Venue: The Marquee
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar, backing vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Abe Laboriel Jr – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Robert Randolph & The Family Band
After a fifteen day break, Eric Clapton and his band headed back on the road for the first of five concerts in Ireland and England, which run through 29 June. Eric tinkered with the lineup and on 20 June, Willie Weeks (bass) and Abe Laboriel Jr. (drums) became part of EC’s touring band.
Robert Randolph – pedal steel *
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. Little Wing
05. Outside Woman Blues
06. Double Trouble
07. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad
08. When You Got A Good Friend
09. Rockin’ Chair
10. Motherless Child
11. Travellin’ Riverside Blues
12. Running On Faith
13. Motherless Children
14. Little Queen of Spades
15. Before You Accuse Me
16. Wonderful Tonight
19. Got My Mojo Working (encore) *
Review by Paul Dean / Liverpool
Had a ball over in Cork – only 50 minutes from John Lennon Airport here in Liverpool. You sometimes just know certain concerts are going to be special before they happen! Eric plus his great band was certainly one of those nights. You can see just what a really tight band Eric has assembled and it was noticeable what a really enjoyable time they have together on stage.
With the addition of one of the greatest drummers about now (Abe Laboriel Jr from Paul McCartney’s band) Abe did a really great job this night also.He gives the blues numbers – like "Double Trouble" – a heavier sound. Along with Willie Weeks they make the perfect drum and bass partnership for Eric’s band. Chris Stainton was great throughout especially on "Layla" and "Cocaine". Doyle Bramhall’s best moment came in "Little Queen of Spades". The audience went wild after his solo.
THE highlight of the night (among many) was a really inspired version of Jimi Hendrix’s "Little Wing", greeted by everybody like the classic it has become.
Old favourites came across so fresh! "Running On Faith", "Motherless Children", and "Layla" going straight into "Cocaine" were pure joy. I am a sure the really enthusiastic Irish audience with a mix of fans from England, Japan ,The States and all over Europe didn’t want the evening to come to an end. But, a rocking version of "I’ve Got My Mojo Working" ended the night. Eric enjoyed it all so much – you could tell by overhearing comments on the way out and into the city centre of Cork to fill up their great pubs. What a privilege it had been to have been at The Marquee on Friday evening 20th June 2008.
Review by Leighton Stone / Dublin
Just back from a fantastic EC concert in Ireland (Why does he not come here more often?). I travelled down to Cork on Friday with my brother to what I can only describe as the BEST venue I have ever been in. The Marquee is what it is – a big tent with a capacity of about 4000 and the sound and views of the stage a perfect from anywhere inside.
Robert Randolph came on around 7pm and played a great set with Voodo Chile being the highlight. Around 8.10 the lights came down and a figure appeared strat in hand, I thought to myself EC had put a lot of weight on but it was Peter Kay! He was very brief introducing EC but he did quip "He’s not playing Badge tonight so don’t bother requesting it". Out came EC and the band tore into a rousing Tell The Truth.
Abe on the drums is a revelation, he really pushes the band on. From the opening to the accouctic set was just jawdropping, the highlights were Little Wing, Double Trouble and Why Does Love etc. The absolute standout track was Hoochie Coochie Man. Eric’s solo was just incredible, really really amazing!
The accoustic set was wonderful, I really liked When You’ve Got a Good Friend. However, the revamped Motherless Child was glourious with back up harmonies and Chris Stainton playing organ, it sounded really full.
Back to the electric set. Poor Abe looked a bit tired after Motherless Children, he really belted the drums during the slide portions! The next high point for me was Layla, I have witnessed it in the flesh 5 times (100’s of times on bootleg) but tonight it sounded like a new song, it was really fresh! Eric’s solo was brilliant, as he started all the spotlights were on him and Doyle and Willie seemed to move to the side of the stage and give EC some space which he took full advantge of. A rocking version of Cocaine (hats off to Chris’s solo!!) was followed by Mojo Working with EC and Robert Randolph’s hefty duelling. A truly great concert in a perfect venue.
Review by Robert Scully / Cork, Ireland.
Clapton is my hero, and I love him to bits, but he really pushed his luck in the Marquee. Doyle’s solos were not impressive. They were broken and ragged. I could barely hear Clapton’s guitar. Everytime Doyle plucked a string I felt like he had set a bomb off under my feet and my ears drums popped out of my head. It was horrible.
Why was Doyle doing all the solos? The only song that Clapton even stretched himself, just a little on, was Little Wing. Other than that all his solos during the night were awful. He played a lot of mediocre songs from his back catalogue such as Double Trouble, Motherless Child. Lets face it, he’s not known for his song writing and most of his albums are not great barring a few beautiful songs here and there.
I’m after reading many reviews of this concert and I’m convinced that those who wrote these reviews were fair weather fans. I’ve been to quite a few Clapton concerts and this was by far the worst. Doyle’s guitar was too loud and I could barely hear Erics the whole night. When Little Wing was played, my friend and I looked at each other and said "Finally, God has landed" even though his guitar was still a little low volume. Unfortunately, this was not the case. We had to endure another hour and a half of broken solos from Doyle and sometimes very patchy and awful blues. I did not pay 82 euros to go and see Doyles play less than mediocre solos for the entire concert. I paid 82 euros to see Eric Clapton burn the fret board on that guitar. I paid it to see Clapton show me once again that he deserves his reputation for being one of the best guitarists of all time. My friend shouted "Turn up your guitar, Eric" at him at one stage. He was stern faced after it. At that point, he knew there were people in the crowd that were completely aware that this concert was rubbish and that he was only arsing around.
Then, to put the icing on the cake, he left Doyle off on a four or five minute solo for Queen of Spades (I think, I was so asleep at this stage that I can’t remember exactly which song it was). During this time, Clapton sat down on stage and just watched. Isn’t it Eric that should be playing these solos? Why doesn’t he do 4 or 5 minute long quality solos anymore? I’ve read interviews with him where he says he has arthritis in his fingers and maybe he has, but I can tell you that watching him on Friday night he’s still well capable of playing with those flying fingers. He’s well capable of breaking sweat and doing amazing solos, like the ones I heard in Bercy 2004 for I shot the Sherriff. In fact, anyone who believes for a second that Cork was a good Clapton concert, listen to unofficial recordings of Clapton in Bercy 2004. The majority of music in that concert is his guitar. You’ll be able to tell by the difference in quality whether it’s him or Doyle anyway. That is Clapton at near his best. That is Clapton and what he can do, not that rubbish we were subjected to in Cork last Friday.
In Running on Faith I couldn’t hear his guitar. He may as well have just sang it. Then Clapton has the nerve to let Doyle off on a 4 minute solo and he sits down on stage and just watches? Again, I did not pay to see Doyle Bramhall II featuring a shoddy Eric Clapton. I paid my money to see Clapton play great blues music. The solo to Layla was awful. He was playing the same fills the whole night. It was the first time I’ve seen Clapton where he was predictable. I knew what was coming next. Cocaine solo was predictable, albeit better than that short one to Layla.
Robert Randolph was the highlight of the night. Clapton did a good solo to Got my mojo working, but it was still bread and butter stuff for Clapton.
One woman a mate of mine heard summed it up for him and me; she said she thought the concert was "Lovely". That summed it up. Yes, it was lovely to see Eric after all these years, come out on stage and barely play around for two hours. An Eric Clapton concert should never be "Lovely". A Clapton concert should have people coming out saying "Oh my God, what did I just witness?". That’s the way I was when I first saw Clapton. I couldn’t believe what I had witnessed and the things I had seen him do on that guitar. I did not in any way feel like this after Cork, because he was boring. The band were boring and uninspired.
I don’t blame Doyle for this awful showmanship. Clapton and Clapton alone is to blame for those two hours of my life that I will never get back.