Limited edition box set expands 1991 collection with hours of unreleased performances
Warner Records has released Eric Clapton’s previously unreleased 1991 rock performance of “Knockin’ On Heavens Door” at The Royal Albert Hall. The reggae-infused song includes Phil Collins on drums and will be included on the upcoming album The Definitive 24 Nights out June 23rd.
Clapton fans will also have the opportunity to experience the excitement of the legendary Royal Albert Hall concerts on the big screen as Unique X and Iconic Events present the Across 24 Nights cinema event globally. Edited from the original footage and remastered in Dolby ATMOS and 5.1 Surround Sound, Across 24 Nights will bring fans together to celebrate the ultimate musical event cinema experience. Encore screenings will begin May 21st.
The Royal Albert Hall is Eric Clapton’s home away from home in London and he has performed there over 200 times, more than any other artist. He also holds the record for the longest run of concerts at the venue as he performed 24 of his most ambitious concerts there in 1991. Each night featured him performing a career-spanning set with one of three lineups – a rock band, a blues band, or an orchestra conducted by Michael Kamen. Kamen previously worked with Clapton on the Lethal Weapon soundtracks, plus the TV show Edge of Darkness. Before his untimely passing in 2003, Kamen had become a leading film & TV composer, with X-Men, Die Hard & Band of Brothers among his many credits.
To commemorate Clapton’s record-setting run at The Royal Albert Hall in London, he released 24 Nights in October 1991. The double live album and home video delivered great performances but only covered a fraction of what was filmed and recorded. That’s about to change as Warner Records will release The Definitive 24 Nights on June 23rd. All the audio and video included in The Definitive 24 Nights was painstakingly restored and upgraded by Clapton’s team of Simon Climie (audio production and mixing), producer Peter Worsley (Slowhand at 70 and The Lady In The Balcony), and director David Barnard (The Lady In The Balcony).
Available as limited edition boxed sets as either 6 CDs or 8 LPs, both versions come with three Blu-ray discs for the video content, a hardbound book, and an individually numbered lithograph featuring a photograph of Clapton by Carl Studna. This limited edition boxed set includes nearly six hours of live music, and 36 unreleased performances. The collection distills Clapton’s 1990-91 Albert Hall residencies using the best performances from the rock, blues, and orchestral nights to create full concerts for each genre.
Clapton surrounded himself with superlative musicians for the performances on The Definitive 24 Nights. The roster includes greats like Johnnie Johnson, Jimmie Vaughan, Chuck Leavell, Phil Collins, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Nathan East, Greg Phillinganes, Steve Ferrone, Ray Cooper, and Jerry Portnoy.
For the rock concert, Clapton played many of his classic songs including “Sunshine Of Your Love,” “Can’t Find My Way Home,” “Layla,” and “Wonderful Tonight.” Covers of “Crossroads”, and a reggae version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” with Phil Collins on drums are highlights. Clapton also featured several tracks from his most recent studio album (1989’s Journeyman), including the hits “Pretending,” “Running On Faith,” and “Bad Love.”
With Clapton aided by special guests Buddy Guy, Albert Collins and Robert Cray, the blues concert delivered a master class in the genre with ripping versions of standards like “Key To The Highway,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Black Cat Bone,” and “Reconsider Baby.”
The orchestral concert is the most unique of the collection. For those performances, Clapton’s nine-piece band was joined by the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by legendary composer Michael Kamen. The collaboration resulted in stunning arrangements for “Layla,” “White Room,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Lay Down Sally,” and more.
The biggest highlight from the orchestral concert – and possibly the entire boxed set – is the previously unreleased 30-minute epic, “Concerto For Guitar.” Kamen composed the piece especially for Clapton, which made its live debut at Albert Hall. In the set’s liner notes, music journalist David Fricke writes about the version included in the collection: “Near the halfway mark in this 1991 reading, [Clapton] takes off on guitar as if he has the rest of Cream at his heels – at once precisely melodic and jubilantly unhinged – as Kamen echoes that ferment in the strings and brass.”