Venue: Hampton Court Palace
Country: United Kingdom
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
The Kick Horns (Simon Clarke – baritone saxophone, Roddy Lorimer – trumpet, Tim Sanders – tenor saxophone)
Eric and his band wrapped up the first leg of the Summer 2006 European tour with the second of two gigs at historic Hampton Court Palace with a concert during the summer Hampton Court Music Festival. The band was then on hiatus until 7 July when the tour picks up again in Italy.
02. So Tired
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Old Love
05. Everybody Oughta Make A Change
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. Let It Rain
14. Wonderful Tonight
17. Crossroads (encore)
Review by Ian McCormack
This was my first time at the Hampton Court festival and it was truly memorable. With the ambience and set up of the festival being rather unique I thought I should write a little about that as well. Firstly the good old English weather was smiling on us and the day was simply gorgeous (just under 30 degrees). We arrived around 6.30pm armed with full picnic hamper and champagne. Walking through the Palace gates and down the long drive to the palace you can’t help being in awe of your surroundings and after going through the main palace door you are directed to the palace gardens where you can picnic prior to the show. Walking through the palace you actually go through the courtyard where the gig takes place and I was immediately struck just how small it was. It must be the smallest venue EC will play this tour. Lee was already on stage going through his usual routine for the 23rd time this tour. Then we’re out into the simply stunning gardens for an English picnic accompanied by livejazz and fire jugglers entertaining us on a beautiful summers evening prior to seeing EC…. what more could you ask for!!!!
Approx 8.30 and we’re all asked to leave our picnics where they are and to make our way through to the courtyard. A real buzz prevails as everyone takes there seats to witness Eric in such a small venue and then bang on the chime of 9pm they appear. Having witnessed the opening night at the RAH I was pretty clued up on the set but in some ways it had changed quite a bit. No Sheriff, Lost and found, Anyday etc and the Everybody Oughta Make A Change / Motherless Children section moved up to list to the opening section. A particular highlight of the opening section was a splendid Old Love which was a pleasure to hear again after a number of years. Being honest I’m not a particular fan of Tim Carmon’s rather funky soloing on this beautiful number (as on the crossroads 99 gig) and I wonder if Old Love was added in order to give him a "platform" to show off his considerable talents as at the RAH I felt he was extremely low-key.
The sit down set was excellent and as EC sat down he wearily announced "aaahhh finally" and I though that he was actually going to try a little rapport with the crowd but as I’m sure you all have guessed this was the closest we came to crowd interaction apart from the usual Good evening and cheery thankyou’s etc…. its just not in EC’s character I guess. I also think its a shame that EC doesn’t take the trouble to introduce this great band to the audience at any point during the show.
EC once again dedicated Back Home "for Billy" and as was also the case at the RAH the sit down set was extremely well received. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out still seems to be a EC landmark performance that the crowd simply lap up.
Then off into the closing section of the evening with a raucous After Midnight which actually got the well well heeled crowd dancing around the courtyard. It really kicked….Queen of Spades then weighed in at just under 15 minutes with Doyle, Derek and Chris all playing superb solos. Chris’s spot actually had certain sections giving a mid number standing ovation!!!! Let it Rain was performed in a very similar vain to the 04 version and then Wonderful / Layla / Cocaine + Crossroads brought it all to the end at exactly 11pm. I did notice that EC was looking pretty tired
during the last section and there were a few mistakes and missed cues but I guess that’s understandable given the schedule for this firstEuro leg and I tend to forget that he’s 61 now. A few comments on the closing hits section…… it’s still very strange to me that EC has handed Derek the killer opening riff on Layla. It amazes me that he would pass on his most singularly prized and internationally loved riff. I hope this is only and temporary situation. I also miss the extended opening lament used to build up the drama of Layla. Wonderful Tonight "still" moves people as I saw quite a few with welled up eyes. its ongoing appeal is in its simple directness as is the case with Tears In Heaven.
I still think the show is missing maybe 2 or 3 EC monster crowd pleasers to beef up the closing section. You could almost feel people aching to get up and rock out towards the end.
After the show we headed back to the garden and hung out there for quite a while soaking up the post concert atmosphere. As was on the way in we went through the now deserted court yard where the roadies were doing there stuff and low and behold there was very cool looking Doyle hanging out on his own with a glass of ice water. Went over to shakes hands and say hello and spent a very pleasant 10 minutes or so with Doyle who is a charming and humble man. He told me how cool it had been playing Hampton Court with its relaxed vibe. I asked him a few questions about the set and he confirmed what most fans have thought that EC had basically asked the band to throw in ideas and it was structured from there. Seems that EC is looking to fine tune the set over this first leg explaining how some numbers have disappeared as quickly as they came. When I asked Doyle if Lost and Found (A Doyle number) would stay in the set he jokingly rolled his eyes and said "think he’s canned that" We discussed the upcoming second leg and the band are extremely excited to play Red Square. A really special way to round off a really special evening seeing EC and band at such a unique venue.
Review by Graham Clark
After 40 years of following Eric and always in awe of his playing, last Saturday I finally managed to get to see him live, in the intimate glorious surroundings of Hampton Court. What can I say, the evening passed far too quickly and Eric was flawless. Leaving plenty of scope for the two apprentices to show their skills â€“ with considerable success â€“ the master still managed to add that extra flair as only he can. For me the blues section was the peak with Layla, Wonderful Tonight and then Crossroads to close, close behind but they were all magical. Not exactly cheap but well worth it. The memory will last for ever. Thanks Eric.