Venue: Hope Estate Winery
City: Hunter Valley
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton– keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Abe Laboriel, Jr. – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
This date marked the 11th show of 2009 and the tour's first concert in Australia. It was also the inaugural concert of the Hope Wine Estate's concert venue in Hunter Valley.
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. I Shot The Sheriff
05. Isn't It A Pity
06. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad
08. Travelin' Alone
09. That's Alright
10. Motherless Child
11. Running On Faith
12. Motherless Children
13. Little Queen of Spades
14. Everything's Gonna Be Alright
15. Wonderful Tonight
18. Crossroads (encore)
Review by Dave Fletcher / Gosford, Australia
I attended the concert on 7 March. Eric was not too chatty, just a "good evening" and a few "thank yous." But, at the end he looked genuinely happy – a big cheesy grin throughout his final bows to the audience. I thought the performance was superb, effortless and oozing style.
This was a new outdoor venue and the sound was perfect. Honestly it was a brilliant volume and super mix. Those old Marshalls and Vibroluxs never sounded better.
As the setlist suggests, it was full of old blues numbers, which is another thing I loved. Eric is just doing exactly what HE wants these days, to hell with the crowd pleasers! Loved it.
Review by Gregory J Olsen Esq. / Sydney, Australia
I first saw EC when he performed in Sydney on 17 April 1975 at the famous Hordern Pavilion. I fondly remember this as being the best concert I have ever attended. So it was with this memory that my wife and I made the two and a half hour drive from Sydney to the Hope Estate Winery, in the beautiful Hunter Valley winery region, for this concert.
After an excellent performance from Jeff Lang, one of the best slide guitarists and songwriters in the world, and a serviceable show from Ian Moss, we settled into our seats to await EC and his band. We had no idea who was accompanying him. (Eric didn’t tell us either!)
This concert was just as good as the one 34 years ago. Full of life, vim and vigor. The positive vibe engendered by the great rhythm section, Willie Weeks – bass and Abe Laboriel Jr – drums, was palpable. Chris Stainton – keyboards, won the hearts of the huge crowd at this inaugural concert at this great open air venue while the backing vocalists (MIchelle John, Sharon White) were immaculate in appearance and performance.
The surprise of the night for me, a professional guitar teacher, was the second guitarist, Doyle Bramhall II. His totally unteachable technique was as bamboozling as it was perfectly executed. Playing left-handed on right- handed strung guitars, Doyle impressed me with his tasteful slide and blues solos.
Eric’s electric sound was a perfect example of the style he pioneered in the 1960s. The tide of time hasn’t made him weary whatsoever. He looked fit, a picture of health for a man who has had a hard life. The two hour performance was simply superb. I was very pleased to hear some of my favourite Derek and the Dominoes tunes such as "Tell The Truth", "Key To The Highway" and "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad". He didn’t play any Cream songs but that is forgiven in that what he played was obviously what he wanted to play and represents where he is at currently.
Eric’s acoustic playing was awesome, flawlessly drawing us into the emotion and realm of the blues. The blues is a simple musical form but to stretch, pull and squeeze so much from it, as EC and his band did, is a testimony to it’s integrity and importance in the cultural life of the musical world.
EC certainly formed my guitaring life when I head the Cream Live LP when I was a kid. It was an honour to be present and witness an icon who’s music changed my life forever. Thanks Eric.