Venue: Bell Centre
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar, backing vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Pino Palladino – bass
Ian Thomas – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Robert Randolph & The Famly Band
The second and final Canadian concert for Eric Clapton’s brief Summer 2008 Tour.
Robert Randolph – pedal steel *
01. Motherless Children
02. Key To The Highway
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. Little Wing
05. Outside Woman Blues
06. Double Trouble
07. Don’t Knock My Love
09. Rockin’ Chair
10. Motherless Child
11. Travelling Riverside Blues
12. Running On Faith
13. Tell The Truth
14. Little Queen of Spades
15. Before You Accuse Me
16. Wonderful Tonight
19. I’ve Got My Mojo Working (encore) *
Review by Lauren B / Chicago IL
The experience of seeing EC is not always about the concert. As a matter of fact, it’s always more. The people of Montreal are EC crazy and were so hungry for this concert. I was wearing my fave t-shirt from the Pilgrim tour and was stopped numerous times about EC. It usually started out with, "Eric Clapton?" And then they would get all excited. First, in the elevator with two men speaking to each other in French until they saw my shirt, "Eric Claptone? Are you going to see heem tonight?" That’s why I am here, baby. Then, as I head out to play, two of the bellmen stop me to ask about Clapton. Walking around in the shopping district I stopped in to look at this beautiful old church and the greeter saw my t-shirt and said "Eric Clapton?? WOW … he’s great!" I asked him if he was going to the concert and he didn’t know about it. He must be the only person in the city who didn’t.
Back to the hotel to get ready for dinner and the concert and two more bellmen stop me about my shirt and one wants to know how I got the shirt already since the concert hadn’t happened. Heh! Usually if I am traveling somewhere to see Clapton, there are get togethers with loads of people before and after the show which are almost always fun. This time it was just spending time with a couple of friends whom I hadn’t seen in four years when we all met up in Toronto to see EC. Dinner at their house beforehand, and then off to the show.
The concert was not the best EC concert I have been to, however it was good. Not as much enthusiasm as the show I saw in February (Winwood / Clapton), but it is a different band, and those shows in February were very special. That being said, most of the reviews are right on, Clapton definitely came to play. Maybe he was happy to be indoors, or maybe he could feel the crowd’s yearning. Ten years is a long time for a city to wait for EC.
I usually enjoy the acoustic sets. Running on Faith is one of my favorite songs. But, frankly, I have seen better from EC. He seemed a little off to me when he was sitting. He was completely different when he was standing and jamming.
This might be the show where I paid attention to the solos the most.On Motherless Child, EC was so into it, I thought he was going to fall over. And, at first I thought the solo on Little Queen of Spades was the best until the last song, Cocaine. I really am not a fan of the song, but I understand Claptonâ€™s want or need to play it. However, in Montreal, as I was going thru the motions singing â€œCocaineâ€ blah blah, along with the crowd, something happened; Clapton and Chris Stainton just started playing the hell out of the song. Give and take. There were some great solos that night, but this one shocked me and was really stand out.
Speaking of Chris Stainton, he was the second best performer on the stage that night. The other song he was exceptional on in my opinion was on Hoochie Coochie Man. I am surprised no one else mentioned it. Not sure what Pino brings to the table and Doyle has not won me over yet, but when I think back on it, EC’s best solos of the evening were working it out with Stainton.
Eventhough the trip was short, I am glad I got a chance to catch up with my friends and see this part of the tour. Who knows, maybe in the Fall, EC et al will make their way back to the Midwest. Or, perhaps I will have to hop over the pond to see him in Europe. One never knows where EC may take me.
Review by Steve Turner / Montreal QC
My English is not very good, so I will tell you my experience for the show of Eric Clapton in Montreal in French, first:
J’ai vu pour la premire fois Eric Clapton, Ã Montreal, le 28 mai 2008!!! Quel spectacle!! J’ai vraiment adore! De la premiere chanson jusqu’ la toute fin, j’ai sur le bout de mon sige, complatement hypnotis par le jeu de guitare d’Eric.Le setlist est le meme que le show de Toronto la veille. Les 14000 personnes prÃ©sentes sont reparties avec le sourire au visage! J’espÃ¨re qu’Eric va revenir Ã Montreal bientot!!
(Now, I’ll try to translate)
I’ve seen EC for the first time yesterday in Montreal. What a show!! I really enjoyed it!! I’m 25 and I’ve realised a dream last night!! From Motherless Children to Got My Mojo workin’, I’ve been hypnotised by Eric and his band!! Eric was in good shape and he has played for 2 hours, without a break. I think the setlist was the same as the previous show in Toronto. All the 14000 fans went home with a large smile in their face!! I purchase more than 100$ in souvenir (t-shirt, coffee cup, guitar pick, etc). Thanks Eric and all the band! Come back soon in Montreal!!
Review by Norm Hutchinson / Montreal QC
Went to the Clapton show at the Bell Center in Montreal. He opened with Motherless Children and Key to the Highway which were two good crowd warmers but Hoochie Coochie is when it really took off. With high energy and force, I’m sure Mr Waters would have been very proud of Clapton’s performance on his song. Little Wing was an early highlight for me.
First time I saw EC in concert. I bought the ticket before the tour started. I checked out the whereseric.com after every show leading up to the Montreal date. I’m glad I did as I was not too familiar with a few of the songs that he had been playing. I made sure to listen to Outside Woman Blues and Double Trouble before I went to the show, which were both excellent. I knew Clapton was a master of his art but when he played Double Trouble, I realized how much of a master he was.
The acoustic set at mid-way was seamless and definitely not out of place. Running on Faith was my highlight out of the acoustic set. Then he went right into Tell the Truth. I was not at the shows at the beginning of the tour that started off with Tell the Truth, but I instantly got the feeling that it fit much better here in the concert than at the beginning. Another highlight was Little Queen of Spades. Out of all the blues tracks he played that was my favourite.
Wonderful Tonight was nice and sweet. Reading the set list, you might think that it doesn’t fit, but Clapton made it work, no sweat. Finally Layla "a la Derek and the Dominoes" and Cocaine was the high energy knock out left and right punch that put the crowd over. No one sat down until the house lights when on after the encore of Mojo Working with Brother Randolph. There was no way Robert Randolph was faking the joy and pride that you could see on his face when EC jousted with him. It was great to be a part of that.
I must also say that Clapton is a very generous artist. Never did I get the feeling that Doyle Bramhall II was there just for the ride or second fiddle. He seemed to take his place quite effortlessly and transparently. His playing and singing were a great contribution to the show. The rhythm section, including the two backup singers, was spotless which I’ve heard is a requirement from Clapton. You hope EC would exchange a few words with the crowd but I guess that’s not his style. He let’s his guitar do the talking. And after an evening of listening to his artistry, you can honestly forgive his reluctance to address with words his disciples of blues.
Review by Jim Murchison
Each time I see Clapton it is a special memory for me. I have been very fortunate to see him several times, but this was definitely one of, if not the best. The event was already special before it started, because I was seeing Clapton with two of his most ardent fans, who are also 2 of my dearest friends, as well as being my first cousins.
With that in mind, you can’t imagine how hard our hearts were all pounding already after Robert Randolph delivered a rollicking set with a standout band, particularly his cousin Dennis on vocal and bass. Alison was in the wheelchair section and brother Dave was her 1 allowed attendant, so we were concerned that my involvement in the group experience might be limited. As it turned out I was in the section directly behind her and there was no concern if I walked down and knealt with them (I think I spent in total 15 minutes in my seat during Clapton’s set).
When Clapton hit the first note of Motherless Children we were totally overcome with emotion. It was quite literally a dream come true for all of us to be there at once. Music is such a powerful source of emotion and memory and to hear it live can flood every cell with the feelings and the joy and sadness of every time you experienced it.
I liked the paired down band. It meant Clapton could still be generous (particularly with Bramhall and Stainton) but take plenty of leads all night. He was the only one who stayed on for the entire set.The band got a small break while he performed Drifting.I agree with what the other reviewers have said about the highlights, but really everything was a highlight this night. Little Wing and Tell the Truth were certainly HUGE because I had never heard them live before and Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, is I believe the most perfect album ever recorded.
The fact that this was a mostly blues concert, seemed to thrill the Montreal crowd. I have to say that Rockin Chair was beautiful. I expect that if Hoagy or Satchmo had been there they would have nodded approval at this jazzy bluesy little gem. Of course when Layla starts the ovation is huge, but there was no time to applaud at the end as the band had already moved on to play Cocaine.
The encore was a blast and Robert Randolph sure had his Mojo working. He was leaning so deep into his pedal steel guitar, I thought they’d both be rolling and tumbling off the stage. The trade off licks between he and Clapton were stellar and when Clapton let him get the last guitar licks in before singing the last line, the fun they were having was obvious. Eric’s head was bobbing up and down in approval like a bobble-head before he turned to the mike and finished the song and with a final bow it was over, except for the memories and the echos of the tunes still playing in your head. Wow!!! Thanks for the memories. See you again soon I hope.
Review by John Ronald / Lasalle QC
I knew that we were in for a treat when Eric came out on stage wearing the black shirt, jeans and running shoes that he wore at the Cream RAH concerts. The concert was more than I could have hoped for. Eric was in top form and the band was hot.
Motherless Children should be Eric’s opening number for the foreseeable future, because it is a perfect opener with the solo guitar leading into the twin slides and a rockin’ song. The set list was almost perfect, with a good balance of hits, classic non-hits, up-tempo and slow songs, and a couple of new songs for me (Don’t Knock My Love, Rockin’ Chair).
It’s difficult to list highlights, because I was in euphoria for the full two hours, but I will mention:
– Motherless Children was a harbinger of the great show to come.
– On the Dominos’ songs, Pino played the Carl Radle bass lines, especially on Layla, and as we know Radle’s bass lines were brilliant.
– As I expected to, I cried during a beautiful Little Wing and its gorgeous, emotional solos.
– Double Trouble is as close to being Eric’s signature tune as any other song is. In Montreal it was, once again, stunning.
– I now know why Eric continues to play Wonderful Tonight. It is a gorgeous song when heard live, and it is a perfect lead-in to Layla.
– Layla sounded as fresh and exciting as it has to me for many years.
I now know why Eric continues to play Cocaine. When it is played well it is a huge, emotional song. In Montreal the song was played really up-tempo, loud and aggressive. And then Eric launched into a solo that I couldn’t believe!! All of the evening’s solos had been above par, many of them superior, but when he launched into his Cocaine solo my jaw literally dropped, and then I started laughing out loud. I don’t think that I’ve ever heard him or anyone else play this tremendous, ferocious solo, not in any of the many concerts CDs and bootlegs that I’ve heard over the years. The crowd reaction to this solo was palpable. I hope this was recorded so I can hear it again.
The sit-down section was maybe one song too long for me, but the songs were great, and I love Running On Faith.
– Little Queen of Spades coming out of the acoustic set was a killer song filled with killer solos.
– I have never been a fan of I’ve Got My Mojo Working, but the arrangement was perfect. It was played fast and with great instrumentation. Eric and Robert Randolph work very well together.
– As I said about Motherless Children being Eric’s permanent opening song, I think that I’ve Got My Mojo Working should be his closer for a long time also.
– I think that Doyle picked up a trick or two from touring with Derek Trucks for a year. I like his different style, and his slide work was quite good. In summary, if anyone is in a position to attend Eric’s summer tour, DO IT!
Review by Kenneth Peck / Charlotte VT (U.S.)
Wednesday’s show at the Bell Centre was a sublime experience to any aging rock fan present. It felt like this tour was a payback to old fans for all the years of pop hits, mellow tracks, laid back albums and everything Clapton has done that hasn’t addressed the blues and rock ‘n’ roll. He played a black strat too, just like old times.
I first saw Clapton live playing with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. I was lucky enough to see Derek and the Dominos play the Fillmore East. The Montreal show was the best I’ve seen, to give some relative comparison to those classic shows. At 63, he is at his peak. This blues-oriented show (only 3 original songs) was great. The covers, from Hendrix through Wilson Pickett, Hoagy Carmichael and Jery Lynn Williams, to J.J. Cale, were perfect. But it was really all about the blues songs he did.
My one regret is that there wasn’t more with Robert Randolph playing with Clapton. One song just wasn’t enough! We tried to buy Randolph CDs in Montreal the next morning but they were all sold out everywhere we looked. His opening act was a very sweet treat for the audience. Great choice for an opening act. Get to the show in time for his band! Clapton was so humble on stage, almost a study in ego-less presence and quiet command.