Venue: Xcel Energy Center
City: St. Paul
Country: United States
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Steve Winwood – vocals / Hammond B3 / piano / guitar
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Abe Laboriel, Jr. – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
The set list was rearranged a bit; "Crossroads" was added back and performed in the first part of the concert. For the first time, Cocaine was moved to the encore with Dear Mr. Fantasy.
01. Had To Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence of The Lord
05. Sleeping in the Ground
07. Well Alright
08. Tough Luck Blues
09. Pearly Queen
11. No Face, No Name, No Number
12. Forever Man
13. Georgia On My Mind
15. How Long Blues
17. Can’t Find My Way Home
18. Split Decision
19. Voodoo Chile
20. Cocaine (encore)
21. Dear Mr. Fantasy (encore)
Review by Scott Lyson / MN
The two newspapers have lukewarm reviews, which is absurd. I don’t know where they were sitting, but the crowd at the Xcel only sat during No Face, and Georgia, but EC’s solo during Driftin’ caused half the crowd to erupt from their seat, and the crowd remained standing for the rest of the concert. The acoustic versions of Can’t Find My Way Home and Layla were highlights for me, even though somebody claims they sounded more like Fleetwood Mac than blues-rock (I think the reviewer just wanted to mention Robert Randolph and Derek Trucks in his review, longing for a Cream-era Clapton).
The two masters played brilliantly together. I was surprised that most of the crowd were familiar with a majority of the material played and sang along quite a bit. Sadly, the crowd couldn’t keep proper time when clapping during the acoustic numbers, with three groups of the arena all clapping at different times. This was the most appreciative crowd I’ve been with in a long time. The band was fantastic, and as the reviews correctly point out, Abe really packed a punch. Seemed definitely more like an EC concert than a SW concert, and Eric I don’t think hit a bad note.
I was a bit nervous when I saw Sharon and Michelle were going to be joining the band for this tour, but they were fantastic. Voodoo Chile will go down as one of the greatest live performances I will have the pleasure of experiencing. I don’t think there was a dull moment in the concert, even though No Face did bring the energy down quite a bit. All-in-all it was one incredible show. No show has ever sounded so crisp at the Xcel. Hands down the most enjoyable EC show I’ve experienced.
I thought almost every song was performed better than the NY shows, and the recent CD / DVD are only going to be reminders of how great of a show the two legends put on for us in St. Paul.
The concert ran 130 minutes.
For comparison purposes, here is an excerpt from Jon Bream’s Review in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Hey, baby boomers, have you ever fantasized about playing in a tennis tourney with your old high-school doubles partner, doing community theater with the classmate with whom you shared a scene in your high school musical, or reconnecting with that special someone you met that summer of college when you traveled in Europe?
Forty years after they made a 42-minute album together, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Eric Clapton, 64, and Steve Winwood, 61, have teamed up again for a 14-show U.S. tour. Their 130-minute reunion concert Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center was nostalgic fun, with some magical moments, but not enough to live up to the fantasies of the two musicians or the 14,000 fans.
(The rest of the review discussed Clapton and Winwood’s careers post-Blind Faith and mentioned the release of the DVD and CD from last year’s MSG Concerts)
Review by Mike Bailey
I’m 36 and this was my 4th Clapton show in about 20 years of being a fan. For each of these performances, I’ve had my parents to share the experience with. My first experience was at the Target Center for the Journeyman / 24 Nights Tour with a big band, backing vocals and percussion. I was simply blown away then and the feeling hasn’t gone away since. Hearing White Room, Sunshine of Your Love and Bad Love in that wall of sound was epic.
Next, Eric made the last performance at St. Paul’s Civic on the Pilgrim tour. With that tour he had a string section in the mix and the sound was amazing. That was the first time I saw him break up the show with an acoustic set in the middle, which he continues to this day. The last time through St. Paul, he performed at the Xcel Energy Center, which sits on the site of the former Civic Center, in support of his Reptile and Me and Mr. Johnson albums. Again, his big band filled the stadium with full sound and I got to hear the original Layla performed in all its glory and power. Xcel Energy Center is possibly the best venue of its size for concerts in the world. Even in the back or sides of the arena, the sound is crisp and the sightlines are never blocked.
I took away two things from his concert this year with Steve Winwood at the Xcel. The first is that Eric really seemed to enjoy just playing while Stevie sang. When he tilts his head back, closes his eyes and just plays, you can tell he’s doing what he loves most. I’ve heard him say that he plays like he’s singing through his guitar and I really could hear that. The second take away was how interesting it was to hear Clapton as the only guitar on stage for much of the show. That was a first for me and I really appreciated how clean and distinct his style and sound are in that setting. In both the electric and acoustic sections, his unmistakable tone and sound could be heard with nothing getting in the way.
My hope is that Eric continues on more tours like this where he can share the focus of singing and also enjoy just playing that famous Fender Stratocaster! Next time, I hope to bring my son to introduce a 3rd generation to his music. I can’t wait.