Eric Clapton Royal Albert Hall London 14th May 2015
Support: Andy Fairweather Low & the Low Riders
Going to see Eric Clapton is like visiting an old friend. You know what to expect; an evening of quality music, great guitar solos, a few ballads and the blues. No surprises. Eric is 70 and is celebrating the occasion with a residency at his favourite venue, the Royal Albert Hall. His old mate Andy Fairweather Low offered friendly support and warmed us all up with a class set of blues, and solo and Amen Corner hits including “Reggae Tune”, “Wide Eyed and Legless” and “(If Paradise Is) Half as Nice”. After a short interval, Clapton wandered on stage and the birthday party started. We even sang “Happy Birthday” to him. High points were some of the best solos I’ve seen him play, a great version of “Crossroads”, “Can’t Find my Way Home” with bass player Nathan on vocals and an excellent version of “You are so Beautiful” with Paul Carrack singing. Yes, I would have liked to see him play “Sunshine” or “Badge” and the electric (rather than the unplugged) version of “Layla”; but then you can’t always have what you want. And this was Eric’s birthday, and his party, so of course it was fine that he played just exactly what he wanted to play. The programme told me that this could be the last time. My guess is that Eric won’t be able to resist playing again now and then. Hope so. Happy birthday E C.
Spent the night at David’s and then up at 5.45am to catch the early train back “up north”.
Band lineup: Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals; Chris Stainton – piano, keyboards; Paul Carrack – organ, keyboards, vocals; Nathan East – bass; Steve Gadd – drums; Michelle John & Sharon White – backing vocals
Set list: Somebody knocking; Key to the highway; Pretending; Hoochie coochie man; You are so beautiful (Paul Carrack vocals); Can’t find my way home (Nathan East vocals); I shot the sheriff; Driftin’; Nobody knows you when you’re down and out; Tears in heaven; Layla; Before you accuse me; Wonderful tonight; Let it rain; Crossroads; Little queen of spades; Cocaine
Encore: High time we went (Paul Carrack vocals, with guest Andy Fairweather Low)
Archive for the ‘Eric Clapton’ Category
Eric Clapton Royal Albert Hall London 14th May 2015
Elton John Knebworth 1990
The next time I saw Elton John was on a multi-act bill at Knebworth in 1990. This was the Silver Clef Award Winners Concert and had an amazing line-up including Pink Floyd, Cliff Richard & Genesis; The Shadows, Tears for Fears, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant (with guest Jimmy Page), and Status Quo. Pretty strong bill! I won a pair of free tickets in a competition; I think is was with KitKat, and Marie and I went down for the weekend. This was a great concert, which deserves a blog post of its own. I’ll save that for another day, and limit my reflections today to Elton’s part of the day. Some of the acts such as Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd got to play pretty full sets, but most of the other bands were limited to a few songs. Elton played three of his own songs: Sacrifice; Sad Songs; and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, and also jammed with Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler, playing Sunshine of Your Love and possibly a couple of more songs. Pretty sure Ray Cooper was also in the band.
Eric Clapton Manchester Arena May 14th 2013
Support from Gary Clark Jr
Great performance by Eric Clapton last night at Manchester Arena. The set was a mix of classics from throughout his career, featuring electric and acoustic sets and some great guitar work. I arrived at the Arena just after 7.30pm and Gary Clark Jr was on stage. Not wanting to disturb people, I watched some of his set from the back of the massive arena. His style was similar to Clapton and he delivered a pretty good set of blues songs to a full arena. His set was short and after a quick break Clapton was on stage just after 8.30pm. The short break gave me a chance to slip into my seat. I’d bought a ticket a couple of days before the show when some new tickets were released and managed to score a spot in the front middle block, ten rows from the stage. Its some years since I’ve been so close to the front at a Clapton show. Eric’s band is excellent, and features Paul Carrack this time around, and some excellent slide guitar from Greg Liesz. My own view is that Clapton has been on great form for several years now. His show represents the blends of style that he has engaged with over the years, from the blues guitar with which he made his name, through acoustic country/folk, and with a smattering of the secret crooner that has crept through over the years. Thinking of the latter (Eric the crooner that is) I remember the first time I saw Clapton at Hammersmith in 1974 he opened with Chaplin’s Smile, which I thought very strange at the time. Since then he has played quite a few standards, including tracks like The Folks That Live on the Hill, and Goodnight Irene, both of which feature on his latest album Old Sock. Now ten years ago, I would have cringed at hearing Clapton sing those songs. But now they have become some of the my favourites. I am not sure if it is because I am older, or because Eric has mellowed into an older jazz/blues singer; its probably a bit of both. But I drove down to Manchester listening to Old Sock, and really enjoyed it. Goodnight Irene featured in last nights set, and sounded just great. I’ve even got used to the acoustic version of Layla, and hold on I actually really like it! Highlights for me were a great version of Badge, which now returns to the song after the strange sudden ending which I always felt wasn’t quite right since I first heard in when I bought Goodbye Cream on the day it came out; Blues Power, a great song that I had all but forgotten, Crossroads, and closer Cocaine. Peter Kay (!) came on stage for the encore, encouraging us to shout for more, and joining Clapton for Sunshine of Your Love, playing a mock guitar made out of two shovels (which he played behind his head and with his teeth) and singing a couple of verses. Great stuff! Oh and I haven’t really mentioned Eric’s guitar playing! Actually it was excellent; probably not as full on as it used to be, and second guitarist Doyle Bramhall II takes quite a few of the solos (and he too is also excellent), but when Eric did turn it up as he did during Badge, Crossroads and the classics his playing was as great as I had ever seen. Indeed he was using tone, distortion, volume and wah wah to great effect and more than I have seen for some time. I was sharp out of the arena during the last song (sorry Eric, but I did have a 130 mile home, and it was getting of for 11pm) into the car park and off across the M62 and up the A1. I was back at 1am. A great gig from a true master who just gets better and better.. Setlist (something like): Hello Old Friend; My Father’s Eyes; Tell The Truth; Gotta Get Over; Black Cat Bone; Got to Get Better in a Little While; Come Rain or Come Shine (Paul Carrack on lead vocals); Badge. Acoustic set. Driftin’ Blues; Goodnight Irene; It Ain’t Easy (Paul Carrack on lead vocals); Layla; Tears in Heaven; Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out; Lay Down Sally. Back to Electric. Blues Power; Love in Vain; Crossroads; Little Queen of Spades; Cocaine. Encore: Sunshine of Your Love (with Peter Kay on crazy guitar); High Time We Went. Band: Doyle Bramhall II – guitar; Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar; Chris Stainton – piano, keyboards; Paul Carrack – organ, keyboards; Willie Weeks – bass; Steve Jordan – drums; Michelle John – backing vocals; Sharon White – backing vocals.
The Who play Quadrophenia with Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Alanis Morissette Hyde Park 29th June 1996
This was a great gig, with a very strong line-up. The concert was in support of the Princes Trust and was the first time that The Who had played in the UK for some years. I went with Marie, largely to see The Who; however the presence of Dylan and Clapton on the bill made the event all the more attractive, and the price of £8 seemed a bargain. We spent the weekend in London, staying at a Hotel close to Hyde Park Corner. Around 150,000 people were at this concert, and the weather wasn’t great; it was quite a cold day. I don’t remember much about Alanis Morissette, but do recall seeing Dylan who played a short set. His normal band was augmented by Ron Wood and Al Kooper; we were sitting on the grass somewhere in the middle of the park, and the sound was murky, blowing around in the breeze.
Bob Dylan’s setlist was: Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat; All Along the Watchtower; Positively 4th Street; Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues; Tangled Up in Blue; Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right; Silvio; Seven Days; Highway 61 Revisited
Quadrophenia has grown on me over the years, and I’ve seen The Who perform it three times; once on the original tour, this show in Hyde Park, and more recently at the Albert Hall Teenage Cancer Trust gig. The Hyde Park show featured a cast of special guests playing the various parts of the rock opera: Phil Daniels (Narration), Trevor McDonald (Newscaster), Ade Edmundson (Bell Boy), Gary Glitter (Rocker), Stephen Fry (Hotel Manager), and Dave Gilmour (Guitar on Dirty Jobs, Love Reign O’er Me). The band was introduced by Jools Holland. It was a fun show, although I was a little disappointed that they didn’t pay any Who classics; I thought we might get one or two as an encore, instead we got a reprise of 5.15. The Who setlist was: I Am the Sea; The Real Me; Quadrophenia; Cut My Hair; The Punk and the Godfather; I’m One; The Dirty Jobs (with David Gilmour); Helpless Dancer; Is It in My Head?; I’ve Had Enough; 5:15; Sea And Sand; Drowned; Bell Boy; Doctor Jimmy; The Rock; Love, Reign O’er Me (with David Gilmour). Encore: 5:15. After The Who, we watched some of Clapton’s set, but left before the end. At the time I’d lost a little faith in Eric and was somewhat tired of seeing him play live. However my interest in him has become renewed in recent years, and I also feel that he has returned to form.
Bob Dylan Blackbushe Aerodrome 1978
Support: Eric Clapton and Band, Joan Armatrading, Graham Parker and The Rumour, and Lake
Demand for Dylan’s run of concerts at Earls Court in 1978 was so high that a massive open air show was added. At first I wasn’t sure whether to go and see him again, but in the end I couldn’t resist going along. I travelled down on my own, but ran into a group of friends when I arrived at the gig. They had a spot pretty close to the front, so I joined them there. The attendance at this event was huge. I think it was something like 250,000 people. There were people everywhere. And the line up was very strong indeed. Dylan was supported by Eric Clapton and Band (I think Clapton also played with Dylan for part of the set?), Joan Armatrading, Graham Parker and The Rumour, and Lake. I don’t recall much about the supports, other than Clapton, who went down well with the crowd. It was a hot day, and a great atmosphere. Dylan performed a set which was similar to that he performed at Earls Court. I remember him wearing a top hat, and that there was a long wait before he took to the stage. The sound wasn’t too great, and if you were at the back of the arena, I suspect you will have seen very little, particularly as there were no screens. We were quite close to the front, and had a good view, so I really enjoyed the event. After the gig I spent hours in queues to get the train back across London, and start my journey home. I later learnt that my friend John had also gone down to the gig on his own, neither of us realising that the other was going. Setlist: My Back Pages (Instrumental); Love Her With A Feeling; Baby Stop Crying; Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues; Shelter From The Storm; It’s All Over Now Baby Blue; Girl From The North Country; Ballad Of A Thin Man; Maggie’s Farm; Simple Twist Of Fate; Like A Rolling Stone; I Shall Be Released; Is Your Love In Vain?; Where Are You Tonight?; A Change Is Gonna Come (Carolyn Dennis vocal); Mr. Tambourine Man (Helena Springs vocal); The Long And Winding Road (Jo Ann Harris vocal); What Would We Do If No One’s Dreams Came True? (Steven Soles vocal); Gates Of Eden; True Love Tends To Forget; One More Cup Of Coffee; Blowin’ In The Wind; I Want You; Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power); Masters Of War; Just Like A Woman; Ramona; Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright); All Along The Watchtower; All I Really Want To Do; It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding); Forever Young. Encores: Changing Of The Guards; The Times They Are A-Changin’
Eric Clapton Sheffield Arena 2006
Support: Robert Cray
I spent hours in the late 60s and early 70s listening to the John Mayall Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (Beano) lp, marvelling at Clapton’s bluesy guitar, and trying to learn some of the licks. In particular, I practiced and practiced “Steppin’ Out”, which was Clapton signature guitar solo number in the 60s. I always dreamed of seeing him play it live. I bought a ticket for this gig a few days before on ebay, managing to score a good seat at half the face value! I drove down to Sheffield after work and arrived in time to see Robert Cray, who delivered a pretty fine set. Clapton was great that night, I think his playing is actually getting better as the years go by. His band was: Doyle Bramhall II – guitar; Derek Trucks – guitar; stalwart Chris Stainton – keyboards; Tim Carmon – keyboards; Willie Weeks – bass; Steve Jordan – drums; Michelle John & Sharon White – backing vocals; and The Kick Horns. The set featured an a few acoustic blues at the mid point. Setlist: Pretending; So Tired; Got To Get Better In A Little While; Lost and Found; I Shot the Sheriff; Anyday; Back Home; I Am Yours; Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out; Milkcow’s Calf Blues; Running On Faith; After Midnight; Little Queen of Spades; Everybody Oughta Make a Change; Motherless Children; Wonderful Tonight; Layla; Cocaine. Encore: Crossroads. John saw him in the US on this tour and sent me the US programme which is different from the UK version (thanks John). I still haven’t seen Eric play Steppin’ Out….guess there is still time.
Eric Clapton Newcastle Metro Radio Arena April 2004
Support: Robert Randolph
Over twenty years since I had last seen Clapton perform at an indoor gig, David and I went to his concert at Newcastle Arena in 2004. I’d seen EC at a couple of festivals in the interim; at the Knewborth Silver Clef show in 1990, where he shared a bill with a host of other top names, including Pink Floyd, and Paul McCartney; and in Hyde Park in 1996, which was another great bill, and included The Who and Bob Dylan. I’d lost some of my faith in EC, as I felt that some of his material in the 90s was a little middle of the road, with less blues guitar and less of the rock legend that I had previously thought of him as. However, this gig renewed by faith in Eric. I remember being quit excited at the prospect of seeing Eric close up again (we had seats quite close to the front), and David came up from Leeds where he was studying at the time, especially to see the gig. He had just released “Me and Mr Johnson” which was the first of two albums of covers of Robert Johnson songs that he released that year. So it seemed to me that he has rediscovered the blues, and it showed in his set that night, which featured a fair number of songs from that album, mixed with the usual classics. We both enjoyed Clapton that night, and my interest in him was reaffirmed, to the extent that I have tried to see him as many times as I am able since then. Setlist: Let It Rain; Hoochie Coochie Man; Walk Out in the Rain; Bell Bottom Blues; I Shot the Sheriff; Milkcow’s Calf Blues; When You Got a Good Friend; They’re Red Hot; Kindhearted Woman Blues; Got To Get Better In A Little While; Have You Ever Loved a Woman; Badge; Wonderful Tonight; Layla; Cocaine. Encore: Sunshine Of Your Love; Got My Mojo Working.