Venue: Entertainment Centre
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
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Little Wing
05. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad??
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 Ian Bennie, Sydney, Australia
After 17 years absence from Australian shores, Eric Clapton returned and performed his opening Australian concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, tonight. After promising my son as a young teenager I’d take him to a Clapton concert, now (he’s 31) I was able to keep my promise.
The lights dimmed right on time and the audience cheered and applauded as the Band walked on stage, this intensifed into a roar when Eric came on.
I had read in some reviews that Eric’s solos weren’t as intensive as they once might have been and the first two numbers seemed to verify this. The two younger guitarists with him performing absolutely amazing guitar work. But after a "Hello Sydney!" and a hugely enthusiastic response from the audience, Eric launched into some truly fantastic blues solo work in the third number and his spectacular guitar work continued throughout the rest of the concert to the absolute thrill of all present.
My son and I loved every second of the concert, we felt it was Eric at his best, great band, great songs, great guitar work.
Review by Peter Pynt – Sydney Australia
I have seen Eric Clapton play 4 or 5 times and was at his concert last night. Each of the concerts that I have seen have been in Sydney and I have envied my mates in the UK that have regularly been to the annual dust up at the Albert Hall. Last night was great.
Clapton is a sensational player and to hear Little Wing played live, which I don’t think that he has done here before, almost bought a tear to the eye. It’s Jimi’s song; its owned by Stevie Ray but Eric, Doyle Bramhall and Derek Truck’s did the business. The sets were professional, polished and note perfect. Spontaneity was a little absent but who would expect anything else at the rear end of a long tour. I have tickets again tonight (it’s a long story) and I am certain that the same polished performance will devastate the crowd.
One thing that I would say is that the last 4 times that I have seen Mr C (and he was last here such a long time ago), the crowd was out of their seats pretty much from the opening number. Last night only the odd defiant youngster (she was a babe from the bit I saw from about five rows behind) was out of her seat until at any point until the last song (Layla) and the encores.
When I woke up this morning my electrician, who was organising light fittings in my kitchen (another long story), told me that he had been to the concert last night as well and had the best time. Later in the day though, he asked me what will we all do in ten years when the baby boomer icons are too old to play. Citing Roger Waters. Rolling Stones, the Who, he is bewildered as to where the excitement will come from as he reaches his golden years. I told him that Eric had been to the cross roads and payment wasn’t pending. look forward to seeing Mr Clapton in years to come.
Review by Ari Anderson
Clapton’s concert in Sydney last night was a musical showcase. The setlist included a fantastic range of songs from an amazing career and having a sit-down set in the middle of the concert worked superbly. It is virtually impossible to highlight favourites from the evening, as each song contained blistering and memorable solos from Eric and his bandmembers. However, the performances of ‘Little Queen of Spades’ and ‘Outside Woman Blues’ were standouts. With Clapton providing ample time for bandmembers to solo, the style of the concert created the sound and look of a jam session, and a superb one at that. The performances of all the bandmembers were flawless and amazing, notably the slide guitar of Derek Trucks and the keyboards of Chris Stainton.
I read and hear very little about the quality, uniqueness and versatility of Clapton’s voice. His singing, as always, was a highlight of this performance and it was brilliant to hear it and his distinctive and famous guitar-work live. I hoped that he might talk to the audience between songs, but the quality of the music more than made up for this. Also of note was the creative, simple and unique stage set which was an understated but dramatic feature of the performance. Can’t wait til Thursday night’s show, when I hope the setlist will be varied to include a few other gems like Stormy Monday, I Shot the Sheriff, Old Love and Badge.
Review by Andrew Penhallow
If you’re going to catch one of Eric’s concerts in Australia – you’re in for a treat. I saw the first of his three Sydney shows last night and was totally impressed with the structure and content of the 2 hour performance. The set is mainly blues and roots driven and draws heavily from his Derek and the Dominos period.
The point that i found most interesting about the concert, was that it’s further evidence of EC reclaiming his roots in his brilliant career. There was the excellent reformed Cream tour, the recent JJ Cale collaboration and now the Dominos period. A genius at work! Having grown up in London, I was extremely lucky to see Eric play live at various times in his early years, from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers to Cream through to the Dominos period. I remember seeing the Dominos gig at the Dagenham Roundhouse – a legendary live venue in its day. Last night that recollection became resoundingly clear. Last night’s show wasn’t so much a concert in the cavernous Entertainment Centre but more of a pub gig – you could really imagine being part of just a small crowd crammed into a sell-out venue.
Eric’s awesome eight-piece band delved into the catalogue around the Dominos period and on more than one occasion sounded like the Allman Brothers – i was lucky enough to see them live as well! It all added up, as the band features Derek Trucks on slide guitar, nephew of Butch Trucks, the Allman’s drummer. Mid show it all breaks down to an acoustic section and highlights the other guitarist in the band, Doyle Bramhall II, who recorded with Eric on ‘Me & Mr Johnson’.
Another aspect of this tour which impresses so much, is how he’s recruited these two young guitarists and given them the spotlight to shine. On some tracks it became a tour de force with axe heaven opening up. "Little Wing" and "Motherless Children" really captured their combined brilliance and just soared.
The drive on some tracks, by the great rhythm section of Willie Weeks and Steve Jordan, was also something to behold. Mention must go to the two keyboard players; Chris Stainton, another legend who’s played keys with many major artists over the last 40 years and notably, a survivor of the notorious Joe Cocker "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" period, and, Tim Carmon who glued it all together with some serious Hammond grooves and solos.
All up it was one of the most satisfying concerts i’ve ever seen. Eric is brilliant, his belief and commitment to his music is second to none, he remains one of the true legends in music and has been the master of re-invention over the last decade or so through following the path of his musical influences and initiatives. It was so good to see Eric draw on this period of his career and skip over the material that had become entrenched in AOR and MOR for a while back there. This was fresh air and Eric should be commended for putting this show and band together – utmost respect EC!
Review by Tony Keighery
I came to the concert expecting big things. I had seen Eric on 2 previous ocassions,the last time being at least 20 years ago. The show exceded all expertations!!! Talk about a hot band! These guys really know how to ROCK.
Eric came on stage to a resounding ovation from the packed auditorium. The mainly middle aged crowd seemed blown away to be in the presence of a genuine Guitar God. To think that this man actually jammed with Jimi Hendrix is astounding.
The familiar riff of "Tell the Truth" heralded in a 10 minute "tour de force". The powerhouse rhythm of Willie Weeks & Steve Jordan laid down a rock solid groove for the 3 guitarists to solo over. Eric gave slide guitarist Derek Trucks plenty of chances to ply his amazing skills. Chorus after chorus of the most blazing, yet sweet playing I have had the pleasure of hearing. Doyal Bramhill 11 is a killer guitarist of the first order & produced his own unique fat tone. Eric unleashed a couple of solos which were staggering in their intensity. And this was the first song of the night.
This was followed by "Key to the Highway", the extremely funky "Got to get better in a little while" and a stunning rendition of the classic Hendrix song "Little Wing". This was incredible, with each of the three guitarists playing their respective solos with understated virtuousity. Once again Derek Trucks sweet sounds were the icing on the cake. The stage was then cleared and Eric & his Martin acoustic delivered a chilling version of "Driftin’ Blues". You could have heard a pin drop & each of his magnificent solos were greeted with enthusiastic applause, prompting Eric to slip a "thank you" in during the verse.
"Outside Woman Blues" was a stand-out. The crowd went beserk when they heard the familiar introduction to "Nobody Loves You When You’re Down and Out". The last song of the ‘sit -down set’ was the incomparable "Running on Faith", a highlight of which was Derek Trucks solo.
Back to rock and the Band really cooked with a version of "Motherless Children", with the 3 guitar players all playing harmony slide. Outstanding stuff! "Little Queen of Spades" was the slow blues standout of the evening with the veteran Chris Stainton playing chorus after chorus of the most inspired jazz blues piano you will hear for a long time. "Further on up the Road", "Wonderful Tonight" and "Layla" (original version), concluded the concert. An hour and 3/4 had passed and it seemed like about 15 minutes.
The encore started with "Cocaine", with all 3 guitarists contributing mind-blowing solos. Doyle Bramhall II was particularly inspired. "Crossroads" completed the encore and nearly bought the house down, One of the GREAT concerts and certainly Clapton gets better with age.
Review by Richard Downie
Attended first Aussie concert at Sydney Entertainment Centre, Mon. 29th Jan. A absolute musical feast. The band was made up of brilliant individuals who played an incredibly tight set. If Doyle Bramhall II is’nt the next "Clapton" nobody is. My only criticism which was amplified by many others after the show was that we had loved the hor derves, loved the entree, loved the main course, but where was the dessert, as in White Room , Sunshine of Your Love. 12,000 stood as one clapping and cheering after the first encore, the stage lights still on for a couple of minutes and then incredibly the house lights came on. Show over. Ah well, still a Wonderful Night.
Review by Jon Maclean
The house lights dimmed. The band members walked onstage to the delight of a full house, many of whom had waited 16 years for this night. No words, no intros. A few quick warmup notes and straight into Tell The Truth. Derek Trucks’ slide soared, as it was to do for the rest of the evening. Hard-hitting Steve Jordan pushed the band and it was obvious the members were here to play. Clapton’s voice was immediately strong and he sang the opening Dominos mini-set with gusto, ably assisted by Doyle on the Bobby Whitlock parts.
I was hugely impressed with Derek Trucks, who provided several awesome solos during the evening. My best guess is that the guitar solos were distributed 40/40/20 amongst Eric, Derek and Doyle, the latter also impressing with his lead breaks and second lead vocal spots.
Eric spoke little during the evening, only to offer "Hello Sydney" early on and then later to introduce the band members, or to add thanks for audience response to a solo. Band interaction too was minimal, but relaxed knowing smiles were occasionally exchanged, and Eric clearly enjoyed watching the others take their solos, so it was evident that after 85 dates this band had developed a quiet air of confidence and relaxation.
Highlights for me were the initial Dominos mini-set and Little Queen Of Spades, where both Derek and then Eric produced exemplary solos. Chris Stainton’s solo during this number included a humorous refrain from the traditional bush song Waltzing Matilda which was a touch ironic, considering Stainton along with Joe Cocker, was deported from these shores in 1972 for alleged drug possession. Happily Chris has forgiven and long forgotten.Wonderful Tonight and Layla came and went in fairly predictable fashion, and the band returned for an encore of Cocaine and a Cream 2005-styled version of Crossroads. Two fabulous hours and it was all over. Thanks for including Australia this time Eric, it was greatly appreciated by a lot of dedicated supporters.
Review by Justin Ayling
Well it has been almost two days now, and now at last I am feeling composed enough to put down my thoughts about a truly amazing show!!! My wonderful wife managed to get us Platinum tickets to the show so on Monday morning we made the five and a half hour trip to Sydney. All the way down I could feel my excitement building, after twenty years of worship this was my first chance to see Eric playing live. When we entered the centre we were led right up the front! forth row centre stage I was in for a treat! I had Derek’s two super reverb amps to my immediate left and EC’s Mike stand to my right! Talk about a birthday gift!
Eric had Mia Dyson as a support act, Mia is the daughter of Jim Dyson a well known guitar maker/ guitarist here in Australia. Mia has a great gravelly rock voice and plays a wonderful roots/rock style of music think Rolling stones and Janis Joplin and you’ll be close her three piece band were tight and a great warm up, she is a wonderful young talent who is well on the way to bigger and better things. At 8.30 Mia leaves the stage and the roadies finish Eric’s set up.
The lights dimmed at 8.45 and Eric & Crew walked out without introduction to rousing applause I guess we all "Had been waiting so long…." Eric played a quick warm up flurry of bluesy notes and then let rip with the intro to TELL THE TRUTH in fact the first five songs were from the Derek & the Dominoes song book. Eric was in great voice very soulful vocals all night, what a talent to be able to express so much beauty and emotion in his guitar and as successfully with his voice! Eric has matured into every inch the bluesman! Derek was the featured soloist on this first track and he lit up his SG with red hot lead lines all night long! The band all seem to be in to each others playing everyone took turns to admire each others stylings all night, more on that later….an extended end vamp led right into KEY TO THE HIGHWAY Eric and co have revamped this number from a rambling shuffle to a rootsy chicago blues with an inspired rhythmic riff. Eric,Derek and Doyle all took solos – This band eats blues for breakfast!!! It was wonderful to hear three great players each put their own stamps on the blues numbers! I was hpoing for an extended solo/jam at the end, but EC kept things sharp and snappy with immpeccable taste and timing, before we could rise to applaud Steve Jordan had started powering up the groove for the next song GOT TO GET BETTER EC’s voice, a killer solo full of huge bends from EC and a great funky bass solo from Willie stick to my mind,m great work from the girls on back ups and some more impressive fretwork from D&D as well.
At the end of this song EC said "Hello Sydney!" the crowd at the front were up and cheering I heard a "Where have you been so long?" from the crowd EC & Band seemed to smile at this then EC faced Steve Jordan and atarted picking the intro to the next number LITTLE WING this was one of the highlights for me I love the way Eric plays this song and seeing him pour emotion into his soloing only 10 metres away bought tears to my eyes. The band all performed strongly and EC still soared easily over eveyone. The next number WHY DOES LOVE GOT TO BE SO SAD was a killer as well, EC was not letting us down! Another highlight was the outro a guitar duet between Derek and Eric again EC demonstrated that a master musician listens as well as plays he and Derek sounded so sweet a beautiful way to end the first set.
The lights dimmed once more and Lee bought out Eric’s Martin, everyone else left the stage,Eric kept a 10,0000 plus crowd spellbound and speechless as he gave us a masterful rendition of DRIFTIN N DRIFTIN Eric received a standing ovation mid-song after his first solo prompting a "thank you" as he continued. Derek, Doyle, Willie and Steve came to the front of stage to join Eric for an outstanding old time roots version of the cream number OUTSIDE WOMAN BLUES. Derek changed guitars for this one, sliding along on an old steel resonator. Next came two numbers more familiar to the general fans NOBODY KNOWS YOU and RUNNING ON FAITH Eric didn’t play any solos as such, some short licks as an intro/outro here his voice was the focus, the band were particulary strong on RUNNING ON FAITH Derek and Doyle both providing strong guitar solos. the crowd around us again gave a standing ovation and the lights dimmed once more…..
Steve Jordan again kicked of a groove, Eric teasing and encouraging Steve to play more, faster etc… then Bang! A three way slide guitar attack to herald MOTHERLESS CHILDREN the energy of this song was unbelievable! great work from Steve and Willie to lay a strong foundation for EC,Derek and Doyle to wail and sail over! I was most impressed that all three played the solo in different positions rendering the identifiable solo into a true monster! Again a definate highlight! EC kicked of a slow blues playing his signature blues intro then quickly changing back to a standard tuned guitar without missing a beat LITTLE QUEEN OF SPADES what can I say? DOYLE, DEREK, TIM and CHRIS were all given a chance to shine, and each player delivered in spades! everyone got huge applause special mentions – Chris for managing to insert WALTZING MATILDA into his solo, and Derek constructed a true slide masterpiece that got most out of their seats to applause! EC must of felt the heat as he took an extra verse solo at the end to be sure to leave his mark as the master! From here the show kicked into a cool texas treatment or FURTHER ON UP THE ROAD Doyle playing fills that would make Freddie king and Lightnin Hopkins Proud! Another masterclass in blues,I believe Derek played some quotes from voulenteered slavery in his solo to the delight of Doyle. EC hit it into his classic BB and Freddie King swing style to finish the song in style! WONDERFUL TONIGHT followed to the delight of the crowd this version is great, Derek playing the signature solo EC playing an improvised solo on top simple and powerful in understatment! LAYLA ended the set a rocking version, EC playing a short and powerful solo to end the first half, the coda featured Doyle who played as Duane and still managed to infuse his own unique stylings BEAUTIFUL! the lights came on, the crowd rose as one and the band left the stage for a quick break before the encore.
When the band returned they played two songs COCAINE and CROSSROADS the encore had a much looser jam feel to them, the band were all digging in and enjoying playing! Tim Carmon played his "Guitar wah synth" solo in cocaine and in crossroads Eric played with great energy a strong upbeat version (I noticed Eric and Willie quoting the blues riff from the earlier version of key to the highway as a substitute to the familiar crossroads riff during Doyle and Dereks solos. EC soloed again and the show was over. The crowd that had been on their feet since Layla stayed up and gave another long standing ovation I wondered will they be back? no the lights came on and the guitars were cleared. What a night!
Some final observations……This band has developed a strong sense of camraderie Doyle talked and joked with Derek, Tim and the back up singers all night long! EC is still the man-he gives so much respect and space to all his talented musos on stage he is never scared to share the spotlight, and when it’s his turn he can still send a shiver down your spine or stand your hair on its end, such feeling he is so connected it is truly amazing! Thanks Eric for a great show I will never forget it!
Review by Mike Gardner, Townsville, North Queensland
Well ive waited for this day all my life and what a night it was. I have been listening to records (vinyl) and CD’s, watching E C on dvd for many decades but i still wasn’t prepared for the magic i witnessed on Monday night.Mr Clapton played like a person who really enjoys what he does and that is to enthrall all the Clapton fans that were there on Monday night I have always thought that Eric has a special something in his playing but untill you witness him live it is only a thought.I was lucky enough to be in row 2 on Monday so i didnt have to watch EC and his band on the big screen i could actually watch him and his whole band in the flesh. The songs that he played are all favorites of mine and the solos and guitar work by all 3 players was great, i am sure we will hear the names of Derek and Doyle many times in the years to come but there is and always will be only one GOD and that is E C . The encore of Cocaine and Crossroads was something to behold especially after nearly 2 hours of playing.As i said at the begining ,i have waited all my life to watch him play and now i can savour all that i saw and heard for the rest of my life or untill i can see him again. Thank you so much Eric for being here in Australia and i do hope you will come and see us again some day. Thanks to all the players
Review by Fonda Angelopoulos,Sydney,Australia
My first introduction to EC was live at the Horden Pavilion in 1985. And I can say honestly my interest in him and blues manifested from there. My fondest memory of that concert was the guy behind me screaming out for "Blues Power"at every oppurtunity. My only wish was that EC oblige him in order to shut him up. Monday night was supreme.
I was fortunate enough to convince the wife that by coming along to see EC was worth the price of platinum tickets. I really enjoyed the whole concert experience and the band that played with him were a cut above. Eric was polished in voice and with his guitar.Completely different songs played since his last arrival. My first impressions were of Derek Trucks; Amazing, who is this guy? A good choice of setlist with several Dominoes songs made it special, but would enjoy hearing "The Shape Your In" or "Sign Language". Nevertheless Im going again on thursday, and Yes I will also be yelling out "Blues Power" on the night.
Review by Paul Conn
It was worth the 17 year wait – first night in Australia and EC delivered the goods for just over 90 minutes.Compared to his opening night of the last Australian tour (Canberra in 1990), this was a far stronger effort, fuller sound and definitely a great retro night.
This was Derek & the Dominoes heaven – first 5 songs of the show were revitalised versions of songs from this great album. Tell The Truth is not an obvious concert starter but (followed by Key To The Highway, Got To Get Better In a Little While, Little Wing and then Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad) it set the pace for the next 90 minutes – Eric, Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks each soloing on every song.
Standouts of the night for me were the great version of Hendrix’s Little Wing (first real audience reaction in a big way), the acoustic version of Driftin’ Blues (with the teaser lead in from Before You Accuse Me fooling many, me included), the acoustic to electric version of Running on Faith, the very long version of Little Queen Of Spades (the obligatory slow blues of the night), and the final pumped up encore versions of Cocaine and Crossroads.
ECs’s solos were restrained but enough of them to show he’s still got it. Doyle Bramhall took the louder more aggressive solos, but the star of the night was Derek Trucks. I’ve seen his work on DVD with the Allman Bros and Gov’t Mule (and his own solo CDs are just the best), but this guy must be channelling Duane Allman – when he did the parallel guitar work in Layla it was just like 37 years hadn’t passed. Between the three of them, this was classic air guitar perfection.
Weakest song was Wonderful Tonight – technically great, just no real feeling; biggest surprise – was absolutely nothing from either Back Home or Road To Escondido CDs (good CDs, but a Derek & The Dominos dominated setlist was way better); and best unsung hero in the band – went to veteran Chris Stainton with some killer piano solos.
As others have noted, very little on-stage chatter: in fact, apart from occasional intro’s after solos, nothing – but who was there for the conversation?
Great staging and lighting, and sound mix was excellent. Sydney Entertainment Centre was packed to the very last seat. You would not have known it was the 86th show of the tour – great stuff!
Review by Sammie Robertson
That was the best concert I have ever seen in my life!!!!! Granted I’m only 18 but unless he tours here again I don’t think I’m likely to see a better one. I had to come up from Canberra to see him and spend most of my money and every cent was worth it. He did mostly Derek and bluesy stuff which I was wrapped about, although I love any of his songs. Highlights from first set include Got to Get Better in a Little While and Tell the Truth. The "sit down" set was magical, everyone loved Driftin’, my favourites include Driftin, Outside Woman Blues and Running on Faith. To begin to next set all 3 guitars tore into Motherless Children. I have never heard anything like it, it was amazing. The solos on Little Queen of Spades were incredible, Further on Up The Road was a funky little blues piece and Wonderful Tonight was beautiful as always. Layla was another crowd pleaser with the most powerful electric guitar work I have ever seen. The encore pieces, Cocaine and Crossroads were as always awesome and had everybody wanting more, but alas it was the end. The only disappointed was hearing people say he should have done more of his "popular" songs. Just a note to everyone, if you are seeing someone with a range of works and has been around for that long such as Mr Clapton, there is bound to be others in the set list, give him a break. And oldies, GET UP AND DANCE!!!!!!! You would have had so much more fun. Thank you Eric Clapton for a night I will remember for the rest of my life, please come back soon I’d love to see my hero play again.