Venue: Delta Center
City: Salt Lake City
Country: United States
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Andy Fairweather Low – guitar / vocals
Billy Preston – hammond organ / vocals *
David Sancious – keyboards / guitar / vocals
Nathan East – bass / vocals
Steve Gadd – drums
Doyle Bramhall II & Smokestack
01. Key To The Highway
03. Got You On My Mind
04. Tears In Heaven
05. Bell Bottom Blues
06. Change The World
07. My Father’s Eyes
08. River Of Tears
09. Going Down Slow
10. She’s Gone
11. I Want A Little Girl
13. Hoochie Coochie Man
14. Five Long Years
16. Wonderful Tonight
18. Will It Go Round In Circles *
19. Sunshine Of Your Love (encore)
20. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (encore)
Review by John Hatch
I went to Eric’s Salt Lake City concert last night and there is only one word to describe the evening: Perfect!
I’ve seen Eric four times in the last six years and this was far and away the best show. The other concerts, great as they were, aren’t even in the same ball park as this show.
It’s been well over "ten long years" since Eric has come to Salt Lake and the audience knew better than to take him for granted. They were really into it and at times it was the loudest I’d ever heard the Delta Center – for concerts or Utah Jazz games.
Throughout the show, the sound and acoustics were perfect as well. A real complaint that often arises when concerts are held at the Delta Center is the lack of decent sound. Not so tonight. Every note was crisp and clean, every vocal sung clear and understandable.
The opening act, Smokestack, was a pleasant surprise. They really knew how to play and they got the audience ready for Eric. He walked on stage at exactly 8:30 P.M. dressed in a short sleeve, white pin-striped button down shirt and tan dockers. He sat down alone and played Key to the Highway solo. It was a great way to open the show.
I know other reviewers have commented on Eric’s mood and I would also be remiss not to do so. I don’t know what it was about this show, but Eric seemed genuinely excited and happy to be there. He was smiling a lot and just appeared to be very enthusiastic. Everything about him just seemed to be much happier. Perhaps it has to do with the recent birth of his little girl, or his impending marriage, but his spirits seemed to be high.
As he worked his way through the acoustic set, I was amazed at the maturity of his voice, even from the last concert I’d seen a few years ago to this one. Tears in Heaven was a real emotional stand-out. As I looked around, more than a few ladies were drying their eyes. While the guitar playing was relatively simple and straightforward, his vocals on the song were incredibly moving. Other stand-outs were "Change the World" and "Bell Bottom Blues" (see below for a complete set list).
They started the electric set with "My Father’s Eyes" and there wasn’t a single disappointment after that. "Badge" brought the house down and everyone was on their feet the rest of the show. "Cocaine" was a crowd pleaser as well. This was the first time I’d heard the electric version of "Layla" live and EC didn’t disappoint – I’ve heard a lot of bootleg renditions over the years but this was easily the best.
Even though those popular songs were the crowd pleasers, Eric (as usual) did his best guitar work on the blues numbers. "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Five Long Years" were tremendous beyond words. I’d wait for him to finish the solos and he’d just keep going and going, with no end in sight!
The encore was the same as other shows with "Will It Go Round In Circles", "Sunshine of Your Love", and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". After the show, I overhead more than a few audience members commenting on this last number. They were all unanimously positive. I have to confess I wondered what kind of a way that was to end a show as I saw other set lists and reviews, but it really worked well. The overwhelming concensus was that it took guts to sing that song immortalized by a movie, and that Eric lived up to a high standard extremely well. It showed his incredible vocal range and increased maturity.
As Eric left the stage, both after the final song and after the encore, I heard many audience members shouting (or screaming) thank you. That was the feeling throughout the building. Simply one of thanks for a great show and a great performance. There wasn’t a single disappointment and I hope the rumors of this being the last tour aren’t true and that Eric will show up at least one more time.
For those of you who are like me and have read reviews to get an idea of what to expect when Eric comes your way, I sincerely hope you’ll get a show like we did. After reading some of the other reviews, I’m convinced that this show was a real stand out.