Eric Clapton - Four Gentlement at RAH
London, England - January 24, 1990 - EC Is Here - DVD-R2

Comments: Albert Einstein is often claimed to have said "There are only two constants: the expansion of the universe, and human stupidity - and I'm not so sure about the former". The accuracy of this quote is open to debate, but one certainly can't find much wrong with the reasoning, and this DVD is a perfect example of why.

Often, the focus in product liability lawsuits revolves around the principle that designers and manufacturers should take into account what some stupid human might do with the product and design it so that it can't be put to any use that for which it wasn't explicitly intended. The so-called "redbook" audio CD format has caused problems for years because its very nature makes writing problem free CDs somewhat unintuitive because of things like sector boundary concepts and how track information is written. The designers of the DVD format considered these types of issues in the construction of standards, and solved the problem quite simply - a DVD movie is simply stored as a single unit, and seperate chapter points are indexed by the authoring software, so that if a user wants to go forward or backward to a chapter point, the "index" as it were will direct the DVD player to the appropriate frame - it's a great system, everyone's happy, no gaps, no problems.

But of course, the depth of human stupidity being what it is, you know that no matter how well designed something is, and no matter what care is taken - somebody is going to manage to fuck something up. Well, here you go! This DVD is a great example of idiocy in action. Rather than load an entire disc's worth of video into an authoring program, selecting the appropriate chapter points, and building a disc, some genius decided that the way to go was to save each song in its own private file. So now we have a DVD, with no menus, no extras, where the user is unable to skip ahead or back a song - and which has an annoying gap between tracks. Now you have to marvel in amazement at this. With CD audio discs, it can be difficult to create discs without gaps or pauses between the tracks without some knowledge of how the process works. But with DVD videos, it actually requires a lot of work to fuck things up to this level, and in fact would consume far more time than doing it the proper way. This is no casual accident, it took time and effort to screw things up like this - and that's scary. Whoever is responsible for this DVD definitely hails from the shallow of the gene pool. Good grief.

With that said, there's also nothing here to get your panties in a twist about, quality wise. It's simply the EC is Here VHS release that has been transferred, and while that source is better than most, it still suffers from various tracking problems, notably resulting in sound issues as the HiFi tracks pop in and out due to tracking error. Definitely skip this one folks!

This is the raw, unedited footage of the performance. The numbers seen in the lower center of the screen are SMPTE timecode, used to identify each frame for editing purposes. As this is the raw footage, the songs broadcast on English TV and released on "24 Nights" is missing the visual effects added later for those releases. But the real point of interest in this recording is that it is complete, containing songs not found in the other broadcasts, or even in the radio broadcasts such as those later released on CD such as Wonderful Night, Love, Class Blues, or any of the other releases sourced from the radio show. "Breaking Point" and "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (with Phil Collins) are featured here in their entirety.