Venue: Royal Albert Hall
City: South Kensington, London
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)
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
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 Andy Balcam, Newbury
So, following a schlep around the barns of the north Eric returned to his spiritual home last night and the difference in atmosphere and performance was tangible! Well it was certainly a number of steps up from Birmingham last Thursday! No surprises in the set but the performances right across the piece seemed far more assured and EC in particular seemed much more relaxed and inspired in the grand old hall.
Highlights were the usual suspects really – the long, slow blues of Little Queen, the dramatic building solo in Sheriff and the intimate sit-down set which gives the ever impressive Derek Trucks an opportunity to play some beautifully understated slide.
It was nice to see Doyle coming a little more the fore this time around as well. In Birmingham he seemed unsure what to do in his solo spots but last night he came good with awesome breaks in Cocaine and Crossroads. As a gnarly old guitar geezer delighting in finally seeing Eric dust off the old stuff and play lots of widdly solos I’ve been amused to witness my least favourite number Wonderful Tonight getting the most ecstatic audience response! Not a titter for Got To Get Better or Anyday!
Still, as seems to be echoed across the reviews here, this band keeps on getting better. Just how good can it get? I hope to find out with my last visit next Tuesday!
Review by Mark Allen
My dad introduced me to EC 20 years ago, quoting “if you want to learn to play the guitar, watch him!” It was of course Clapton launching into one of his signature solos. After last nights RAH session it was great to see he still has the magic. Because I can only describe that’s what it is. I have been reading the previous reviews with anticipation as to what to expect. I was far from disappointed.
‘Pretending’ opened the night. Derek launched into a fine solo which caused Eric to shake his head from side to side. This implied he was ready to talk through the fret, and boy he had a lot to say. A raw solo followed, which signalled that he was going to control the solos on the first night at the RAH.
The following set list was altered slightly, but delivered some fine work from Eric. ‘I shot the sheriff’ provided some great soloing but I felt was a little rushed. This usually is the song which turns the night, as well as Eric’s playing. But hey, there was plenty of making up. Later on we were treated to the acoustic set. During this, the crowd finally woke up to ‘Nobody knows you…’ with rhythmic clapping all around the hall. The sit down session supplied a slower pace for a few more numbers preparing us for what would come next.
‘After midnight’ was powerful to say the least. Eric seemed to be settling and wanting to control more of the playing which was great to see. ‘Little Queen Of Spades’ was for me the highlight of the evening. The blues soloing was mind blowing, showing that no-one can touch him when its flowing, and it sure did.
The classics finished off the show with Robert Cray joining Eric on ‘Crossroads’ Having never seen Derek play, he no doubt pushed Eric to the higher plains. When he’s there, no words can describe the experience if you know what I mean. I can only see this tour gathering pace as EC launched very early on.
I will be seeing EC again next Monday, but due to technical booking problems, I also have tickets for the Tuesday show as well. All I can say is I’m glad computers go wrong!!! Thank you Mr Clapton and roll on next week.
Review by Ian McCormack
Tonight’s opener really did see EC come out and literally blow the roof off. I thought that perhaps the powerhouse days were a thing of the past and maybe EC would be settling into his elder statesman role with the rather more relaxed style we have seen in the last few years. Well how wrong can you be!!!
I can only add to the other comments that I’ve seen our man over 150 times and seldom have I seen him play with such urgency. I think having a fantastic new band has obviously rejuvenated him and you could tell by the expressions on his face over the 2 hours of fabulous music. I wont detail every song as the set list tells the story but particular highlights for me were
Pretending ~ Fresh, rocking and benefits from Doyle and Derek adding solos.
Sheriff ~ Steve Jordan’s different style has made it more reggae and its fab!!!
Back Home ~ Sounding even better than on the album
Motherless Children ~ Is almost like a rollercoaster ride, the pace and urgency of tempo is awesome to behold.
In short, every number was played with a freshness and energy that you couldn’t help but be swept along with.
A couple of observations on EC himself which I think demonstrate his happy state of mind. After the first number a guy next to me in the fourth row shouted “We love you Eric” and surprisingly EC looked straight over to him and thanked him…a simple but nice touch. When exiting the stage after Layla a lad held out her hand very timidly and to my surprise EC shook her hand warmly and smiled. It was nice to see him interact with his fans like this!! One other random observation is that unless theses 42 year old ears are on the wane I’m sure that EC didn’t play the first half of the opening Layla riff, instead playing the 2nd part. I think Doyle played the opening lick… perhaps someone out there can confirm this?
Review by Des Hill
Further to Ian McCormack’s post, and his wondering whether the opening riffs of Layla was played by Doyle – they were played by Derek Trucks. We were sitting on the second tier, about two o’clock, relative to the stage. I brought some binoculars, which gave a brilliant view of the perspiration, and who played what. Eric and Derek shared the riffs elsewhere as well – and with eye’s closed it was impossible to tell them apart – true musicianship from everybody. The only difference being that Eric was looking forward and connecting with the audience, Derek (and Doyle) seemed to be looking at each other, the band, into space, or at their guitars — not at us. Brilliant evening nevertheless
Review by John Bell
Further to my comments about the concert at the Glasgow SECC I now have been to the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday the 16th May to see Eric Clapton. What a different show. It was just amazing. The venue is quite breathtaking, especially if you are up on the third circle looking way down!
Gone was the harsh sound that I heard at the SECC, gone also was the over loudness of the sound. I could hear the individual instruments and hear what an amazing drummer Steve Jordan is. Doyle Bramhall II was in sparkling form, what a difference from the Glasgow concert.
The whole band had come together as one to create a fantastic evening of music for the fans of Eric Clapton, he must be so pleased with the result. To be fair at Glasgow Eric did say it was their first night and maybe that was why the sound was not as good as usual. Whatever the reason the Royal Albert Hall was just a different band playing.
Another fantastic performance from Derek Trucks, what a star, as I said before he is one of the best support guitarists Eric Clapton has had. Chris Stainton played his heart out, magic from both of them. Steve Jordan was just great, I now understand why he so highly regarded. Doyle Bramhall II, excellent and he smiled a lot, must have been enjoying it as much as we all did! The bass, organ, horns and backing singers all great, this time I could hear the contribution they made.
Also I must mention The Robert Cray Band, excellent, again with a great soundstage that allowed the music to come through. Cannot believe he was the support band!
What can I say about Eric Clapton that has not been said many times, he seemed so at ease in the Royal Albert Hall. He played with such passion you could feel the emotion in his playing. I wont mention any tracks other than to say I enjoyed them all. He is simply the best. Maybe it is the smaller venues that suit him better, could it be that he should return to the Playhouse in Edinburgh and do a couple of nights there instead of one at the Glasgow SECC. Its just a thought!
So, in summary, both bands were so much better sounding than at the Glasgow SECC, I will go back to the Royal Albert Hall instead of Glasgow in future. Does that not say how much better they were? Roll on the next tour. Thank you Eric Clapton, still the best by miles 🙂
Review by Edward Stanley, London
What a night!! When Robert Cray and his band came on stage I was really excited and they started the night off with a great set list which included the fantastic song ‘Poor Johnny’. Robert Cray’s guitar playing completely blew me away! They received a big applause from the audience when they left the stage.
Then after watching the crew set up the stage for Eric, the night just got better and better. ‘Pretending’ was a great show opener and ‘So Tired’ sounded really good live. It was great to hear some old Derek And The Dominoes tracks. Highlights for me were ‘I Shot the Sheriff’, ‘Back Home’, the classic ‘Layla’ and the fantastic encore of the night ‘Crossroads’. I also have to say that Derek Trucks amazed me with his guitar. He jammed along with everyone and played some amazing solos. I am so glad that I managed to get Derek’s and Tim’s autographs after the gig. Wellâ€¦.that’s it for me until next time. Thank you Eric and Co for one amazing night and good luck with the rest of the tour! Have fun.
Review by Isobel Campbell
On Tuesday night i lived one of my lifes ambtions to see and hear Eric play in his front room , i can see why he feels so at home there the second he walked on stage his body language was different so relaxed. I have seen him a few time but nothing surpasses this.
I was at Glasgow the week before and the difference was out standing , at Glasgow the audience walked about getting drink etc , towards the end there was people up dancing they were told to sit down by the stewards , a shame really.At the Royal Albert Hall no body moved every body sat mesmerised by the musicanship ,clapping in time to “nobody knows you when your down and out”
Derek Trucks was amazing for someone to play the guitar like that at 26 well what else is there to say except only time will tell , everybody put there all in to it Chris Stainton was his usual exceptional self The play list was so varied and everything played with such energy , it all came to an end to quick , i had to pinch my self a couple of times thinking am i really in this magnificent place listening to Eric playing what an experience , You can play cds and watch dvds but there is nothing like a real live performance and that was real and very much alive.