Venue: Royal Albert Hall
City: South Kensington, London
Country: United Kingdom
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Andy Fairweather Low – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton– keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
The Arc Angels
Night 4 of 11 at the venue.
01. Going Down Slow
02. Key To The Highway
03. Old Love
04. Anything For Your Love
05. I Shot The Sheriff
07. Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down And Out)
08. Not Dark Yet
09. Anytime For You
10. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
12. Little Queen of Spades
13. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
14. Wonderful Tonight
16. Crossroads (encore)
Review by Matt L / London
Performance 151 at the Royal Albert Hall. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen Eric, especially at the Albert, and last night once again he didn’t fail to deliver.
A short introduction by Lee Dickson and Arc Angels came on stage at 7:30 prompt and delivered a good set. A little difficult to hear Charlie Sexton or Doyle when they spoke and introduced the band but very tidy nonetheless.
Then, at 8:40 sharp, the house lights dimmed and Eric and the band came on stage, starting with Going Down Slow. A good, if little unusual start to one of his concerts, not a song that you would naturally pick to start a set list. From there straight into Key To The Highway and really get the crowd going. Some good solos from Eric in the first 3 songs, Old Love in at number 3, again a strange position for that song, great solos from Eric and also Tim Carmon who normally I can take or leave but thought his playing tonight was very good, as someone else commented in another nights review, it was almost like a guitar solo on the keyboards. Anything For Your Love is, in my opinion, not really one for getting a gig crowd going. I Shot The Sheriff was next, and as always, EC nailed it with some great guitar playing. The sit down set came up next with Layla and in a change to previous nights, Nobody Knows You following instead of Lay Down Sally. A shame for me as I was looking forward to hearing that played acoustically.
Eric’s version of Not Dark Yet was great, but it does make you wonder what is going on in his personal life considering the set list as this is quite a depressing song if you listen to the words!
Badge followed the sit down set with EC playing with the crowd a little during the song, leaving it a little longer before starting to play again in the middle, much to the amusement of all at the Albert. Little Queen of Spades was again another good number, allowing the band to showcase their abilities with solos. Finishing up the main set with a “normal length” version of Wonderful Tonight and then Cocaine, the band departed before coming back for a storming version of Crossroads.
Eric certainly didn’t “phone this in” tonight. A set list mixed of a few crowd pleasers and songs for Eric himself. Although not one of his best it was still a great gig. I do feel that perhaps Andy Fairweather Low doesn’t push him as much as perhaps Doyle Bramhall or Derek Trucks, but his guitar playing is still as good and soulful as ever. Keep it up Eric!
Review by Jane K
I was slightly worried I wouldn’t enjoy this year’s Albert Hall gig after reading some of the newspaper reviews but it was a great night, perhaps the band are more settled in than they were at the beginning of the tour. He seemed happy and it was a nice moment when the crowd sang Happy Birthday with him to his Aunt! Highlights for me were Nobody Knows You (a nice surprise to hear this!), Old Love and Badge. The only downside was that it seemed to go by too fast! It was a shame not to hear Sunshine of your Love as the second encore song as well, but I can forgive him that in his advanced years!
Review by Ken Norris
Wednesday night’s show began with a solid performance of Going Down Slow. It was followed by a rather energetic Key To The Highway. Old Love was quite delicate and beautiful as long as it was in the possession of EC. His lead had both fireworks and deep emotionality. Anything For Your Love, a song I personally like, is starting to sound a little wobbly after four performances. The last couple of nights it’s been losing energy. On the other hand, I Shot The Sheriff keeps picking up steam.
Unplugged Layla is Unplugged Layla. I was thrilled when Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out was the next song played. For me, Not Dark Yet continues to be the highlight of the sit-down set, followed closely by a rollicking Anytime For You. Somewhere Over The Rainbow was given a nice presentation.
Badge continues to be a good way to get back into the fully-electric proceedings. To my mind, Little Queen of Spades is the showstopper. Thus far, EC has played it slightly differently every night. Tonight he kept the band in the key of C for his first round of solos, sang another verse, and THEN shifted it up to D.
After some confusion between EC and Lee about which guitar he’d be playing (it was the Blackie strat with the capo), the band launched into Everything’s Gonna Be All Right for the second night in a row.
Then it was on to overly-familiar territory: Wonderful Tonight, a lengthy Cocaine and a too-brief Crossroads. For some reason, during the middle of Cocaine, EC switched over to the light blue Stratocaster last seen at the Beacon Theater in April when EC joined the Allman Brothers on stage as a guest.
Of the four shows I attended I thought this one was the best. The band was in a groove, EC was in the mood to solo, and the slight modifications in the setlist succeeded in making it a stronger show.
Review by Antonis Karydis / Athens, Greece
I flew all the way from Athens, Greece to watch this show with my wife. We had seen Eric most recently at Hyde Park last summer. But the most memorable concert I attended was on the 25th May 2006, again here at RAH, two days before my father died. In fact “Where’s Eric” has published my review from that night back in 2006, it is still on the site!
This year the concert was very different. While in the past Eric seemed happy to take “back-seat” for an extended part of the concert and leave the two young guitarists (Doyle and Derek) put themselves forward, this was not the case on the 20th. Eric stepped firmly to the front and played extensive melodic solos al night. Even when he gave space to Chris Stainton, Tim Carmon and Andy Fairweather Low to solo themselves, once he took the line, it was clear that he was in charge.
I was not really impressed by the Arc Angels but mostly because the sound was not to the level of quality I expected in the RAH. Although we had excellent seats, the sound had a low frequency rumble that made even singing unintelligible at times. The drums did not come through balanced and the Bass was too deep and covered the guitars and vocals. Pity really because I have seen Doyle play before and I admire his capabilities and musicianship.
The sound changed radically (thank God) once Eric and his band took to the stage. This time, he opted not to start playing before he appeared on stage, as he usually did in the past. There is little to say for the concert itself, most have been written by others already. I must note though that Eric seems never ceasing to invent new melodic lines and despite a no-fireworks playing style, he captivated us all with every note. I was also impressed this year by the solos of Chris Stainton. I have seen him many times in the past but somehow it seemed that this particular evening he was a bit more daring. Andy is such a great player, he embelished his tight rhythmic playing with extra notes with blended with Eric’s playing so expertly that sometimes you could hear them accented on Eric’s pauses. Excellent interworking, unlike what either Doyle or Derek did in the past. Andy is an incredible player. He has faultless technique and manages to make it shine with no overstatements nor flashy playing. I have seen him many times and every time I see him he impresses me.
All in all, another great night with Mr Eric Clapton. He remains on the top of my list of musicians and sincerely, for as long as he decides to play for us, I will be there in one of his shows, supporting him.
By the way, the intro to I Shot The Sheriff made me think he was going to play “An Englishman in New York”!!!