Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium
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
Eric’s massive 2006 / 2007 world tour picked back up in Singapore for the first concert of 2007.
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. Crossroads (encore)
Review by Faiz “Primavera” Piperdy – Singapore
Singapore have waited 17 long years for Eric to return since his last show here back in 1990. And I must say, “God” is great tonight.
Five of The Dominoes tunes one after another set the tone and kicked started the night as well as the audience into a frenzy from the get go. From the opener Tell The Truth, the band seemed fresh and eager to thrill after a short Christmas break after the December shows in Japan.
A slightly uptempo version of Key To The Highway with a groovy drumbeat from Steve Jordan had me smiling, and some blistering solos were traded by Eric and Derek Trucks, who really made that SG scream with his slidework. The fist electric set had a really good version of Little Wing, one of the better ones I have heard and was definitely a sweet surprise. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad completed the first electric set and I really loved the slowed down melody change and the tender sounds coming from Derek’s playing towards the end of the piece. It was a perfect way to then start the sit down set with Eric going solo on his Martin acoustic for Driftin’ Blues, where he also engaged the crowd for the first time that night.
Everyone was toe-tapping and clapping to the beat, accompanying Eric in his playing. It felt intimate for a venue filled with 10,000 fans. That was followed by Outside Woman Blues and Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, which the crowd lapped up as soon as they recognized the chord intros. Running On Faith rounded up the sit down portion of the show.
The show continued going electric from here and one omission from the Japan shows was Cocaine. Despite that, some really beautiful sounds were coming from Eric’s Strat especially on lIttle Queen Of Spades which I think is definitely the highlight of the evening as well as Layla, which got everyone to their feet and dancing. Doyle, Derek and Chris Stainton were amazing on these numbers. Crossroads was played in the encore and was a perfect way to end the evening. The crowd definitely wanted more, but it looks like God’s return after 17yrs has quenced their thirst.
Review by Brian Rorke
i have seen eric over 60 x but last night was special, he opened with tell the truth, got to get better in a little while , little wing, why does love got to be so sad, i can go on about the show … ec his playing was incredible the very best i have ever heard him, he has not lost one bit , of his technique, heart and soul and yes, his speed and accuracey was amazing and he was electrifying, and no long stops between songs, he just rattled them off as the commander in chief. layla it was the best version i heard, and all threw the show the ladies backing vocals were great , drums , base, and keyboard were great! thank you,for a great show!!
Review by Daryl Li – Singapore
“I took a bit of a break, like fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years. I don’t know. Seems like a long time.” Calling this show Eric Clapton: Live In Singapore is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more of a Derek And The Dominos revival, with the indomitable Mr. Clapton pulling the strings. Being a big Dominos fan, I definitely didn’t mind.
Not a word was said when EC took to the stage as the band opened with Tell The Truth. It was certainly a joy to hear a Dominos song live, and Tell The Truth didn’t disappoint. While it was great to see Eric and Doyle Bramhall II share vocal duties, I think the highlight of the opener was Derek Trucks’ brilliant solo. It invoked a little bit of Duane Allman there, and there can surely be few better ways to kick off a concert.
On with Key To The Highway, which certainly saw a refreshing change to a low-key shuffle. EC’s take on the solo section was tidy, and paved the way for Doyle and Derek to shred out some impressive work. Got To Get Better In A Little While was definitely lively, and my attention was drawn to the rhythm section of Willie Weeks and Steve Jordan. Much of the unique vibe that this band, I think, was down to the two of them, and the bass guitar solo here was splendid.
But nothing could have prepared me for Little Wing. Definitely the best song of the night. It was something of a cross between the powerful Dominos version and the more sentimental Hendrix original. Who else but Eric to lead the way? Goosebumps and shivers down my spine, and more than once too. There was a Bramhall II solo, a Trucks exposition, but every time EC took to lead guitar, he made my heart tremble with every wail and lick. It’s stuff like that that convinces you that, in an age of dizzying technicians and ruthless shredding, Eric Clapton is still the greatest guitarist alive.
Surprisingly, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? after that was a little of a disappointment for me. I was quite underwhelmed. I suppose that after the sucker punch of Little Wing, it would be unfair to expect this to scale the same heights. What was interesting for me, in an otherwise lukewarm rendition was how the song ended in much the same way as in the original, and I appreciated that. A lot.
Emerging with his acoustic guitar, EC played Driftin’, and this was certainly one of the highlights for me, because it was a personal, intimate experience. Just him and the audience. Outside Woman Blues after that was a nice change from the Cream rendition I’ve grown so used to. (Always nice to see the dobro!) Nobody Knows You got the crowd cheering (because it’s probably one of his most popular tracks with the people here, coming off the Unplugged album). I never get tired of it, especially if it included clever little keyboard solo like Chris Stainton’s one there.
I have to admit to not being completely bowled over by Running On Faith. It was heavy and overcooked, chugging along with a sound so thick that it was difficult to wade through. At least, for me, anyway.
It certainly took a while for me to recognise Motherless Children. (When the drums sounded, I imagined Willie And The Hand Jive, but I couldn’t have had been farther from the truth.) An energetic, driving run, it was a delight for the ears. Personally, I thought it was quite amazing to see three slide guitarists ring in the riffs. In fact, more than twelve hours have passed since the concert and the riff is still in my head!
Cue the blues with Queen Of Spades, which took the slot I’m so used to seeing HYELAW occupying. There were solos all around, but it was Chris Stainton who won a standing ovation from me and so many others around the house. I also thought Doyle Bramhall II’s fingerpicking work was fantastic. I have to say that I wasn’t completely won over by EC’s vocals here, but he made things right with some tightly-wounded lead guitar. Scorching stuff. As I’m so fond of saying, no one plays a white-hot blues guitar part quite like Slowhand. Further Up On The Road was quite impressive, with great musicianship all around (including a superb Tim Carmon solo). Nothing near the heights of Little Wing or Motherless Children, but I think the audience played in a bit here. I kept getting the feeling that they were somewhat impatient, trying to pick out songs that they recognised. The popular songs. And that came right after Further Up On The Road.
I always have a bad impression of Wonderful Tonight. Or rather, I’ve always had a bad impression of Wonderful Tonight. Of all the songs in the Eric Clapton catalogue, it’s probably the most overplayed and perhaps overrated. Last night, however, I changed my mind. I was purely and honestly touched by it. Every note he played conveyed a sense of yearning that I was never really expecting, and every word he sang was completely convincing. A romantic song of the highest order.
It took an electrifying version of Layla to get the crowd standing and cheering as they probably ought to already have from the moment Tell The Truth began proceedings. The first half of the song made my hair (and so many in the audience) stand. It was good to hear Derek Trucks try out some of the licks that Duane Allman played in the original. Eric carried it with authority and energy that one would be hard-pressed to guess his age. It reached its peak with the solo, which was concise, succinct and every bit as brilliant as I’ve ever heard in this song. And I’ve heard plenty of Laylas, mind you. But the coda part was a little… meh. I found myself missing any form of a delicate touch. Sure, EC did play out very low-key stretches that would probably have been quite beautiful if they weren’t drowned out by the rest of the band. I think I went in hoping to hear what would be a Dominos-esque form of the coda, but it was the sound of Derek Trucks guitar that dominated for the most part. A little disappointing, I have to say.
Screaming and clapping never felt quite as tiring, but we were all eager to see our hero(es) one more time. Obligingly, the band delivered Crossroads in perfect fashion. It was a great way to see the night out, and a fresh breath of air after years of Sunshine Of Your Love.
There is something to be said about the fact that, despite having its low moments, I thought it was one of the best shows I could ever see. I could have done with a song or two more, or a couple of tunes that I was hoping very much to hear, or a Gibson ES-335 appearance, but saying any of that would be detracting from the brilliance that was last night. I can now only quietly pray that EC doesn’t take another seventeen years to visit these parts again.
Review by – Parag Kamani [Mumbai, India]
Clapton’s dominos effect
Inclement weather not withstanding, Eric Clapton’s first appearance in Singapore in 17 years on January 13, 2007 [as part of his 2006/07 World Tour] was apparently sufficient reason for the clouds to take cover.
For this listener, having flown into the fascinating country for the “event”, it was immediately evident the concert had the potential of being different due to a multitude of reasons: it was being held indoors [Singapore Indoor Stadium], there were no hassles finding a place to park, the parking was located merely metres from the stadium [not kilometres!], the climb/walk into the stadium was rendered obsolete due to escalators and, despite vigilant security, there were no queues while entering. However, what drew immediate comfort to reality was the delayed 8.00pm start of the concert, although it was merely 30 minutes after schedule.
The stage was set in a manner in which part of the audience also sat behind in two sections. The lighting was kept simple, but the booming bass emanating from the sound system often overran the vocals and instrumentation.
With what soon became evident was a crack backing band – consisting of Doyle Bramhall II (guitar), Derek Trucks (guitar), Willie Weeks (bass), Steve Jordan (drums), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Tim Carmon (keyboards), Michelle John (backing vocals), and Sharon White (backing vocals) – Eric Clapton provided each instrumentalist an opportunity of showcasing individual talent, but without introducing their respective names, which was strange.
Wearing a black, short sleeved shirt on blues jeans, with canvass shoes in support, the now trademarked glasses, crew cut, and trimmed beard was reminiscent of Clapton’s precise appearance on his recent album sleeves.
Opening with the white soul groove of Derek & The Dominos’ ‘Tell The Truth’, followed by bluesman Big Bill Broonzy’s ‘Key To The Highway’, it was Clapton’s exquisitely arranged rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’ that established what makes Clapton’s playing guitar into a league of its own. By the time the first five tracks were through, it was time for a sit down set. The first selection had Clapton perform a solo, an effective acoustic rendition of another bluesman, Charles Brown’s ‘Driftin’ Blues’. With accompaniment from his fellow musicians/vocalists on the three balance tracks, the “unplugged” feel continued for the balance of this part of the set too.
As Clapton came to the last section of his set, he, his band, and the audience had more than warmed up for the inevitable crescendo. The fast paced ‘Motherless Children’ showcased Clapton on the slide, which he played as convincingly as did with the lead. The mid-tempo blues of Robert Johnson’s ‘Little Queen Of Spades’ followed, which featured solos by keyboardist Chris Stainton, and by guitarists Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks, who were not merely competent musicians, but masters of their respective instruments. ‘Further On Up The Road’ had masterly boogie woogie keyboard playing by Stainton.The wistful balladry of ‘Wonderful Tonight’ followed, commencing with a rearranged intro. The set ending with the raucous performance of ‘Layla’. The concert was over, almost when, after a gap of a few minutes, Eric Clapton was back with his band, one last time, for a highly energetic version of Johnson’s ‘Crossroads’.
What was clear is that Clapton, aged over 60 now, knows that his days as a recording artist are limited and, as a live performer, are further restricted. Hence, perhaps, his decision to dwell in his musical career from the past, mainly his heydays with Derek & The Dominos, ensuring that six of the total 15 tracks performed were from that era. With more than a sprinkling of blues as his want was an exercise of Clapton accepting that his roots began in that genre, continue in it, and will remain so even during the fag end of his musical career.
Clapton’s conversation with the audience, housefull at 10,000, was limited mainly to a “good evening”, “I took a bit of a break, like fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years. I don’t know. Seems like a long time” and, after every song, a polite, yet robotic “thank you”. It was evident that Eric Clapton wanted his guitar to make conversation [although his voice was in fine shine], which it did, as he ran through the first part of his set list featuring an early aspect of his musical career, acknowledging his blues roots during the second via a sit down set, before pulling out all stops with crowd pleasing selections in the third segment until its inevitable end. However, at 1 hour 45 minutes even after including the encore, one could not help but reminisce that Clapton – who has perhaps the largest recorded song list in the annals of rock – could have quite easily indulged himself into increasing his set list and, with it, the total duration of the show. What added to listener woes was that one of Clapton’s anthems, ‘Cocaine’, was not performed due to the Singapore Government’s anti-drug laws. So much for freedom of the press.
Nevertheless, viewing a living legend in your presence was magic. Watching Eric Clapton performing live was no fantasy, it was reality, eventually answering the question whether Clapton was God. While he provided innumerable opportunities to his two fellow guitarists to showcase their respective talents and to fill in gaps in the songs when required, Clapton deservedly reserved the best guitar moments for himself and, in turn, acknowledged that he is indeed a mortal who is aging gracefully.