Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck: Two Legendary Guitarists Share Stage In Saitama, Japan

Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck – legendary guitarists and former Yardbirds – performed their first co-headlining concert in Japan at Saitama’s Super Arena on Saturday 21 February 2009. This was the first time they have shared a bill as co-headliners in an arena show. The 20,000 people in attendance witnessed an event that lasted between two and a half and three hours.

Like all weekend concerts in Japan, the show started at 5PM. Jeff Beck kicked things off with a 13 song set that included a stunning verion of "A Day In The Life". Other songs performed included "The Pump," "Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers," "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – Brush With The Blues."

Eric Clapton then took the stage with his band for a 9 song set. It opened with acoustic versions of "Driftin." and "Layla." This was the first time EC "unplugged" Layla in quite some time. His "electric" set included "Tell The Truth" from the Derek and the Dominos era along with blues songs, "Little Queen of Spades", "Before You Accuse Me," and "Crossroads."

The fellow Yardbirds then shared the stage for 7 songs. Their joint set consisted of "You Need Love," "Listen Here – Compared To What," "Here But I’m Gone," "Outside Woman Blues," "Brown Bird," "Wee Wee Baby" and "Want To Take You Higher." The line up for this portion of the concert was EC and his band with Jeff Beck.

One fan in attendance said, "It was a historical night. Jeff tries to draw out all the possibilities from the guitar and Eric tries to express all his feelings with the guitar. It was Jeff’s beige vs Eric’s light blue stratocaster." Another reported that Jeff’s performance was better than his three shows in Tokyo the week before and was even a bit better than EC in their joint set.

Both men spent time in the Yardbirds, one of the key bands in Britain’s 1960s blues revival. Beck took over when Clapton departed in March 1965. Clapton left the group as it was moving towards a more commercial sound and he wanted to remain true to his blues roots. The band had a number of chart hits before Jeff Beck left in 1968.

After the Yardbirds, Clapton went from success to success with bands like John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, and Derek and the Dominos before launching a solo career that has spanned close to 40 years. Clapton is a triple inductee into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame (The Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo performer).

Following the Yardbirds, Beck went on to form The Jeff Beck Group and later Beck, Bogert & Appice. Beck launched his solo career in 1974. His recorded output has touched on many genres including blues-rock, jazz fusion and electronica. Beck was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with the Yardbirds in 1992 and will be inducted as a solo artist at the annual ceremonies on 4 April 2009.

Over the years, the duo have occasionally joined forces on stage. The first – a benefit for Amnesty International – took place in 1981. At that event, called "The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball," Clapton and Beck performed "Crossroads," "Further On Up The Road," "Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers" as well as the all-star finale of "I Shall Be Released". They teamed up again at the 1983 ARMS shows in London (along with fellow Yardbirds alum Jimmy Page) and Clapton’s 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas, Texas. Jeff Beck and his touring band also performed at Clapton’s 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival. In November 2007, Clapton returned the favor by appearing at Beck’s concerts at Ronnie Scott’s in London.

Jeff Beck wrapped a solo tour of Japan on 19 February in Osaka. Eric Clapton is currently on solo tour in Japan, with shows at Tokyo’s Budokan on 24, 25, 27 and 28 February. Clapton and Beck will team up one more time on 22 February at Saitama Super Arena.

Eric Clapton & His Band:
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar, backing vocals
Willie Weeks – bass
Abe Laboriel Jr – drums
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals

Jeff Beck Band:
Jeff Beck – guitar
Tal Wilkenfeld – bass
Vinnie Colaiuta – drums
David Sancious * – keyboards

* Sancious toured with Clapton in 2001

Original Performance Set List As Printed For Use On Stage:
Songs not performed are noted – two were dropped by Jeff Beck

01. The Pump (Jeff Beck)
02. You Never Know (Jeff Beck)
03. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers (Jeff Beck)
04. Stratus (Jeff Beck)
05. Angel (Jeff Beck)
06. Led Boots (Jeff Beck)
07. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat – Brush WIth The Blues (Jeff Beck)
08. Solo instrumental by Tal Wilkenfeld with Jeff Beck
09. Blue Wind (Jeff Beck)
10. A Day In The Life (Jeff Beck)
11. Where Were You (Jeff Beck) *dropped and not performed*
12. Big Block (Jeff Beck) *dropped and not performed*
13. Peter Gunn Theme (Jeff Beck)
14. Driftin’ (EC – solo acoustic)
15. Layla – unplugged version (EC)
16. Motherless Child (EC)
17. Running On Faith (EC)
18. Tell The Truth (EC)
19. Little Queen Of Spades (EC)
20. Before You Accuse Me (EC)
21. Cocaine (EC)
22. Crossroads (EC)
23. You Need Love (EC and Jeff Beck)
24. Listen Here – Compared To What (EC and Jeff Beck)
25. Here But I’m Gone (EC and Jeff Beck)
26. Outside Woman Blues (EC and Jeff Beck)
27. Brown Bird (EC and Jeff Beck)
28. Wee Wee Baby (EC and Jeff Beck)
29. Want To Take You Higher (EC and Jeff Beck)

Where’s Eric!
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