Venue: Wachovia Center
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. Back Home
08. I Am Yours
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 Dave, Philadelphia
"I think I’m definitely on the decline." Those words, recently uttered by Eric Clapton, nearly leapt of the page and punched me in the face when I read them a few hours before EC’s Oct. 9 concert in Philadelphia. I was stunned, demoralized even. How could this be true?
It was just two short years ago that I had the thrill of a lifetime, seeing Eric in person for the first time at the sold-out Wachovia Center. He hit notes that night that were clearly pulled from another world and another time. So how could he now be on the decline?
Turns out, in Eric’s universe, the word "decline" actually means "better than ever." It’s a odd translation, sure, but that’s how it is when you’re a virtuoso. And so Eric once again took the Wachovia Center by storm tonight, belting out his first notes before he even hit center stage. The crowd, of course, went wild.
He opened with a note-for-note rendition of Journeyman’s "Pretending" and never looked back. "I Shot the Sheriff" was once again pushed to new heights. The Derek tunes, "Got to Get Better In a Little While" and "Anyday" were lean, mean and wonderful.
The real treat? How about a triple assault of slide guitars on "Motherless Children." The band found a wicked groove on that song that took the concert to a whole other place. "Little Queen of Spades" was a sonic delight and "After Midnight" got everyone moving again. The sit-down acoustic set was beautiful, with "Back Home," a hidden gem from Eric’s last album, getting the respect and play it deserved.
It goes without saying that the band backing the man is out of sight. Willie Weeks plays a mean mother of a bass and Steve Jordan injects life into Eric’s jams that honestly has been missing for quite some time. (This is not a knock on Eric’s usual touring band, but honestly, the guys he has now are killer.)
The Philly crowd also went wild for Robert Cray, who opened the show with a blistering set and popped up throughout the concert, including the awesome encore, "Crossroads." The night, though began to Eric. For the second time in two years, he left me and thousands of others utterly beside ourselves. I sure as hell hope I’m "declining" like he is when I hit my 60s!
Review by Kimberly Newton-Currie
Ah, theres Eric! Eric was on tonight and all I can say is WOW! Eric and his band were hot tonight, Eric playing front and center, as it should be, with fierocity and fire and passion. The whole band sounded great… fresh, tight, knowledgeable, and very cohesive. Vocals, The Music, Everything jelled so well and flowed beautifully…solos by Eric and Derek were phenomenal!…I have no complaints…Love Ya, Eric Keep on Keepin’ on…
Review by Joe Sacks – Stratford NJ
The band as a whole was nothing short of amazing. Seven band members jamming and having fun. That sort of thing feeds the crowd. I was 12 rows from the stage, and the whitest of white men couldn’t keep themselves from jamming with the band. They opened up the set with "Pretending", "I Shot The Sheriff", and continued on, solo after jaw dropping solo. Eric seemed to enjoy himself more than any other time I’ve seen him, and it showed in the music. He played with a passion that was unmistakable Clapton.
I have always said that if you filled an arena, and kept the lights off, any guitar enthusiast would know when Eric Clapton hit a single note on the guitar. The man is a true legend, and he treated his fans tonight with a perfomance for the ages. I watched the show with my father, who has been an EC fan for over 40 years, and he was seeing him live for the first time. Sitting next to us was a group of kids that couldn’t have been more than 20 years old. How’s that for longevity? Watching my father enjoy the show was as much a treat as the show itself.
There is no doubt that "Motherless Children" was the kick ass hit of the night. Hearing the three guitars all playing slide was truly something I will never forget. "Old Love", "After Midnight", the sit down set, Robert Cray, "Crossroads", "Cocaine"…. I could go on and on. There wasn’t a single part of the show that was even a little disappointing. Something really special was the way they tied one song into the next.
Every song was played with a passion and emotion that was felt by all at the sold out show. One of the coolest nights of my life. Thanks Eric, and thanks to every member of the band for the effort! Absolutely awesome!!
Review by bruce ellis gibbsboro,nj
just saw eric clapton in philly, great show!!! the band was excellent. derek trucks on top of his game playing sweet slide. eric is amazing.his voice sounds really good and his guitar playing is second to none. a real treat great, great show. you all look wonderful last night
Review by Joe Maurizi
WOW what a show!! I have seen Clapton numerous times over the years, this show was tops. What a fantastic night, Robert Cray, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, and EC!! It doesn’t get any better for a guitar enthusiast. Every song sweeter than the next, Motherless Children, Triple slide guitars. If I don’t see another concert in my life, I have seen one of the best. Great set list, Eric was in excellent voice, the band was tight, I wish it could have gone on for another hour. I have to comment on Doyle Bramhall II, I don’t think I have ever seen anyone beside Hendrix play lefty with a guitar strung for a righty, Great licks. WOW What a night!
Review by Rich T / Philadelphia
The Philadelphia, Pa Wachovia Center show in a word…incredible. How Eric continues to bring such raw energy to the stage at this part of his career is remarkable. The song arrangements were outstanding, giving each instrument an opportunity to shine. And shine is exactly what they did….as good as it is to hear Eric groove…it’s even a bigger treat to listen to Doyle Bramhall stretch those limits and then to hear Derek Trucks’ slide guitar licks…it …it just gave me goose bumps. What a show….boy I wish they offered instant live. If you have a chance to go…don’t miss seeing E.C.
Review by John Ambrosini / Rosemont, PA
Love your site. My wife turned me on to Clapton a few years (ago). I’ve always loved folk and blues, and in general talent which is out there but seems to off the record label radar. I’ve been to see many bands, U2, GD (Green Day), CSNY, and a lot of folk and blues festivals. Last time EC was in Philly, I thought I would never
see a better show, and CSNY a few months later was disapointing after he set the bar.
Last nights show was one in a million, the guitar jams and riffs with his outrageously talented band had me feeling like I had smoked something, but I didn’t. It was pure chemistry of absolute integrity in musical talent with the full freedeom and range to have fun which they did undoubtedly! I’m not a big fan of many bands, grunge, etc. and I would sit here and say that he just did his thing and left and rate the show a B because I am very particular. He and his killer band "went off" into the stratosphere of music and just flat out knocked my wife and I (mid 30’s) right into the riffs and jams that came from everywhere and tied together like a symphony.
His phenominally talented group blew it right out of the stadium, encore of Crossroads was phenominal – but we can’t point to any one labeled song when the jams and guitar sessions were so spectacular, just speachless that this cat gets better and better – ridiculous show!
Review by Steve Skalash
This was my 9th time seeing Eric Clapton live. I’m an EC concert veteran for sure. My first time was 1990 on the Journeyman Tour in the Philadelphia Spectrum. In fact, I saw him twice on that tour including the second leg when he came back to the Spectrum later that year. I have since made it a point to see him at least once in each US tour since then, including twice on the Reptile tour.
It’s hard for me to pick which of those shows are my favorite. It’s hard to top the first time you see Eric live. Seeing him last night was a much different experience for me than it would be for a first-timer. However, I can bring you a perspective of a first-timer since I attended with my 21 year old cousin. He had not been a fan of his music before and was really being exposed to him for the first time.
Today, my cousin is a converted fan. He has seen the light. He told me the show had blown him away like no other show had before. That is the highest praise I can think of. The people sitting behind me were also younger than me (I’m 34, they looked closer to 21). They told me it was their first EC experience, though they were fans already. Their screams of delight after EC’s solos told me all I needed to know.
Eric was winning new fans last night, that’s for sure. And he was also pleasing his longtime fans like myself.
As far as the actual show, Pretending is a great song to open a show just like he used to do in the Journeyman days. So that took me back in time. I Shot the Sheriff following up worked for me. But when he got into Got to Get Better In a Little While, I got pumped up. I hadn’t ever seen him do this song until his last tour, and now I hope he keeps it for every tour.
Old Love with Robert Cray joining him was beautiful. The next song, Anyday, was a surprise to me. I like the fact that he is bringing out songs that he has never played in the shows I have seen, and wouldn’t expect him to play. However, knowing that in other shows on this tour he did Everybody Oughta Make a Change in this slot, I think I would have liked that more. Just a personal opinion.
Motherless Children was the highlight of the show for me. That song live rocks like crazy, and with the addition of Derek Trucks’ and Doyle Bramhall’s guitars to that mix, it soared to new heights. That song made my cousin elbow me in the ribs with excitement.
The acoustic set was next, and though I am more of a fan of the plugged in music this set worked well for me. I’m a little surprised he only did one new song from the album Back Home (I remember the Pilgrim tour when he did 6 new songs, and I wish he had only picked one then). But very nice choices followed on I Am Yours, Nobody Knows You When You’re down and Out, and especially Running On Faith which is a personal favorite.
Rocking right into After Midnight following the acoustic set worked well and then he went back to the blues with Little Queen of Spades. The guitar solo by Doyle Bramhall II in this was very good. But the solo by Derek Trucks stole the song. His solo got the standing ovation of the night. I love the fact that Eric puts guitarists on stage with him that could steal a song from him. That takes guts. Of course, Eric follows with a solo of his own and establishes himself as the true master.
Of course, the classic songs never die. I’ve personally heard Wonderful Tonight one too many times in my life, but live it always sounds better. I still get chills when he plays Layla live, and the immediate transition into Cocaine worked very well. (By the way… I read many articles on the web where they said he decide to bring back
the song Cocaine into his setlist after not playing it for a long time. These are erroneous reports. He did this song when I saw him in 2004, and has done it on quite a few tours in the 90’s.)
The encore of Crossroads with Robert Cray worked well. But… I really miss hearing Sunshine of Your Love on the encore. This was always one of my favorite times of the show. I miss hearing that song live. I don’t know why he dropped it. This may have been the only real disappointment for me. But again, just a personal opinion.
The band was top notch as always, but for me not seeing Nathan East with Eric was a first for me. I’ve always been a Nathan East fan. Nothing against Willie Weeks on the bass who was very good, and did a kick ass solo himself. I just like Nathan. I also miss Billy Preston on the organ. He added so much to the last two EC tours with his presence. The world lost a great musician when he passed away. Again, nothing against Tim Carmon who was in fine form on the organ. Chris Stainton was tremendous on his keyboards, and he got a rousing ovation for his solos.
Unlike past shows, where I wondered if I was ever going to see him again live (like the Reptile tour where his retirement was being rumoured), this time I left the show feeling like there would be a 10th EC concert sometime in my future. I hope so. Show #9 for me was right up there with his best.
Review by Jon / Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
I’ve seen Eric perform live about a dozen times since 1985, and I own quite a few of his live/bootleg CD’s and videos. Last night in Philadelphia was one of his best performances. The entire band is top notch, but, for me, Steve Jordan stole the show. I can’t think of a better drummer that I’ve ever seen live â€“ in Clapton’s band or otherwise. Standouts included songs that haven’t been performed for a long time: "Motherless Children", "After Midnight" and especially "Got To Get Better In A Little While". Although I’ve heard Clapton perform "I Shot the Sheriff", "Layla" and "Cocaine" many times before, these were definitive versions. I hope they release a show from this tour on CD or DVD.
Review by Brad Kelly / Belle Mead, NJ
Great show throughout with Eric absolutely on fire during Old Love. Wasn’t sure how it would go with Eric sharing the stage with two â€“ no three (Robert Cray) guitar players, but what a treat indeed. Bramhall, Trucks and Cray certainly elevated every song in which they played a solo, which in turn seemed to elevate ECs playing – whether he was the first to throw down (Got to Get Better) or the last guitar slinger standing (Farther on up the Road, Little Queen of Spades).
Review by Brian Loy
This was my first EC Concert. I have been a fan for more a long time since hearing him on the radio as a child in suburban Philadelphia. I am 29 and still love Clapton and all of his band mates through aout the years. Before the show started, I had made my way to the side of the stage 3 rows from the the stage on Claptons right side near Derek and Doyle. Having the chance to hear them from there amps and not the Wachoia sound system. That was treat ill never forget P.S. My real seat was near the roof Ha ha ha
Review by Julie / Downingtown, PA
The most awesome night of my life, next to the first time I ever saw the man back in 2004 in Philly’s Wachovia. Took my 60-ish brother back to see him along with my 10 year old, yes, 10 year old son (who was only 7 at the first concert in ’04). Just to see my older brother tapping his feet, yelling, singing, clapping to each song and smiling from ear to ear brought tears to my eyes. Clapton was right on the money. Surprised to hear the Derek from Eric, especially one of my fave’s next to "Layla" — "I Am Yours". Oh my God, couldn’t have sounded better in person on the acoustic guitars. A very "forgotten" song, but totally remembered last night. This man better NEVER retire…I want MORE EC!
Review by Mark Bataitis
Well, I’m going to go far a field from the other reviews posted and express my extreme disappointment with the Clapton Philly show. I paid to see the master himself, not watch him seemingly hide behind other guitarists. Clapton made a statement to the effect of being on the ‘decline’ and after witnessing the show the other night, I have to completely concur with him. I knew I was in store for something that was not going to be completely ‘Claptonesque’ when he didn’t do the opening riff to ‘Pretending’, which kicked of the show. In retrospect, I found the gig boring at times and self indulgent, with all those guitarists wailing away, one at a time. The adage ‘too many cooks’ applies here. Were these other musicians there to hold Clapton up because he doesn’t perform with the caliber or prowess he once did? I know the man is up there in age and one slows down with its onset, but I felt a disservice was done to me with the inclusion of all those guitarists out there. Again, I didn’t pay top dollar to see THEM and the incessant jamming, overblown and meandering sections were tedious. I can’t remember the last time I was so disheartened and dissatisfied over a concert performance I attended. Sorry Eric. If Eric’s mindset is to continue in this vein until he leaves the live stage for good, he will have one less attendee in the audience.