Archive for the ‘Yvonne Elliman’ Category

Eric Clapton Hammersmith Odeon December 5th 1974

Eric Clapton Hammersmith Odeon December 5th 1974
Reflections on my first live connection with God
This was a big gig for me. I was a massive Clapton fan as a teenager. I bought the Goodbye Cream lp, and the Mayall/Clapton Bluesbreakers album, and spent hours learning to copy Clapton’s solos, playing and replaying the vinyl albums until I’d worked out how he played those licks. I sat in awe in front of our new (first) colour TV watching the Cream Farewell at the Albert Hall show. I talked about going to the Rainbow show with my mate Nicky, but was still pretty young and going to a gig in London seemed so unthinkable at the time; it was just talk really at that stage. But when Clapton announced a couple of comeback shows at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1974 I decided that I just had to go. I hadn’t managed to buy a ticket in advance for the Clapton gig, and the shows were sold out, but that didn’t discourage me. I was used to buying tickets for sold out gigs outside the venue on the night in Newcastle, so I planned to do the same at Hammersmith. I bought a day return train ticket to London and made my way to Hammersmith. I can still feel the excitement as I got off the tube and made my way to the legendary Hammersmith Odeon. I bought a ticket from a tout outside the venue, paying a little more than face value. I entered the venue and took my seat, which was to the rear of the stalls. I don’t think there was any support act. Clapton and band took to the stage, and started with Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”, which was a big surprise to me. Why was this guitar god starting with an old song like this? After getting over the initial shock I realised how good the version was, with Clapton and Yvonne Elliman singing together and doing a great job. Real tears in the eyes stuff. Clapton had just released “461 Ocean Boulevard” which focussed much more on Clapton the singer than the guitarist, and “Smile” fitted with the mood of the album. Next up was “Let it Grow” from the album, another classic song. By this point I could hardly believe what I was experiencing; Clapton was there in front of me, and he was singing these great songs. Yvonne Elliman’s role in Clapton’s band at that point shouldn’t be understated. This was no backing vocals role, she was right up front with Eric dueting with him. The rest of the set was a mix of cold and new. Old blues like “The sky is crying” and “Ramblin’ on my mind”, covers such as “I shot the sheriff”, and “Little Wing” and “Badge” from Cream days. “Layla” was the first encore. Ronnie Wood joined in for the encores (Eric introduced him as Peter Townshend for a joke). By then I was getting nervous as I had to make it back for Kings Cross for the midnight train home. I did make the train, and arrived back how at around 7am the next morning having spent the night on the mail train as it wound its way up the country, stopping to pick up and deliver mail bags on the way. I went to college a couple of hours later and told everyone about it. So there it is, my first Clapton experience, and I gig that I’m so pleased I made the effort to get to. Clapton has remained a favourite of mine over the years, although I must admit that I did lose faith in him during the 90s a little. I’m going to spend the rest of the week reflecting on the other Clapton gigs which I have been to. Band: Carl Radle (Bass); George Terry (Guitar); Jamie Oldaker (Drums); Dick Sims (Keyboards); Yvonne Elliman (Vocals); Marcy Levy (Vocals). Setlist: Smile; Let It Grow; Can’t Find My Way Home; Tell the Truth; The Sky Is Crying; Have You Ever Loved a Woman; Ramblin’ on My Mind; Badge; Little Rachel; I Shot the Sheriff; Better Make It Through Today; Blues Power; Key To The Highway; Let It Rain; Little Wing; Singin’ the Blues. Encore: Layla; Steady Rollin’ Man; Little Queenie