8 May 04
7 May 2004 marked the half-way point of Eric Clapton’s 6 night run at London’s historic Royal Albert Hall.
Eric’s band for this tour is:
Nathan East – Bass, Vocals
Chris Stainton – Keyboards
Steve Gadd – Drums
Doyle Bramhall II – Guitar, Vocals
Billy Preston – Hammond Organ, Keyboards, Vocals
Sharon White – Backing Vocals
Michelle John – Backing Vocals
A few veteran Clapton fans took the time to submit their reviews to Where’s Eric! Here are their thoughts on the show …
Review by Mark Yexley
With nearly 25 years of Clapton gigs behind me, I must say that I felt a great deal of excitement in anticipation of the Royal Albert Hall show. Having recently been to the Birmingham NEC show I knew we were in for a good night. I can now quite confidently say this was one of the best!
As we sat down for the show it was apparent that the audience contained the usual mix of fans and people there for a corporate night out (the couple next to me spent some time discussing whether their knowledge of EC extended from two to three songs). As the evening progressed my enjoyment of several of the quieter sections of the show, including the brilliant I Shot The Sheriff guitar solo, were spoiled by inebriated yuppies quaffing champagne and talking loudly in the box behind me. Having said that, the majority of the crowd displayed a considerable respect for a great band, and showed more appreciation than the Birmingham crowd.
I believe the real difference in this tour is the quality of the musicians. Eric really seems to thrive on the interaction with Billy Preston and Doyle Bramhall II.
From the opening chords of Let It Rain through to the Robert Randolph assisted Got My Mojo Working the night was a joy. The main difference to the NEC show was the inclusion of I Want A Little Girl and switching the Robert Johnson section to a seated acoustic affair giving a more intimate "club" atmosphere. In were Me And The Devil Blues and If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day. They’re Red Hot had previously felt a bit awkward as a fully electric number, but tonight it came alive with Nathan on an Acoustic base and Doyle on a Dobro guitar. The inclusion of Doyle Bramhall’s slide playing has really transformed this band and gives the feel of the Layla days.
The set stormed on with Got To Get Better In A Little While, a great addition to this tour. There was a lovely extended intro to Have You Ever Loved a Woman and Eric’s playing really seemed to be on fire. Chris Stainton, Doyle and Billy had their solo spots, but just when you thought Billy had stolen the show, Eric pushes the song up a key and kicks in with another great solo to bring it to an end.
Then came Badge, and this time EC didn’t give the crowd a chance to applaud on the full stops as he let held his strat in front of his amp, allowing the feedback to build to build into a howl, before picking out those classic chords. Wonderful Tonight kept the Corporate couples happy. Then as Steve Gadd tapped the timing out Eric tore into Layla. Doyle took you back to the original again with his subtle slide playing over the final section. Without a pause straight into the heaviest version of Cocaine I’ve ever heard.
Sunshine Of Your Love and Mojo were the encores and helped the party atmosphere, with everyone up on their feet. Robert Randolph added his lap steel brilliance to finish off the night.
Thanks very much to Eric and the Band for a wonderful night.
Review by Steve Rivers
I went to see Eric at the Albert Hall on Friday night 7th May. It was a beautifully crafted set and Eric’s’ solo in I Sot the Sheriff was superb the other notable song of the evening was “got to get better”; it sounded fresh, wonderfully classy and was a joy to experience.
Its good to see some young faces playing on stage with Eric; the young backing singers Michelle John and Sharon White were great and I have to say Michelle is a very sexy and captivating young woman!
Doyle Bramhall II’s playing was superb and really complemented the rest of the band. Billy Preston and Nathan East played of each other and found technically brilliant moments to add interest while Steve Gadd on Drums Chris Stainton on keyboard underpinned the band wonderfully. It felt like Eric had been reinvigorated by the addition of the younger artists in his band and perhaps found something interesting to base his playing around.
Only two noticeable mistakes were evident during the night and these obviously upset the perfectionist Eric. One was a bum note Eric himself played at the end of a solo and the other was the failure of the sound crew (I presume) to turn up Robert Randolph’s Guitar (who had just joined them on stage) for the first 20 seconds of the final song of the evening “got my mojo working”. However this didn’t spoil the event for me as the playing and performances were beautiful. I have only seen Eric once before; and that was at the Albert Hall as well but I was standing up in the gallery and the view was terrible, however I managed to get tickets on stage left this time and was astounded at just how intimate the Albert Hall can be. I love the musician that is Eric Clapton and look forward (hopefully) to seeing him perform again in the future.