Venue: Idaho Center
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. Have You Ever Loved A Woman
16. Wonderful Tonight
18. Will It Go Round In Circles *
19. Sunshine Of Your Love (encore)
20. Somewhere Over The Rainbow (encore)
Review by Brian Pitcock
August 2, 2001. That is the day I witnessed slowhand at his best. Eric Clapton’s concert at this venue 3 years ago was magnificent; however it cannot compare to the energy and dynamics which occurred last night. The following review best describes the feeling of all of those who left the Idaho Center last night:
Who said Slowhand? Clapton sizzles at Idaho Center show
Guitar legend shows he’s still worthy of idol status
By Michael Deeds
NAMPA — Maybe it gets boring being the most powerful guitarist on the planet.
There’s no other explanation for Eric Clapton’s concert Thursday night.
The show at the Idaho Center was so unlike anything he’s done in years — so free-spirited, so energizing, so close to perfect — it was almost frustrating.
Like, why can’t he always leave the orchestra home?
Why can’t he always compile a wonderfully comprehensive set list? Why can’t he always drown us in his mind-numbing guitar prowess?
Like any of the 10,186 fans cared.
This was the night. Clapton was on fire. It was beautiful.
The 56-year-old guitarist and his crack band spent the first six songs seated, hammering out brisk, upbeat acoustic attacks. They unlocked the soulful, snappy side of "Key to the Highway." "Reptile," the instrumental title track from Clapton’s latest album, got injected with a double-dose of jazz-fusion.
"Change the World" suddenly … rocked? This was getting good.
If the initial half-dozen tunes felt pleasantly caffeinated, the rest of the night was ripped on steroids.
Clapton, bespectacled and casual, seemed intent on dispelling any rumors that he’s gone soft. (You know, that drum machine stuff?)
The Fender Strat was screaming bluesy murder, even in the least likely places. At the end of "My Father’s Eyes." All through "Badge."
"River of Tears" was a blissful stake in the heart: minute upon minute of shimmering vibrato, sporadic bursts of Gatling-gun riffs, towering walls of sound — all hand-delivered with pure Clapton clarity.
The crowd was too weak in the knees to give a proper standing ovation.
Much of the night’s success belonged to the five-man backing squad. Keyboardist Billy Preston boogied up the blues with great globs of funk. He even sang lead and cut a rug on "Will It Go Round in Circles." And guitarist Andy Fairweather Low — who moonlights as the guiding force on Roger Waters’ tours — steered the rhythm section like a watchful sea captain.
If Clapton’s earlier tours have been about performance, this one was about celebration.
During an electrifying blast of "Layla," Clapton stepped back and let the audience sing. It sounded so right that it seemed rehearsed. And as the song roared into its grandiose finale, those notes sounded like a goodbye with extra meaning: Clapton recently announced this will be his last world tour.
Yet after seeing Slowhand touch his guitar with such spark and speed, it’s impossible to believe he won’t be back. Clapton’s definitely still got it. And it’s something nobody else has.
Opening act Doyle Bramhall II and Smokestack mixed Texas blues-rock with a slow-grind stomp. If Jimi Hendrix had joined ZZ Top, this is the sort of smoldering nastiness that would have ensued.
I know that Eric Clapton’s music will always be available on CD, but it cannot compare to one of his live performances. I am sure I echo many of Idaho’s Clapton fans when we hope he will continue to perform live.