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Eric Clapton and His Rolling Hotel (1980)

Eric Clapton and his band toured Europe by train in 1978, and a documentary called "Eric Clapton and his Rolling Hotel" was filmed, but never released. Clapton put his band in a ... See full summary »

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Eric Clapton and his band toured Europe by train in 1978, and a documentary called "Eric Clapton and his Rolling Hotel" was filmed, but never released. Clapton put his band in a three-carriage train, originally at the disposal of Hermann Goering during the Nazi years in Germany, and traveled from town to town on the continent, from one concert to the next. It was an easy way to transport and house the band and equipment, and it offered ample opportunity for interviews, groups interactions, and filming. Clapton talks about his music and his works and peaks the viewers interest with stories about musicians like Hendrix and George Harrison. The interviews are supplemented with performances by Muddy waters, Elton John and George Harrison, as well as Clapton and his band. Tracks featured are Cocaine, Further On Up The Road, Lay Down Sally, Tulsa Time, Worried Life Blues, Early in the Morning, Badge, Wonderful Tonight, Key to the Highway, Double Trouble, Crossroads and Layla.

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A rare gem! For any fan of Clapton and Rock 'n' Roll
20 April 2004 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

"In 1979 Eric Clapton put his band in a three-carriage train and traveled from town to town throughout Europe, from one concert to the next. It was an easy way to transport and house the band and its equipment, and it offered ample opportunity for interviews, group interactions, and filming. Clapton talks about his music and his work and peaks the viewer's interest with stories about musicians like Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison. Interviews are balanced with performances by Muddy Waters, Elton John, and George Harrison, as well as Clapton and his band in full concert."

This extremely rare (and sought after) film is not great, but it is very interesting and revealing. The film acts as a very good and non-glamerous portrait of a band on the road and captures Clapton at the height of his alcohol addiction. It paints a very unflattering picture of the rock legend who is intoxicated for the entire film. At one point Clapton and his crew play a very cruel joke on a French journalist who interviews and photographs Eric's American security guard Larry Mcneny, believing him to be Clapton.

The highlights of the film are the alcohol influenced interviews with the fragile and insecure guitarist. In them he talks about his career, his relationship with Patti Boyd and the writing of the song `Layla' (which Patti herself also comments on). The most revealing and beautifully "real" moments of the documentary come when Clapton speaks in-depth about the night that Jimi Hendrix died and his anger toward Hendrix for leaving him all alone in this world. He also discusses his audiences, their response to his music and the insecurities he feels when they walk out while he is playing.

As I already stated, this is not a great film, but it does show a side of rock 'n' roll and more specifically Clapton that most people don't get to see. A completely open and sympathetic Clapton, as well as rare concert footage, make this documentary a must for any fan.


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