Venue: Rose Garden Arena
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
Eric played a Gibson Les Paul for portions of this concert.
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 Terry R. White
With many of the 17,000 concert goers still rolling into the arena, Doyle Bramhill and his band Smokestack assembled on stage near 7:30pm. Those of us unfamiliar with this new talent soon realized what this group from Texas was all about. Bramhill and his band snaked their way through a 40 minute set of blues-based tunes with exciting instrumentation and delicious guitar rifts that left little question as to how they came to open the show for EC.
Near 8:30pm EC stepped out into the concert lighting and took a seat at center stage. He quietly began the show with a beautifully fingerpicked version of "Key to the Highway" on a nicely worn Martin acoustic guitar. Soon, EC switched to a 1950’s blond Gibson L5 and performed the title track jazz instrumental from his latest CD release "Reptile". With the entire band now in place, EC strapped on his red Gibson ES 355 played through what appeared to be a self contained Fender Deville 60 watt tube amplifier with four 10" speakers atop a Fender extention enclosure. EC displayed a great deal of fire in his playing all evening. The set included "Have You Ever Loved A Woman", Hoochie Coochie Man" and "River of Tears". Even the fan demanding ballads of "Tears In Heaven" and "Wonderful Tonight" seemed to be ignited with more inspriation than has been typical in the past. The last song of the set featured EC holding a vintage reissue flame top Gibson Les Paul Standard as he tore through an electric version of Layla. The guitar playing was white hot on this song and also the following 5 minute piano based coda originally written by Jim Gordon from the Layla sessions.
First song of the encore set featured Billy Presont playing, singing and eventually dancing to his 1970’a hit single "Circles". Next up, still with Les Paul in hand, a screaming version of "Sunshine of Your Love" with Andy Fairweather-Low singing the higher second parts of the verse. And for a soft landing to a soaring evening, EC seated himself again at center stage with the blond Gibson L5, metiuslioly introduced his band, and then performed an unforgettable "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".
EC’s bands are always excellent, however this group in particluar seemed to deliver a precision that in my opinion excells from recent shows I have atteneded. Perhaps the fact there were no back up singers or orchestra instruments made for an economically clean, tight grove. Guitarist Andy Fairweather-Low provided complimentary playing and leadership of the rythym section. Drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Nathan East and David Sanchious on keyboards created a solid foundation for EC to build on all evening. A special delight was the vintage sounds of the Hammond B-3 and the tastefull selection of piano notes generated by none other than Mr. Billy Preston.
The overall sound quality started good and improved to very good. All instruments and vocal parts were very intelligible for an arena of this size. The actual performance was spectacular. Without question EC played perhaps the best this night as any of the other six times I have enjoyed him live dating back to 1969.
Review by Dave Barlow
What a show! I’ve seen EC 3 times and this had to have been one of the best concerts ever. Clapton seemed to be in a great mood and having a good time. His playing and solos were awesome. I won’t go through the entire set list as all was about the same as previous reviews. However, he did play "Badge" which was a treat. Eric came out with his 000-28EC Martin for the acoustic set. When he played "If I Could Change the World" the crowd went crazy and at that moment you knew this was going to be a great show. EC then switched to his red Gibson ES335 and went into the electric set. Some of the Reptile songs were played as well as Pilgrim’s River of Tears and Fathers Eyes. All songs were great and Eric’s solos were intense. He just seemed to be really "on" last night and played with great energy the entire two hour show. About mid way he switched to a beautiful flame top Gibson Les Paul. Eric must have just felt like doing something different last night as he never did bring out his signature Fender strat.
Then it happened, electric "Layla" and the crowd went totally wild. What a thrill to see and hear him play that. I should also mention that Billy Preston was fantastic. What a musician! The encore was three songs starting with Billy’s We’ll go Around in Circles. At one point, Billy jumped down from his keyboard and danced across the stage. It was great! Then Sunshine of Your Love, and Somewhere over the Rainbow. Clapton proved once again he is number one when it comes to guitar. Blues, have your ever loved a women, etc. were all played with awesome solos and energy. If you love EC don’t miss this tour. I have to say that EC just plain rocked Portland and the crowd loved it.