Venue: General Motors Place
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar / vocals
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*
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Little Wing
05. I Shot The Sheriff
07. Outside Woman Blues
08. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
09. Running On Faith
10. Motherless Children
11. Little Queen Of Spades
12. Further On Up The Road
13. Wonderful Tonight
15. Cocaine (encore)
16. Crossroads (encore)*
Review by Ben Klassen
I was at the Eric Clapton concert in Vancouver last night and just thought that I would share my view of last nights concert. In one word, it was AMAZING. I’ve been to quite a few good concerts in the last couple years, but this one wins hands down. I am only 15, but ever since listening to Eric Clapton, I have always thought that I need to see this guy live. He even inspired me to start playing guitar, something I have done absolutely obsessively over the last couple years (though after seeing EC it makes my playing seem pointless). Needless to say, I’ve been counting down the days since getting tickets. He surely did not disapoint! Though Eric Clapton and his band do not put on a fantastic show like say the Rolling Stones, the music is infinetly better. Clapton comes out in his loafers, jeans, and button-up tees and just blows you away with his skill. And the rest of the band wasn’t half bad either. All had their chance to shine in the frequent amazings jams and solos. Bramhall was a great second guitar player, and the skill was there all throughout the band too (especially on drums). I was initially sad that Derek Trucks wasn’t going to be part of the show in Vancouver considering the band was doing a lot of songs from Layla and Derek Trucks would take the place of Duane Allman (as best he could), but in the end it jwas ust more solo time for EC. After seeing Eric Clapton last night I can assure anyone who asks that EC is clearly the best guitar player in the world. At 61 years young, Clapton sure still has some chops. Infact, his solos in "Little Wing" and "Cocaine" for example were certainly enough to rival some of his best with Cream, Derek and the Dominos, and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers and some of these albums have been around for over 40 years! In fact, the last time Clapton made a stop in Vancouver was the year I was born, but he is still fantastic. The highlights for me were many, but I’d have to say that "Little Wing", "Tell the Truth", "Driftin’" and even the overplayed "Crossroads" and "Cocaine" were fantastic. It was also nice to see Eric Clapton play "I Shot the Sheriff" as Vancouver was the first time he had played this hit on the American leg of his world tour. The soloing was truly mind-boggling. Overall, this beats out anybody I have ever seen in concert and probably will beat out anyone I will ever see. The Stones didn’t even compare to this! I highly remcommend going to any stop on this tour if you have the oppurtunity, because it will literally give you chills and will certainly amaze you. Clearly, Clapton is still the best in the business when it comes to guitar-playing and I really hope that it is not another 15 years until Clapton comes back to Vancouver.
Review by Marilyn Koyanagi – Surrey, BC
There are no adjectives that have not already been used to describe the genius of Eric Clapton and last night, before a sold out crowd at Vancouver’s GM Place, he proved once again why he is, and always will be, in a class by himself.
Having experienced the thrill of Eric’s Toronto show in September (before West Coast dates were announced), my son and I had eagerly awaited a repeat performance. We knew that TO would be difficult to top, particularly with the departure of Derek Trucks from the lineup, but top it they did and it was no repeat. With a different set list and different arrangements, it was Eric who picked up the slack and he shone. From the opening notes of ‘Tell the Truth’ through to his sit down set and to the end of the ‘Crossroads’ encore, this was Clapton at his best! His mind-bending rips and licks, brilliant fingering and superb, earthy vocals left the audience delighted. How one can stay so fresh and energized after almost a year of touring is amazing.
Highlights of the evening had to be a rocking ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, the beautiful love song ‘Wonderful Tonight’ and at the top of the list Robert Johnson’s ‘Little Queen of Spades’ which showcased the enormous talents of both Tim Carmon and the fabulously gifted Chris Stainton. Skilled bluesman Robert Cray was a perfect opener and although his set was short, he was much appreciated by the Vancouver audience who roared their approval when he returned to team up with Eric for a rousing finale of ‘Crossroads’.
No doubt Eric could play a different set list every night for weeks and still not hit everyone’s favorite but last night’s performance had something for everyone, spanning years, musical genres and bridging the generation gap. It was a night to remember that more than surpassed our greatest expectations.
Review by Anne Salomon, Vancouver, B.C.
It was with great anticipation that my husband and I went to GM Place in Vancouver to see and hear Eric Clapton. I have read the reviews of the Seattle concert and the Vancouver concert was almost identical. He was not interacting with the audience at all, I think we got one smile from him and that is really a shame. Sure he is great, but I also need a bit of that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with it, this was just too impersonal. I really liked Robert Cray, awesome singer. The sound was fantastic when he was on but when EC came on, the sound was completely distorted. Except for the "sit – down" songs, his voice was drowned out. A real shame. But…..Eric Clapton is the greatest and we did enjoy the concert together with all the other 50-60 year olds!
Review by Mark Rankin
Last night Vancouver saw the return of EC after a seven year absence, and to the capacity crowd the wait was well worth it. Dressed in his usual casual attire of jeans and shirt, EC had barely stepped on stage than the crowd started a succession of standing ovations and screams of joy that lasted to the final licks of Crossroads.
Mixing songs that encompassed his entire career, EC’s guitar playing was nothing short of virtuosity(though at times punishingly loud – thanks to the GM place sound crew), his solos sounding fresh and innovative even for the old work-horses of Layla etc.
For this reviewer, who not only is a musician and life-long Clapton fan, the concert though musically great as it was, did come across as too rehearsed and even at times a little cold with Clapton and band showing little to no interaction on stage. The concert’s real success lay in its first half where there was a definable spark that seemed to be ignited by the fresher material and the amazingly funky soulful beats and bass lines of Willie Weeks and Steve Jordan. Once the concert waded into ‘Greatest hits’ territory that spark faltered and it became very much a by-the-numbers show, a fact that was completely lost on the audience who were seen seeking the exits during incredible numbers like Motherless Children, but at the first predictable licks of Laya were on their feet pumping their fists.
Clapton’s band outside the rhythm section were equally competent and entertaining though Doyle Bramhall ll, a great guitarist in his own right, often performed what sounded like laboured solos that garnished little applause from the Clapton-loving audience.
Special mention must be made to Robert Cray who’s incredible voice and tasty well crafted songs were an instant crowd pleaser.
Review by David Ronald
Eric Clapton arrived in Vancouver, sans Derek Trucks (most disappointing), and played a safe, occasionally brilliant show.
First Robert Cray, on time at 7:30 sharp he came across as happy to be here and appreciative of the audience. This man is a huge talent. He is a true bluesman guitarist but with that soulful voice and great guitar skills, he can wander into many genres and play them all very well. He opened with " Phone Booth" and wowed us all with his fast fingers and use of guitar affects the rest of the set. The man is very very good and is worth tracking down in a smaller venue.
Eric walked on stage effortlessly at 8:40 after letting the crowd now he was coming from the shadows with a signature guitar lick . Opening with " Tell the Truth" set the stage for a trip down my 70s memory lane. The set list had one change from Seattle and that was removing " Why Does Love Got to be so Sad" with " I Shot the Sheriff". I normally would have been happy with either songs but for me the room for solos on " Sad" outweigh the familiarity of " Sherriff"
Speaking of jamming, there was some great stuff from Eric,( Little Wing, Layla, Little Queen of Spades and Crossroads) to a very small extent from Doyle( Further on up the Road) . Makes me wonder how much room Derek Trucks would have had. Trucks is lights out the best young guitar talent today .
A very funky and catchy version of " Got to Get better in A little While" was a solid tune for all musicians. The audience loved it.
Singers Michelle John and Sharon White were great throughout the night but in particular with their harmonies on " Little Wing". Beautiful, heavenly ( due respect Jimi ) harmonies.
Keyboardist Chris Stainton deserves huge mention for his work and talent and of particular note on two solos " Little Queen of Spades " and " Further on up the Road".
The song selection was interesting nostalgia but in it’s totality it was not overly inspiring. There were obvious lulls in crowd interest during " Driftin" right through " Motherless Children". The concert had it’s moments that I will always remember. It missed on a number of fronts saved some what by some great jamming by E.C., Robert Cray’s brilliant performance and a tight talented band.
Review by Alan "Lopez" Woolverton
Friday night’s Clapton show was in a word – Alright! A set heavy on Derek & the Dominos-era material proved a refreshing change to the Adult Cont. shows played in the past. The initial electric set was absolutely fantastic and the sit-down acoustic set was great up until Running On Faith, which lacked a bit. The final electric set was also good save for Wonderful Tonight, Layla, and Cocaine which all suffered from Greatest Hits syndrome. All in all though, this show more than made up for the travesty that was the Pilgrim tour. Best of all, EC proves he can still get down! It’s All Blues!
Review by Brian Ross
When I heard Clapton was not only playing old Derek & Dominoes tunes, but had Derek Trucks playing the slide parts, I was anticipating a show of greatness – confirmed by recent Youtube clips and bootlegs. When I heard DT was bailing 2 shows before Vancouver, I was dubious whether Clapton would rise to the occaision and play extra long solos, or would he simply let the other musicians in the band play where DT would have been ; AND: would he change the set list.
I got my answer pretty quickly friday night at GM Place in Vancouver when Clapton and Co.held court for about 2 hours to a packed house. The band played excellently throughout – particularly Steve Jordan on Drums – never seemed to falter or sway. Willie Weeks was an ace choice on Bass, and even given a solo early in the evening. However, it seemed to me, there was a huge gap in the overall sound, where DT’s slide parts would be. The keyboardists were really given too much time soloing – even though they were both excellent. Doyle Bramhall II did not impress me too much. His tone was thin, and he seemed hesitant to really step out and wail. His slide on "Layla" was satisfactory – but too little, too late. Where’s Derek?
Clapton himself took some excellent, albeit compact solos. "Got to get Better..", "Little Wing", even "Layla" were standouts, for me. His tone was fat and loud (enough), his playing rich, and sometimes passionate. Other times he just seemed to be going through the motions, laying back on his trademark licks. His vocals were sometimes restrained, particularily at the beginning of the show.
As for the set list, I was disappointed "Why Does Love Got to be so Sad" was dropped in favor of "I Shot the Sheriff", however, he played a healthy assortment of other D&D tunes, as well as some great blues ("Motherless Children", "Queen of Spades"). The audience seemed to like the slower songs( "Wonderful Tonight" ) and the acoustic set. I, however, was there for the Rock/Blues, and there was certainly no shortage.
Although I disagree Clapton is "as good or better than ever", as too many reviews seem to spew, he can still wail when the moment strikes. The moment ends pretty quickly, though.