29 Mar 04
Two days before his 59th birthday, Eric Clapton and His Band performed at the Hallenstadion in Zurich on 28 March 2004. Lots of fans weighing in with their opinions at this show! EC mixed up the set list a bit from the first two performances.
Review by Nadja Teichert
Wow! What an opening and what a great play list. Songs that have not been played live for a while, a great middle set from the new album and an ending of favorites. EC played to a sold out Zurich audience and play he did! The band sounded fresh and they seemed to have great fun doing it. The band (what a great group of musicians) is fantastic. I have seen EC many times in Europe and the USA; this was definitely one of the finer shows. I’ll see him again in Manchester on April 29 and in London on May 10. Let’s hope he does not change too much.
The Zurich audience does not always show their appreciation as they could so it took a while for them to "wake up". Fans who expect the "commercial" stuff will be somewhat disappointed. I had not checked this web site to see if there are any set lists available for the 2 concerts prior to this one so I went "unspoiled". I think it is good that he does not play "Tears in Heaven" and other pop songs (albeit "Change the World" is played); don’t get me wrong, I like "Tears …" very much, but this play list is something different all together. I much prefer the more blues/rough sets than his commercial alibi concerts. His gentle rendition of "Bell Bottom Blues" gets me every time. The new material was followed by a rich "I shot the Sheriff". After "Third Degree", "Got to get better in a little while" and "I wanna little Girl" the all time greats were played to the cheers of the audience. The concert was closed with a stomping "I got my mojo workin’ ".
Review by Richard Baker
Myself and my family arrived at the Hallenstadion early in order to get a seat. It was jam packed. Robert Randolph’s Family Band came on before Eric. They weren’t bad but a bit long winded. I thought it was pretty amazing though the way Randolph played a steel guitar like it was an electric one. Eric came on at 21:00 and the crowd gave him a roar. Myself and my dad clapped for about 2 minutes. Eric and the band began the concert with a breathtaking version of "Let It Rain". They then went straight into a "Hoochie Coochie Man" (a Muddy Waters song). He then "Walk Out In The Rain" which was on the "Backless" album and has rarely been played. He played a load of his greatest hits like "Bell Bottom Blues", "I Shot The Sheriff", "Change The World", "Badge", "Wonderful Tonight", "Cocaine", "Layla" & my personal favourite "Sunshine Of Your Love" for the encore. But throughout the concert he played a number of blues tunes by Robert Johnson (natually). There was one point in the concert where he played the solo on "Kind Hearted Woman Blues" when the camera zoomed onto his fretboard and I was completely mesmorised. It was a great honour to see him play the blues. He had a great band with him as well. Nathan East was amazing as ever and Doyle Bramball II was a very tallented guitarist. It was a good experience to see two guitarists (Eric and Doyle) both play massive blues guitar solo’s together. Anyway it was a evening to remember. One thing I can say about Eric is that he’s the man!
Review by Keith Gunthardt
Eric worked his Mojo on the Hallenstadion. Kicking off with a vibrant version of ‘Let it Rain’ he let us all know that he was inclined to rock with fire and roll without the emergency brake on. For nearly two hours Eric offered up a good mix of songs from the past and present in all moods and decible categories. Dominos fans got an unbelievable treat when Eric unleashed a high energy version of ‘Got to Get Better in a Little While’ – a song I’ve wanted to hear Eric play live for about 20 years…Thank you Eric, the crowd loved it please play it more often! The Band’s core and central vibe remains the same with Nathan East on bass and Steve Gadd on Drums. Doyle Bramhall II, replacing revered sideman Andy Fairweather-Low, on Guitar is a perfect foil for Eric – He plays solid rock back-up and is a deft soloist. Eric and DBII trade-off solos liberally which spices things up. Not that it really matters, Doyle adds a good visual element. With the appearance of a young Apollo gives the band a bit of youth, Dolye holds his guitar opposite from the norm with strings upside down, so when the two guitarists stand side-by-side the guitars create an open V – a nice detail with no extra charge. It was a treat to discover Billly Preston on Board for this tour and mainstay Chris Stainton completes the family picture. These guys have been working together for years and they were enjyoing themselves in Zurich – The two back up singers, both powerfull and impeccable, were new to me. Eric celebrates his 59th Birthday tomorrow in Stuttgart – But he seems to be getting younger all the time. Perhaps the band will out the setlist with a rendition of Happy Birthday.
Review by Andy Seghers and Rolf Weber
The concert started with Robert Randolph and the Family. They played high tempo songs including a fantastic version of Jimi Hendrix’ ‘Voodoo Chile’. He has a guitar on a rack and his playing technique is kind of Jeff Healey like. Unfortunately the sound in the hall was awful. It was echoing from the back walls. We hoped that the sound engineers will notice this before EC enters the stage.
Eric and the band entered stage. The audience, those who didn’t know the setlists from the former two concerts, were very surprised by the opening track ‘Let it rain’. The sound was still terrible. We couldn’t understand this, because in the past there always was a wonderful sound in the Hallenstadion.
Let it Rain They played with passion, but it seems they were not warm enough to light the fire. Doyle work was great, playing the first lead part and some nice bot-tleneck tunes through the song
Hoochie Coochie Man A good song, as usual. Great guitar works from EC and Doyle. But EC should drop the backing vocals. They sound silly in this blues number.
Walk Out In The Rain Well, a surprise to most of the audience, but it seemed a little bit ‘under-rehearsed’.
Bell Bottom Blues Just wonderful. Nice that there are more than one Derek & The Dominos tracks in the setlist.
Change The World Superb version with an excellent solo on the ac-coustic guitar by EC.
When You´ve Got A Good Friend Great number, short guitar solo by EC. The key-boarders and Doyle also played some lead parts. This was a little bit too much.
Milk Cow Blues Same as ‘When You´ve Got A Good Friend’
Kind Hearted Woman Blues Thank God, there was the passion only EC has when he plays the blues. It was played with much more feeling as on the 2003 Japan Tour. Great in-strumental works by the whole band, great low sound parts and a wonderful EC solo, very quite, very deep.
They´re Red Hot This number is nice as a bridge between slow blues and the accoustic number ‘Change the World’. Good mood.
I Shot The Sheriff Great opening. The audience got on fire. EC played a guitar solo where he prooved, that he is the mas-ter of strings and that he still is able to play in the Champions League of the guitar players. It is funny how many times this track has been rearranged since 1974. But there was always a great result. By the way, EC should shoot the sound engineer and not the Sheriff…
Third Degree EC dropped ‘Hellhound On My Trail’ and ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’ for this track. For my opinion it was ok, but he played better versions of this title in the past. As a slow Blues it was too close to ‘Kind Hearted Woman’. We would have loved to hear ‘Hellhound On My Trail’.
Got To Get Better In A Little While All who knew were afraid he could have dropped this number too. I didn’t expect I can see EC play this song live in my whole lifetime. What a number. The playing between EC and Doyle is fantastic. And then EC starts a firework that let me get all hairs up on my body. What a wah-wah work. I closed my eyes for a short time and thought, this could be Cream with additional keyboards. I hope he keeps this number for a while.
I Wanna Little Girl A good tune to slow down after your heart was beat-ing fast.
Badge Classical as usual. Great work between EC and Doyle on the second bridge, but EC solo was noth-ing special, it seemed he had some troubles with his fingers. He didn’t get on fire and played a kind of ‘standard solo’.
Wonderful Tonight Good for those who want to hold a light and move the body a little bit. I don’t need this number any more, although, it was played with the passion only EC can give to this song.
Cocaine Wow, I never got real familiar with this song, but it was that compact, nearly heavy metal opening. Great playing of everybody and a firery solo by EC.
Layla What can you write about ‘Layla’ after all these years? You can write, that for the first time you can hear this track played by two guitar players, who try to be Derek and Duane Allman. What a guitar work by Doyle during this track. He played the Duane Allman tunes nearly perfect and he opened the gui-tar solo. EC had to interrupt his solo after some short, but great runs, because of his problem with the fingers.
Sunshine of your Love Little mistake of EC in the opening. It was another good version. I like to mention the final part, when EC is back on fire like in the old Cream days, but I think, there are so many other great numbers by Cream, he could perform.
I Got My Mojo Workin’ (with Robert Randolph) The audience was really enthusiastic. EC gave a sign backstage and Robert Randolph entered the stage for a high speed shuffle version of ‘I Got My Mojo Workin”. Robert opened the solo parts with an incredible solo on his very unique instrument.
All in all, this was a great concert. Without those terrible sound situations it could be a milestone in EC’s Hallenstadion appearances. It is good to know that EC is back to be the guitar hero he is known for.
I look forward to see the band is getting developped through the tour and play some great concerts.