Venue: La Palestre
City: Le Cannet
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 Clapton launched his 2006 / 2007 World Tour on 8 May in Scotland, but this gig on 5 May at La Palestre, Le Cannet, France was the warm-up peformance. Eric and his band used a temporary sound / lighting rig at this show. The band rehearsed for the tour in the South of France.
Eric’s 2006 / 2007 World Tour was to feature an expanded band and new personnel. Bandmembers are Doyle Bramhall II (guitar), Derek Trucks (guitar), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Tim Carmon (keyboards), Willie Weeks (bass), Steve Jordan (drums), The Kick Horns – Simon Clarke, Roddy Lorimer and Tim Sanders (brass), Michelle John (backing vocals), Sharon White (backing 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 Denis / France
Got back from Eric Calpton’s concert last night, and thought I’d drop a few lines to share my experience with the fans. It was definitely a great concert, most classics were played, along with lesser known songs from various albums. I think that whatever the reason you came, being the softer or the harder Eric, the blues or the rock, you were satisfied. His 2 guitar players, and especially Derek, were really impressive, and you could feel there was someting between the 3 of them that translated in the solos. The piano player (Chris Stainton) was also great in solos.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t the absolute best concert it could have been. I think the balance between guitar and voice wasn’t perfect, and it was quite difficult to hear him sing sometimes. The worst, was the brass section. I could barely hear it 4 rows from stage and my friends further away told me they paid attention but never heard their sound. It’s sad, because they played different instruments, including a flute on a blues song, that could have really been good sounding. On the disappointing side, ssome mentionned also the fact that it wasn’t so much of a show, asfar as lights, effects, or even talking of Clapton with the audience. As far as I am concerned, I was going there to hear him, not for a show, so I wasn’t really bothered by that. On the sad side as well, was definitely the crowd. Very few true fans I believe, very few of us identifying the songs as they started, singing along, clapping and such. Nevertheless a big round of applause to get him back on stage for a good 5 minutes, but he only came back for one song.
Honestly, a great experience for me, and for some fans around who appreciated the quality of the guitar and piano players, but a first concert on a new tour, and I hope it only gets better from here, and they learn from this one!
Review by Jonathon Fabrikant / Trans En Provence, France
About two hours ago I was in le cannet la palestre, watching and listening to Eric Clapton playing the last notes of the last track (Crossroads) of a wonderful concert, the first of his new world tour and also my first ever clapton concert for me and my dad. I first took a ticket for the concert in Paris / Bercy not knowing what would happen at Le Cannet. When I knew that they annouced a new date in La Palestre I could not believe my eyes : Eric Clapton only 45 minutes from my home for his first concert of his 2006/2007 world tour. And what a show : 12 musicians on stage, the wonderful Derek Trucks on guitar playing some amazing slide: the kick horns, two singers.
A new band for a new show which began with an old song : "Pretending" rarely played since the "Journeyman" tour. There were so many magical moments but my favourites were the duets solos during "Got To Get Better In A Little While", the long and awesome solo of Eric during "I Shot The Sheriff", the new acoustic section with the return of "Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out", a wonderful rendition of "Running on Faith", an explosive version of "After Midnight" (not played since a little while I think), some great blues songs from the Robert Johnson album in which every musicians could shown how great they were (especially Chris Stainton in my opinion).
I could also talk about "Motherless Children", "Everybody Oughta Make a Change", some rarely played songs and of course I could also talk about "Layla" with some wonderful solos, one of the most beautiful version of this classic from the history of rock’n roll!!! Thanks again Eric for this wonderful gig, with a new band, a new set list (thanks for not playing "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" or "Sunshine of Your Love" or "Badge") with some rarely played songs. Long live Eric Clapton and good luck for this new world tour. Greetings from France!!
Jonathan and his father.
Review by Jacques Carlotti / France
EC’s first concert at Le Cannet ( France) introducing a new band line-up was a great show. EC delivered these beautiful matchless solos we were expecting and even with Derek sometimes pushing hard behind him, he demonstrated that he is still the Boss! Everything has been said about Eric’s playing, so let us say that I enjoyed every note he played. I discovered Steve Jordan’s drumming and he added something new to a few songs. A special mention for the FOH (front of house) sound engineer behind his Soundtracks Digeco digital console, who gave us a well balanced overall sound and with 12 musicians on the stage it’s not so easy in a sport-hall to let the audience perceive every musician. His drum-kit mixing was even better than on many studio recordings. The snare drum sound was not covering the other instruments (think of the â€œRiding with the Kingâ€ mixdown where the snare drum is louder than the guitars, a producer’s wrong choice for me). The bass was not overwhelming, the tonal balance was accurate, and the only thing that could be improved was the excessive level in the high part of the audio spectrum, which over-enhances the vocals’ sibilant peaks, resulting in a noticeable change of Eric’s voice tone. I suppose the high frequency damping of the audience was not the one expected. The local organisation was far from being praiseworthy, the audience being as usual in France, treated like cattle, but as it lasts since the seventies, I don’t see what we can do to change that state of things, even if most of the people attending blues-rock concerts are complaining about it. Fortunately that does not change the quality of the artist’s performance and I thank Eric and his band for the good times they are giving to us.
Review by Alan / Germany
I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see music history being made, so I decided to fly to Cannes to see the first concert in the 2006 tour. It was well worth the time and expense. Full disclosure: I’m a long time fan and admirer of Eric Clapton, but it was the chance to see him with Derek Trucks which motivated me to see the show. For more on the show from the viewpoint of a Derek Trucks fan see my review on the The Derek Trucks Stop.
First I must say, Eric’s voice is better than ever. It is hard to elieve the strength of his voice compared to others at his age, and how much feeling he puts into songs he must have sung hundreds of times. He also looked very healthy and happy. He was dressed very casually in a stripped cotton shirt with pastels, jeans… the basic attire for the Mediterranean. He was full of energy, and seemed eager to be the musical alpha dog with his guitar playing.
I was in the third row just a couple of feet to the right of Eric, so I really could follow the interplay among the musicians. From where I was standing his guitar was at least twice as loud as Doyle Bramhall II or Derek Trucks. Of course, being right in front of the stage isn’t a great spot acoustically, so it is possible the folks in back heard a much different show. That being stated, I agree with other reviewers, I could not hear the Kick Horns at all. But I could hear Eric’s singing and playing perfectly.
For me his most memorable solo was surprisingly on "I Shot the Sheriff", played with a great deal of finesse and feeling. Eric, his drummer Steve Jordan, and bassist Willie Weeks seemed to be really in the moment and playing with concerted effort and energy throughout the concert. This was, however, very much an Eric Clapton concert. Eric seemed a bit detached from the other musicians, and there wasn’t a great deal of musical communication and "playfulness" between him and them. I suspect it was opening night jitters and the pressure of ultimately being responsible for everything. I imagine they will develop a groove and there will be a better group dynamic and tighter sound as the tour continues. Clearly this concert was a dress rehearsal in some respects.
About the venue, it was a relatively small hall, about the size of a basketball arena at a small college. Photography was not permitted. However, all around me people had camera phones recording the show, taking photos, and there were even some digital cameras being used. The security guys threatened to confiscate them, but didn’t. So I suspect some good photographs will soon pop up.
I particularly enjoyed the "Chair Session". Eric and Derek sat right in front of me with acoustic guitars, with Willie on a acoustic type bass and Steve doing some percussion. The sound was fantastic, Eric sang beautifully and Derek played equally well. Derek also played electric slide during the "Chair Session" and this was particularly impressive. On one solo in particular he sounded like he was playing a Sarod, it was a very haunting sound and Eric seemed genuinely knocked out by that. "Anyday" was also a bit magical. Eric’s vocal on "Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out" was fantastic. It was a great setlist with something for everybody. So everyone with tickets, count your lucky stars, you are in for a real treat!
Mikey Mike / Somewhere in Surrey, England
It was no great surprise that Eric was starting his tour at Le Cannet as apparently the band had been rehearsing for his upcoming world tour at the same venue for a few weeks. It was going to be a good opportunity to ‘test the water’ as it were, and try out his new band and set-list. There had been speculation for some time as to what he would play and the bets were on inclusions on a few Dominos songs. Rumours had been flying about and I had heard that at least ‘Why Does Love…’ would be amongst the clutch of new numbers.
As it transpired, that was not the case even though they had reheared it, but other gems were offered up for our pleasure and delight and did not disappoint. This tour Eric has bought back some gems, added a few newies and revamped some classics. Combined with a revised band with no Nathan East, Steve Gadd and Andy F-L, this tour has all the ingredients of a classic.
From the energetic opening of ‘Pretending’ (remember those memorable early RAH 90’s shows?) he launched into an admirable ‘So Tired’. And it was good. Shock, horror! This segued into the classic ‘Got to get better…’ and was as energetic as it’s last airing. A big surprise for me was ‘Lost and Found’ which, although Eric introduced as being written by Doyle, he took all the glory on. His new guitarists are fine counterpoints to his somewhat louder guitar (I’m not complaining) and when Eric did dish out solos, it was usually in the order of Doyle, Derek and then himself. And make no mistake, far from sitting back and letting the kids take the glory, his solos were biting and incisive. He never let anyone on stage forget that he was the leader.The new rhythm section of Jordan and Weeks were excellent replacements and I’m looking forward to seeing this band gel together over the coming tour.
There were evident first night nerves and a few missed cues but that did not detract from the overall energy. The rather large band all had a part to play with standout performances by Chris and the KickHorns. I thought Tim on 2nd keyboards was superfluous to requirement but that’s only a small quibble. And if push came to shove, so was Doyle but, hey-ho, let’s just enjoy the ride. After a fine ‘Sheriff’ ( a great fave of mine as it’s chord structure allows for some amazing solos ). ‘Anyday’ was then aired (they had rehearsed it on the last tour) and was very tastefully performed – EC’s slide was almost matched by Derek’s. Next up was the acoustic bit which had been in the past a little sedate but ‘Back Home’, ‘I am yours’ (beautifully played), ‘Nobody loves you….’ and ‘Milkcow’ pleased an appreciative audience.
A big surprise was ‘Running on Faith’, although played sitting down (with electric guitars) built to a fine crescendo. A rattling version of ‘After Midnight’ (not dissimilar to the Delaney & Bonnie mix) got everyone stomping but he followed with a very tasty slow blues of ‘Little Queen of Spades’ which will more than adequately take over from his ‘HYELAW’ segment. We were then treated to a slide guitar extravaganza with ‘Everybody Oughta Make A Change’ and ‘Motherless Children’ with solos flying left, right and centre. The final run-in of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ (short and to the point), ‘Cocaine’ (again, more dueling) and ‘Layla’ (with Derek taking the honours on the Coda)pleased just about everybody. With only 1 encore of an upgraded raunchy ‘Crossroads’ ( I expect even more when Robert Cray joins the tour on Monday) Eric left the stage looking pleased with himself. And so he should have.
This date was played in a relatively small venue (5200 people) with a stand in sound-system and lighting rig (the real ones were on their way to Glasgow). He had changed the set around from 2004 with drastic reworkings, he had a new band and, importantly, had not lost the energy to play blinding solos. I was in 2 minds as to go to many other shows. It all depended on his approach and if he was going to be a little lazy. Well, all I can say is that I’ll be seeing this tour as often as my bank balance allows and am looking forward to each and every one!
Review by Jean-Yves / France
I have seen Eric every tour since 1998. 2004 was the best of all, so I was wondering if 2006 could be better? I was standing on second row, straigh in front of Willie Weeks. I had to say that the sound was very badly balanced : Ericâ€™s guitar was way too loud (but clear) from my standing point. Some loudspeaker on the front of stage allowed to hear Eric singing (after a couple of tunes only). The horn and Tim Carmon were not in the mix. The rthym section and Chris Stainton were OK, but I could hear Doyle wih extreme difficulty and it was even worse for Derek, excepted when Eric guitar was "off". So I I have heard every details from Eric guitar but missed the "global sound". That said the show was quite enjoyable.
Great setlist because not only some Dominos song were performed as supposed, but including again some stuff from the 80’s and 90’s was a nice surprise [. The audience was a very lovely one [quiet].
Eric playing if not at its upper top level [it was the only first show after all] it was good and inspired. Little Queen Of Spades was probably his best performance. I Shot The Sherrif did not have extended intro this time. Wonderful Tonight was great (and short – listen to Doyle guitar). On Cocaine, the first solo was performed in order by Eric then Doyla and Chris, Derek did the second one. And lot of slide playing by Eric and the other two. The only real regret (apart that Little Wing was not included in the set) is the way Eric performed the Layla solo part. I could have imagined that with Derek in the band they would have played this on two guitars answering each others like on the album instead of usual solo (still great that said).
Eric played 1hour 58 minutes (waiting time for encore excluded). The second hour of the show began with After Midnight that means that the show clocked between 2h05/2h10 as the waiting was quite long for just one more song.
Review by Jean-Francois Leroi / France
Excuse my english … I’m an 57 year old ex musician… To say I saw a few stars in my life, including Beatles, Stones, James Brown and many more… This tour is for true music lovers… No show, no emphasis just music… The rythm section is great, focused on the efficiency… The piano player is outstanting : the audience started to applause on his chorus…like at Jazz festivals…The question is : Is Derek Truks the next EC ???? This guy is amazing : he looks like the guy next door and he plays like a star !!! I kept the best for the end : Eric Slowhand Clapton is at the top of his playing.. When he decided to, he presses on the "Genie" Button somewhere in his head or heart and the whole audience and band, everybody flies… Incredible… Words are not enough… I brought my 2 daughters (14 & 18) and they felt the same… No generation problem.. Must be seen !!