’80s recordings. It’s a decent value, and a must have for the Clapton fan.