Venue: Birmingham-Jefferson Arena
Country: United States
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar / vocals
Derek Trucks – guitar
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Robert Cray Band
Robert Cray – guitar / vocals*
02. I Shot The Sheriff
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Old Love*
06. Motherless Children
07. Key to The Highway
08. San Francisco Bay Blues
09. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
10. Running On Faith
11. After Midnight
12. Little Queen Of Spades
13. Further On Up The Road
14. Wonderful Tonight
17. Crossroads (encore)*
Review by Ted Pewitt – Birmingham, AL
EC and Company put on another incredible show in Birmingham,AL on 10/18. The set list was the same as the last few shows except for the acoustic set. Gone were "Back Home" and "I am Yours". They were replaced with "Key to the Highway" and "San Francisco Bay Blues". Clapton even played the kazoo! (awkwardly, I might add) The whole band got a chuckle out of watching EC play a kazoo with a harmonica holder around his neck while strumming along to "San Francisco Bay Blues". Eric also seemed to think it was pretty funny. The crowd loved it! Clapton waved off the Gibson 335 he has played the last couple of shows during "After Midnight" and "Little Queen of Spades" and sent for the Strat. I saw the show in Georgia a few days ago and I was blown away. The Birmingham show was equally as good. The people with me said it was the best EC show they have ever seen. I’ve seen him 10 times including a Cream show and I would have to agree. This current EC band is amazing! I can’t say enough about Derek Trucks. Clapton seems really relaxed and seriously enjoying what he’s doing. He was very "in to" the music. You can tell he still really loves what he does. It’s great to see him at this stage of his career delivering above expectations every night all over the world. He is truly one of a kind. If you have an opportunity to see this tour, do yourself a favor, make sure you’re there. It’s a great night of music.
Review by C. Rivers / Birmingham AL
After I heard that Trucks was on this tour I knew it was a must see. The closest thing to "Duane" and then some. Any slight recreation of the "Dominoes" was worth seeing. I’m glad that EC has recognized how good those years really were. Please thank him for that. Those recordings will forever remain in CD player!! When he dedicated "Anyday" to "Bob" it was probably for Whitlock. Bramhall did him justice. I guess the only thing better would have been to be at Criteria Studios in Miami in the 70’s. Thanks.
Review by James Cooner
The show in Birmingham was amazing! I’m 15 years old and this was my first time seeing Eric (my first concert, also). I was blown away! The fretwork of Clapton was amazing and his band was perfect for him. He let his band all have their part and it was great. During "Old Love" after Clapton finished with his first long solo, he leaned by his amps and just watched Robert Cray take the solo and I could tell Clapton was enjoying it. I loved seeing Cray and Clapton (my dad’s favorite guitarists) playing side by side. Derek Trucks was very impressive, his break during "Running on Faith" was great and went along with Clapton’s acoustic work on the song perfect. I loved every bit of the show. There wasn’t a dull second. During the last three songs everyone was on their feet and just enjoying great music. I hated to see the show end but the encore "Crossroads" was so good. Seeing four great guitarists all on the stage together playing "Crossroads" was amazing and something I will probably never see again. I loved the change in the set list. "San Francisco Bay Blues" was a welcome treat and it was great seeing Clapton playing the kazoo. Very entertaining. I’m still so excited about being able to see the concert. Thanks Eric!!!
Review by Pat / Knoxville
Saw EC for the 15th time Wednesday night in Birmingham ALA and as usual Eric put on a great show. Loved the acoustic part when you could tell they were playing songs normally not on the set list. Doyle and Eric both seemed to be having a great time during "San Francisco Bay Blues". Doyle played harmonica and Eric played the kazoo and how refreshing it was. You could tell it was out of the ordinary as Eric and Doyle laughed at each other. The Alabama crowd went crazy over Derek Trucks as well.
Review by Steve Lewis
Man that was an awesome show. This was my first time to see Eric Clapton or Robert Cray. I can’t imagine Robert Cray ever sounding better.
Eric Clapton was everything I imagined and more. If you love great guitar playing this is the show you need to see.
Clapton was great like I anticipated him to be, but Derek Trucks was unbelievable and Steve Jordan was awesome on drums. How lucky could a guy (Derek Trucks) that young be to get to tour with a legend like Eric Clapton?
Pretending, Old Love (with Robert Cray) and the whole last set and encore were my favorite parts of the show. But the entire show was unbelievable.
Our seats were on the front row of the upper level just past the front of the stage. We were probably no more than 50-75 ft from the screen on the right side of the stage. We had a great view of the stage and screen and the sound was crisp and clean as it could be. Great show.
Review by John Clauser
Ok, I know I’m late being almost 37 and this was the very first time I got to see Eric in concert. What can I say? Seeing Eric play is just amazing. Not just Eric. The whole band! Everyone got their turn to show off their amazing talent and share the spotlight. And Eric and the band just let the music do the talking! Hearing Eric do "I Shot the Sheriff" was a treat for me because I can remember being 5 or 6 years old and that was probably the first song of his I ever heard. Watching him play San Francisco Bay Blues with the kazoo was very entertaining, even if it was a bit on the awkward side. To me, this band was a perfect mix for the set that was played.
Review by Joe Sowinski / Tallahassee, FL
Having read previous concert reviews for this tour, I knew a great evening of music was ahead. The set list is the best in years and all songs performed were great. Eric’s voice is very strong and he has great range.There was not a slow moment in the concert. I overheard a 25 year old behind me say "this, by far, is the best (expletive deleted) concert I have ever seen. Given the talent on stage it’s easy to understand why he felt this way. The inclusion of key to the highway and San Francisco bay blues in the sit down set was a surprise and enjoyed by all. I enjoyed this concert immensely but I miss Eric’s extended soloes. I had prepared myself for fewer soloes from Eric and more from Doyle and Derek but was surprised by how much Eric limited his playing time. Other than extended soloes on I shot the sheriff and old love, and a good intro to little queen of spades, Eric played only understated, short soloes. If I recall correctly,during the sit down set, he did not solo other than on key to the highway. I heard enough great soloes though. Derek on little queen and Robert Cray on old love were highlights. Anyone attending future shows will not be disappointed.
Review by Mike Tillery / Huntsville AL
I’ve got to say that that this is one of the best concerts I’ve been to in quite some time and will probably never get to see one with so many great musicians on one stage. I’m more familiar with many of Eric’s newer songs and the ones from his more recent concert DVDs and CDs, so for a few of the songs I was kind of lost not knowing them, but the performances themselves made up for that. All the players for both acts were awesome and may I say that Derek Trucks was a huge surprise as far as how good he is. When I read in the reviews that Eric was doing about two hour shows, I was amazed and couldn’t believe it when I looked at my watch and see what time it was when he finished. That right there is a lot of work on stage. Also I think I read too much from here because I already knew the set list pretty much, so when he changed the sit down set with Key to the highway and San Francisco Bay blues, I was highly pleased. Two really fun songs to sit back and enjoy. The only complaint about the night I have to say is the sound was a little tinny, especially during the piano solos, and I doubt that the crews are any bit at fault. The BJCC in Birmingham from what I can tell is a pretty old building and I think the acoustics are not that good. Probably a decent place for an arena football game but not a concert. Also one other factor to this could have been that our seats were pretty much in line with one of the overhead banks of speakers and we might have just been too close. I bet if I had gotten tickets just a little farther back, I would have been just fine. All in all though, it was a great show and if I ever get the chance to see him again, I’ll be there.
Review by Michael Waugh / Decatur AL
I am from Decatur, Alabama and I saw Eric’s show last night. To me, it is a privilege to see one of the original British performers from the 60’s who so revolutionized rock music. And no doubt about it, Eric is the Cream of the crop. I have also seen Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck and I am overwhelmed by the talent level of that whole group and the music that they have created.
I truly enjoyed Eric’s show, his melodic phrasing and rythym on the guitar, his songwriting, his cover songs, and his own interpretations of great Blues tunes are all in the stratosphere. Derek Trucks is easily the most talented slide player that I’ve ever seen, I will definately be checking out more of his music in the future. It was awesome to hear Layla played in the same spirit as the original, Derek carried Duane Allman’s part VERY well. And the third guitar player, I’m sorry I didn’t catch his name, he played the whole night with his guitar strung upside down! I found myself riveted to the big screen everytime he soloed to see how he went about chording and fingering the notes and he had a very unique sound due to this unorthadox style.
All in all, Eric Clapton easily proved why he is such a superstar, and again, it really is a privilege to see him perform. The one downer on the night was Robert Cray’s anti war song. I DID NOT go to the concert to hear a leftist political statement, I went to hear good music and have fun. Why an artist would botch a show with something that is sureto turn off many people in the audience is beyond me, and I will most certainly avoid his music in the future.
Review by Charlie McMahan / Nashville TN
I live in Nashville, but drove to Atlanta last week, and then to Birmingham the following Wednesday to see Eric twice. He was killer! The band was terrific, very high energy and was a guitar player’s (like myself) paradise. He was in rare form, played exactly as you like to hear him play. It was particularly nice to hear After Midnight, Pretending, and Old Love, which have been absent from the recent tours. And Robert Cray was so great an addition. The two of them together were so complimentary of each other, what a musical moment.
The "sleeper" (probably only to me…) was Derek Trucks. What a great and tasteful player, again so complimentary of Clapton’s playing. They were all throwing out licks like crazy, but somehow never stepped on each other. Truck’s slide licks on Layla (particularly the slower part of the song at the end) were virtually identical to the record, making this performance of Layla the best I’ve ever seen Eric do live. Hats off to Eric for bringing in such great musicians and his respect for them on stage. It really made the audience feel that the concert was not just about Eric the player/ singer/ writer, but also as a man that knows how to portray leadership, respect, and maturity.
I would go to it a third time, but time money and location will prohibit. I’m hoping and praying for a DVD of this one. he jumbotrons were managed well, with fades from Eric to Cray, to Derek, to Doyle, it was very well done and well rehearsed.
Interesting to me is that in Atlanta, he played a Gibson 335 for 5 or 6 songs after the acoustic break, and that guitar sounded outstanding. But in Birmingham played Strats all night. I hope someday, somehow to meet Eric, perhaps pick a little with him. In my opinion, Eric’s tone is the best of his career. Thanks Eric for all that you are.
Review by Steve "Sparky" Hassenplug
Slowhand & the New Sheriff In Town: Birmingham, Alabama, calls itself the Magic City; and magic was in abundant display Wednesday night on stage at the Birmingham-Jefferson ivic Center. Three-time Rock & Roll Hall of fame inductee Eric lapton performed a blistering two-hour+ set of songs that spanned rom his brief-but groundbreaking stint with Derek & the Dominoes forward through his lengthy solo career. But, it wasn’t a one-man show; as the talents of two much younger six-string gunslingers…Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II…were also
showcased. Trucks is the nephew of Butch Trucks, original (and current) drummer for the Allman Brothers Band; and Bramhall is from the fertile Austin, TX, music scene: his father collaborated with Stevie Ray Vaughn in writing songs.
I’ve seen Clapton several times in the past; including recently in New Orleans. It’s always a good show; although, not being a charismatic entertainer, he puts everything into his main strength: his awesome guitar playing. What made this show superior to others of his I’ve seen was the addition of Trucks (Bramhall has already been in the band for a few years). Honestly, I haven’t seen anyone today that can best his skill level. Standing as motionless as an oak tree, his handsmove so quickly and effortlessly, you almost can’t believe what you’re seeing…or hearing. Most everyone has heard of the slide guitar legend that is Duane Allman. Well, I predict that one day, Derek’s name is going to held with the same level of esteem. Indeed, during the night’s performance of "Layla", the young Trucks played the hauntingly-beautiful parts that Duane laid down; thirty-six years ago. It was goose-bump time, let me tell you.
In addition to "Layla", Clapton and his band played many other hits; including the opener, "Pretending", "I Shot the Sheriff", "Cocaine", and "Wonderful Tonight". "Key to the Highway" and "San Francisco Bay Blues" were played during a mid-show acoustic set; with both songs getting approval from the sold-out crowd.
Throughout the evening, Clapton would step to the side; ever gracious to let all the members of his band shine in the spotlight. The two keyboard players, in particular, played beautifully. The audience would acknowledge each solo; but by far, the biggest roars elicited during the evening seemed to be for Trucks. Having the young players on this tour with him seemed to energize Clapton, too. Looking nowhere near his sixty-one years, Eric’s playing seemed truly inspired. Thankfully, he showed no signs of retiring!