9 May 04
8 May 2004 once again found Eric Clapton and His Band on stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The set list was:
Kevin Scollick was in attendance and the Where’s Eric! Team is going to let him tell you all about it …
This was my 10th gig seeing Eric and his band and I would say that it was the best I have ever seen the great man. As ‘Let it Rain’ bursted out through the speakers, the stage lights illuminating the audience, you could see men and women of all ages hanging out of the balcony boxes and literally going wild – it had an air of the old days of ‘Cream’ when when they played the Albert. Now though, this was purely Eric’s night… when he burst into ‘Walk out in the rain’ a few numbers later I closed my eyes. I could hear little difference between the quality of this song and the original recording from the ‘Backless’ album some 26 years before.
His rendition of ‘I shot the Sherriff’ ripped through the crowd and his soloing seemed to go on forever – it received a standing ovation and delayed the next song for a few seconds whilst eric mopped his brow and had a quick drink. He smiled at Doyle Bramhal and Nathan East – he knew it was good, and so did we!
After sitting down and giving us a musical treat with some Robert Johnson numbers he tore into ‘Got To Get Better In A Little While’ – this really got the crowd going again and had the audience on its feet. I felt a bit sorry for the people in Row 7 of the arena stalls – one woman rose to her feet and stayed there bopping away until the end of the show – the people behind her can’t have seen a thing, but it didn’t matter as long as you still had your ears. Indeed eric states in the programme notes that he wishes he could simply play and record the music anonomously without the concerts, interviews, and promotions, that go with being the greatest ever white guitarist. The interplay on this number between Preston, Bramhall and EC was worth the entrance fee alone and set the precident for the rest of the show. I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat at this point by just watching the man play!!
Badge, Wonderful Tonight and Layla all helped to make the newcomer to the Albert feel at home by hearing a few of the classics, and the finale of Cocaine had the entire crowd shouting out ‘Dirty Cocaine’ – pure class!
Eric appeared to raptuous applause to do an encore of ‘Sunshine of your love’ (Without Robert Randolph strangely enough) and I was right at the front in the left stalls. He went to each member of the band in turn and I’m sure mouthed ‘No Mojo’ to which Stainton, East, and Doyle all mouthed ‘OK’. Then they finished the song, took a bow, and had gone.
So there we were, left without the last song we so desperately wanted – ‘Got my Mojo working’. Perhaps, it was because Randolph had already left in a mini-bus before EC went onstage that we didn’t get it – but with talent like these guys before our eyes I’m sure they could’ve done anything. My one critiscism of the show is a personal one – I wish I’d got more than one ticket because this was eric at his very very best. I left the show on a high and with a big big smile. Thank you so very very much Eric for a night to remember.