Film reivew: Eric Clapton – Across 24 Nights: Video

In 1990 and in 1991 Eric Clapton played 24 nights at the Royal Albert Hall performing with different line-ups and sets featuring Blues, Rock, and a full Orchestra.

The performances have become legendary to Eric Clapton fans. Over thirty years later this film, edited from the original footage and completely remastered in Dolby Surround Sound, captures for the first time the definitive performances across all the sets over both years. The film features 17 hits from across his repertoires showing Clapton at his most exhilarating, collaborating with top musicians.

Eric Clayton’s now-legendary 24-show runs at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1990 and 1991 have been turned into the epic concert film Across 24 Nights that’s about to be released theatrically May 17th, 2023.

The film gives Clapton fans around the world the chance to experience the best moments of those glorious nights on the big screen for the first time ever. These performances, featuring blues, rock, and orchestral sets, are some of the most ambitious concerts of Clapton’s long career. They capture many of his most famous songs in a variety of musical settings ranging from a four-piece band to Britain’s National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by legendary composer Michael Kamen. Everyone involved contributes to the process of adding fresh shades of color and musicality to the material chosen for these gigs and they may well come to be seen as the finest shows Slowhand ever played.

The film was directed by David Barnard (The Lady in the Balcony) and produced for Bushbranch Studios by Peter Worsley (Slowhand at 70, The Lady in the Balcony). It was edited from the original footage and remastered in Dolby ATMOS and 5.1 Surround Sound to give Clapton-heads the ultimate cinematic concert experience possible.

Across 24 Nights audio producer and Clapton’s long-time musical collaborator Simon Climie said “We have completely remixed the audio for the concerts in Dolby Atmos from scratch as well as editing and re-grading the film from original rushes that we found. It’s been quite a journey, and we are excited for the fans to hear these remarkable performances – often called the Holy Grail for the Eric Clapton fan – in Immersive Sound – in the cinema for the first time.”

In addition, Warner Records will release The Definitive 24 Nights as limited-edition boxed sets including nearly six hours of live music and 35 unreleased performances on June 23rd. The sets will be available as either six CDs or eight LPs and 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. Standalone versions of the individual concerts will also be available.

Special guests abound on Across 24 Nights and heavyweight talents including Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, Jimmie Vaughan, and Phil Collins. Regular Clapton sidemen like bassist Nathan East and keyboardist Gregg Phillinganes also help bring the heat and make these performances special.

Every song and setting contained in the film gives us EC at his creative peak. The full-orchestral version of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads” that opens the film is worth the ticket price all on its own. It’s a song that will always be identified with Clapton’s Cream days but this total reimagining of it with the orchestra almost turns it into a new tune. Clapton’s vocals and playing are expressive in just the right way for the mood of the performance and he allows the orchestra to bring out shades of meaning and emphasis that are mesmerizing.

“I Shot The Sheriff” is treated to a total synth-and-guitar funk rearrangement that you won’t identify until Eric hits the lead vocal. It’s completely different from Clapton’s 70s cover of this Bob Marley gem and, like any great song, stands up perfectly well to all of the changes. Phil Collins plays drums here and reminds us all how good he actually is underneath his often light-hearted public persona. East and Phillinganes lock it down on bass and keys and make this a big win for the four-piece lineup.

Cream’s “White Room” gets an energized take that harkens back to Clapton’s early years of stardom. He plays it like the straight-up rock song that it is and makes it a perfect moment for lovers of his 60s work. His Strat tone is gritty and articulate, filling the room with blues-based power. He achieves equal altitude with a host of his best-known tracks, including “Wonderful Tonight,” “Layla,” and “Cocaine.”

Across 24 Nights reaffirms Clapton’s legacy and influence by giving us front-row seats for one of his mightiest eras.

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