Venue: Royal Albert Hall
City: South Kensington, London
Country: United Kingdom
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)
Robert Cray Band
Robert Cray – guitar / vocals*
02. So Tired
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Lost And Found
05. I Shot The Sheriff
06. Let It Rain
07. Back Home
08. I Am Yours
09. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
10. Milkcow’s Calf Blues
11. Running On Faith
12. After Midnight
13. Little Queen Of Spades
14. Everybody Oughta Make A Change
15. Motherless Children
16. Wonderful Tonight
19. Crossroads (encore)*
Review by Murat Gurel, London – UK
Beautiful musicianship and wonderful show. Fresh setlist and “I Am Yours” really did it for me. Loved that song for years and finally got to hear it – Thank You ERIC!!
Review by Mark Allen, Essex
My 9 year old son tells me “Your an Eric addict !”, in truth thats what I am. I really hope Eric reads these comments and takes note that he really is the best. Just dont stop touring EC.
Last night was my second outing to the RAH. The first being the opening night. The band then, was running like a well oiled machine, but last night it was a living beast. The cohesion was magnificent and you could feel the vibes from the start of the set. What can I say about Eric’s playing…further to my previous review words dont describe or do this justice. He was absolutely awesome. There didnt seem to be so much of a rush with the set list and the music flowed. Outrageous solos on Pretending, Sheriff, Little Queen…the list continues. I cant say anymore – you just had to be there.
I was wondering if I would be spoilt seeing him play twice, concerned if the fire would still be there for the duration. It was, and more. EC just gets better and better – I dont know how he does it, but I am so glad I play the guitar and have his music in my life. All I can say is I am going once more tonight – We love you Eric – just get down and play man.
Review by Paul Herbert
There are great musicians – and then there’s Eric Clapton. Maybe the rumours about Clapton being God are true. He is 61, but not only does he seem able to hold back time but he actually seems to just get better and better. Dressed for work in a pair of jeans and a lilac shirt, old Slowhand looked cooler and sounded better than ever at the Royal Albert Hall last night. Clapton without doubt is perfection personified.
He opened with Pretending and like on previous nights, took it way beyond the recorded version from Journeyman with help from fellow guitar slingers Doyle Brammal II and Derek Trucks. Clapton was energetic and looked revitalised after a night off.
Clapton hit his first memorable solo of the evening during Got To Get Better In A Little While. I was sat in the 4th row just in front of Doyle Bramhall and watched him look on in awe as his boss and mentor went to work. The atmosphere last night was bubbling over with enthusiasm and Clapton’s fierce solo attracted shouts and applause from the audience. The first segment of the show continued with the same tenacity – Lost & Found, I Shot The Sheriff and Let It Rain all featuring amazing solos and were all played with vigour and sounded fresh. The improvised solo in Sheriff building into a frenzy – again drawing applause and almost disbelief from the crowd.
The acoustic/sit down set also remained unchanged from previous nights with Back Home, I Am Yours, Nobody Knows You, Milkcow and Running On Faith. Robert Johnson’s Milkcow Calf Blues sounded awesome with all three guitarists taking slide solos and like many of the songs performed last night, were the best versions I’d heard on the tour so far.
After Midnight was again played at a blistering pace and you could see that the band were loving every second, Clapton tearing up the fret board with a short but ferocious solo effort for good measure. With the bass and drums still kicking along and EC’s sustain from his last solo still reverberating around the Albert Hall the mood turned blue and the band tore into a brilliant Little Queen of Spades. A funky Everybody Oughta Make A Change segwayed into 461’s Motherless Children – and what an amazing version!!! The rift played simultaneously by all three guitarists creating a huge wall of sound. Steve Jordan and Willie Weeks were also shining throughout in what is proving a great, great band.
Wonderful Tonight was followed by the push forward to the stage. I was lucky enough to get right up against the stage about 3 feet away from Eric and made him laugh with an overzealous `You THE man Eric!!!!’. A blistering Layla was followed straight away by Cocaine both of which featured some great playing by Doyle and Derek.
For the encore Eric was joined once again by supporting artist Robert Cray for the Robert Johnson blues – Crossroads. The band looked to be having a hoot and the song, more Cream tempo than classic solo Clapton, brought another fantastic evening to an end and left everyone wanting more. Thanks again Eric!!!!
Review by Dominic Gibbins / London
Sadly I do not have time to write an exhaustive review of last nights concert – I am currently at work, and still on a high, from what was perhaps the most exciting gig that I have ever been to. This was my first Clapton convert, and I only wish I could have seen him earlier. I would like to say that I don’t agree with some of the negative comments about Robert Cray – he played a stunning set, which was far from clinical – it was full of emotion, and when he said “this is fun” it was obvious that he meant it. A perfect way to open the show. By the time Clapton walked on stage the atmosphere was totally electric. Highlights for me were Pretending (what an explosive, incendiary opening to the concert!), So Tired, Let It Rain (so nice to hear this live), I shot the Sherrif, Layla and Crossroads. So much has been said about the band already – I agree with everything. Derek Trucks was really very good indeed, and his style perfectly complimented Eric’s. anyway, really, thanks so much Eric. This is becoming something of a clich&éd comment I think, but if you have tickets for any of the coming gigs in the tour you really are in for a wonderful night!
Review by Dan Briggs / London
Well I’m sad to say that having seen every tour EC has gone on since the early 90’s, this was by far the most disappointing showing of the lot. Things started well enough with Pretending, but the night lost momentum from then on, with far too much of the drab new material being played, and far too much of the backing guitarists attempting to match the master, but failing miserably, I think you could have picked a hundred guys out of the audience to replace them and not noticed the difference. There are far too many performers on stage, and the keyboards (who really needs 2 keyboard players????) were mixed in way too loud, with the drums way too quiet, although the drumming was so sloppy that was a blessing. Some of the sweetest and most gorgeous tracks ever written, such as Wonderful Tonight were rushed through and finished too abruptly, no real sense of moment was created. When I got home I had to stick the Cream DVD on to remember just how good EC can be, sadly this tour is more a reminder of how poor EC’s releases have been over recent years. Strip back to basics Eric, your too good to waste your talent playing watered down pop.
Review by David Turner
Super concert last night from the band. A festival of guitar playing especially for those who like to hear them played with a slide. I thought that Eric’s guitar tone was better than at last years Cream Concerts and to have his Fender sound balanced against Derek’s Gibson was excellent.
I’ve been a fan of Derek’s for 2 years and was delighted that he was in the band. For those new to his sound try the album ‘Wait for Me’ by his wife Susan Tedeschi. Track 6 of this album ‘The Feeing the Music Brings’ has a magic blend of guitar & voice.
The guitars used last night were; Eric – 3 signature new looking Fender Stratocasters (2 Anthracite & 1 Black) played through Fender Twin Reverb amps, Vox Wah + 2 other stomp boxes 2 Martin acoustic guitars. Derek – Gibson SG through a Fender amp – no pedals & no picks. A Martin acoustic for one song only. Doyle – 2 Strats, 1 Gibson Les Paul Junior for slide – huge pedal board, acoustic guitar unknown.
Review by Jamie Bawn / Brighton
Have seen Eric about 7 times including 3 times at Albert Hall in last 12 yrs. The first time in 1994 when i had worst seat ever behind stage and not the best performance. The second time in 1996, which was far better, with Eric on form, and this my third time with not very good seats in the right choir (Although i was at back so could stand up whole concert). Have to say Clapton seems to be getting better and better. To start with Pretending he played with as much energy as on the 24 nights video, a brilliant version. This followed by So Tired which i really like and proved just as good, if not better live than the album version. Got to get Better had some class guitar work all round and I shot the Sheriff showed Clapton is the man. However, despite everyone praising this song, the version last night was shorter then other times ive seen him play it, and he did actually play it far better at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, and when i saw him in 1996 and also in Sheffield in 2004. Still good though! Let it rain, what a song! He opened it in Sheffield in 04 and played it again tonight. Shame not everyone knows it as its classic Clapton.
The Acoustic section was very good and showed what a very good voice EC has, like his guitar work it is getting better with time. The sound quality was also clearer for the acoustic set. Loved I am Yours! After the sit down set After Midnight. A great version, again with the energy of the original. Derek Trucks nearly matched Ec with his solo on Little Queen of Spades. Absolutely awesome, as was Chris Stainton on keyboards. After Midnight also very good, and one of my fav songs. Everybody Oughta change was again good and better than the version on ARMS video, and Motherless Children was played with such energy by Eric. Never heard it so good. Always loved that song and i think it was one of best that night. Layla also rocked a lot more than other times ive heard it with great EC solo. The end part of it sounded more like the way he played it in Dominos with Trucks on Slide. The audience was most enthusiastic i ever seen at a Clapton concert (except for Hyde park 1996), and they started to rush to stage before he even played a note of layla. As for the encore. Believe it or not for first time since cream, he played Crossroads like the Cream Winterland version. Nearly twice the energy and speed of the version on cream reunion dvd. This was fantastic. I do wish though he only had one guitarist with him so that he could play more, and longer solos. When I saw him in 2004 his guitar playing was at his all time peak. Last night was almost as good but he shared the guitar responsibilities too much with the Trucks and Doyle, and when all the guitars were playing it sometimes sounded a bit muffled. Having said that the performance was very energetic, compared to prev years, and Clapton is God, and age is just a number for him cos he gets better and better, and he also looks very fit and healthy! Also like to say Dan Briggs review is utter rubbish Wonderful tonight should be played that speed. I thought it was best version i heard last night!
Review by Olli Oksala, Finland
Just got back to Finland from my 5 day “tour” of London.I saw Clapton at RAH on Monday 22nd of May and would like to add some thoughts of this show. His current band is the most rocking I have seen him play with since I started seeing Clapton live in 1969. Steve Jordan is a fantastically energetic and funky drummer and Willie Weeks’ bass-lines are classic and musical. The two guitarists are tasty and innovative and never do overplay. On this particular night Doyle was the one who got the most attention from EC and was in fine form
Clapton’s sound has changed once again a bit. It was now bold and a bit metallic or silvery, I think. Gone was the sometimes a bit “plastic” overdriven sound of 2004 tour. A great guitar tone and Clapton turned that tone into some explosive runs and imaginative bends on songs like Got To Get Better In A Little While and After Midnight. Overall Clapton’s playing was assertive, aggressive and musical in the way only he can manage.
A rocking show with the following highlights for me: Got To Get Better In A Little While, Let It Rain, a great bounding version of Milkcow Blues, the most beautiful song of the evening was Running On Faith with a sincere vocal performance and the full-on Crossroads is the perfect ending to this show, that should satisfy any blues-rock guitar fan.
Review by Francesc C
This concert was the main event of a 3 day trip to London with a good friend. Actually, it was the reason of our visit to the city. I had seen Eric at the Albert Hall tree times already, but it was ten years since the last one. After that time, I’ve been to all EC concerts in Barcelona, but the RAH is just another story. As for my friend, it was her first time at the venue, and she enjoyed every note. I remember her saying after the show that the more than two hours had passed like ten minutes.
I was very glad to find out that Robert Cray was opening and still can not understand how so many people could be at the bar while he was on stage. Great band, songs, guitar playing and a voice to boot.
Every concert of EC that I’ve been to, and there are quite a lot, has been different. This band was new to me, except for Doyle Bramhall II and Chris Stainton. Although I admire Nathan East, Andy Fairweather Low and Steve Gadd, the musicians that replace them did a very good job. I was particularly impressed by guitar player Derek Trucks and the way he played his Gibson. The show could not start better with the opening title, Pretending, being one of my favourites. Excellent Clapton right from the start. I found the set list very interesting as it was a fine blend of Clapton’s old and new. The Sheriff and Let It Rain were Clapton at his best. Then there was the sitting down part, with the remarkable Nobody Knows You… and a sublime Running On Faith. But the two highlights of the show (to me, at least) were one of the most beautiful renditions of Wonderful Tonight I’ve ever heard live (and that may be a very subjective opinion if one reads another review of this very same day) and, of course, Layla. Electric and poignant, as it always should be. Stainton’s solo took me back to the first time ever I heard this song. Definitely, while Eric’s most recent records may be a little irregular and taste dependant, when he plays live on stage he shows his enourmous musicianship and top guitar playing. It’s a real pity that this tour is not coming to Barcelona