Venue: Madison Square Garden
City: New York
Country: United States
JEFF BECK & HIS BAND
Jeff Beck – guitar
Jason Rebello – keyboards
Rhonda Smith – bass
Narada Michael Walden – drums
ERIC CLAPTON & HIS BAND
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Walt Richmond – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
New York was the second stop on Eric’s and Jeff’s four-city mini-tour, after shows in London the weekend previous. This was the first of two concerts at "the World’s Most Famous Arena", Madison Square Garden.
Unlike the London concerts a few days previous, Jeff’s set did not feature any guest vocalists. The orchestra grew from 12 pieces to 30 for New York City.
During Jeff Beck’s set
30 Piece Orchestra *
01. Eternity’s Breath
03. Led Boots
04. Corpus Christi Carol *
05. Bass solo featuring Rhonda Smith
06. Hammerhead *
07. Mna Na Heireann *
08. Brush With The Blues
09. Big Block
10. A Day In The Life *
11. Nessun Dorma *
01. Driftin’ – acoustic
02. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – acoustic
03. Running On Faith – acoustic
04. I’ve Got A Rock ‘N Roll Heart – acoustic
05. Tell The Truth
06. Key To The Highway
07. I Shot The Sheriff
09. Little Queen Of Spades
Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton
01. Shake Your Moneymaker
02. Moon River
03. You Need Love
04. Outside Woman Blues
05. Little Brown Bird
06. Wee Wee Baby
07. (I Want To Take You) Higher
08. Crossroads – encore
Were you there? Send your review to [email protected]
Review by Robert Ender / New Jersey
I was very fortunate and very glad to have attended the first of these two New York appearances. Jeff’s set was memorizing; the addition of a 12 piece orchestra was a contrasting yet very suitable sonic backdrop to his own incredible guitar "symphonics". His version of "A Day In the Life" was an expected favorite, but each and every song (note, for that matter) was superb listening. Without having seen him often over the years, I think it is safe to say that he played brilliantly tonight, and seemed as jovial as he’s reputed to be; I think he was genuinely enjoying himself. Incredible set.
When Eric took the stage and started with his acoustic set, a whole new tone was set: an all together different kind of sublime. It’s amazing how the night could shift gears from wailing Stratocaster through Marshall Amp to one (our) man and an acoustic guitar. Yet it worked seamlessly. Eric looks like the archetypal English gentleman in his dark suit, hip glasses, and his surprisingly long hair (I think it’s the longest it’s been since the early 90’s); and why not "let it grow"; he’s really got great hair.
I never tire of "Driftin’" and it was followed by three great surprises from three different decades; Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Running On Faith, and I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart. These were all very welcome additions. Running on Faith is just a fantastic song with its mix of soft and loud dynamic range; always remaining heartfelt and soulful; glad to hear it again. Rock and Roll Heart was really a treat to hear live (always liked that song); a nice choice and he sang it really well. One of the many great things about seeing this (or most any) Eric Clapton show, is that it’s a quick reminder of what an epic catalog he has to draw from. When he pulls out a few great chestnuts like these, we’re reminded of songs and music that we may not have thought of in perhaps years. It makes many of us pull those records/CDs out and it’s like opening a great forgotten chapter in your favorite book. And of course it’s also a reminder of how good (albeit different) he’s played, written, and sung over the years. And yet it all stands up with ease decades later. Good on him for bringing those to light again.
For me (and I dare say many others), the highlight of the evening was the second song they played when Jeff returned to the stage. After a lively and delightfully energetic "Shake Your Moneymaker", they gently built up a chord progression which became "Moon River". Now, I may be biased here because it’s one of my favorite all-time songs, but this was just superb; and it was only to get better. While they went through the verses once with Jeff playing the familiar Mancini melody line in his own beautifully unique violin-tone, the real treat for me was when Eric started to sing the song. It was just incredible. He gets so much (well-deserved) attention for his guitar playing, but his singing is often oversighted. He’s really a superb singer with a great vocal tone, pitch, and timber and he really sang this song beautifully, with all the emotion that he seems to always be able to put behind it. To take on a standard and really make it his own requires much more than legendary guitar playing. It’s a tough song to pull off; If you appreciated the wonderful version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" he gave us a few years back, you’ll be quite touched by this very fine rendition.
The "bluesy" section that followed was excellent too with yet again, a few less-familiar songs that are well worth learning about (Little Brown Bird and Wee Wee Baby). It was so a treat to hear "Outside Woman Blues" (Do you realize the Cream shows were nearly five years ago already?). After this mini-blues set, they broke into Sly and the Family Stone’s "I Want to Take You Higher" This sounded raw and powerful, with all the appropriate groove that makes the song push so well. It seemed like there may have been a little confusion on the ending, but it was very minor. Ever thought you’d hear Eric sing "Boom chakka lakka, boom chakka lakka"? A rousing version of Crossroads was the perfect way to close the show.
Being that the show was broken up into 3 sections, it seemed like it went by far too quickly; especially Eric’s set. You’re really left with wanting more. If you’re used to seeing his full set, I’m sure you’ll agree. However, the old material mixed in, along with a few nice surprises really made for a very enjoyable show. Jeff’s playing is so intriguing to listen to, you never quite know where he’s going, but it’s always musical and tastefully intuitive. Eric’s playing remains a dynamic treat with the occasional staccato bend or unexpected phrasing which reminds you that he’s always thinking, adding, and innovating. His playing…yes, and let me reiterate, his great voice…I can’t really think of any other musician who’s earned the titles of "Guitar God" or "Legend" who’s such a talented, versatile vocalist as well. I always feel grateful to see him play when these opportunities come around.
Review by David Kessler
Eric Clapton must have read the review of the O2 concert published in the Wall Street Journal this week because he just sizzled in both his part of the show and with Jeff Beck. Layla was given a rest tonight. I’ve got a Rock and Roll Heart was a rare treat for me. Jeff Beck did a great job with Day in the Life and also surprising me with Moon River. First the 2 guitars through the song and then Eric singing it. Mercer and Mancini would have been very pleased. I shot the Sheriff, Running on Faith. Chris was given special mention and was exceptional on the keys. For me top 5 all time concerts and I have been going since 1966.
Review by David S.
The real highlight for me was Jeff Beck. I’ve seen Beck a number of times and I’ve seen him with EC at both Crossroads Festivals so I’m no stranger to Jeff’s music as well as Clapton. I’m sure I’ve seen EC at least 20 times. It was just a great treat to see Jeff with a full orchestra. I did miss Tal’s bass playing because she is just fabulous but Rhonda more than brought it. The real monster was Michael Walden. If I’m not mistaken he played on the original recording of Eternity’s Breath which opened the show. What a powerhouse. Jeff’s set was so full of fire as always and his playing was on point and very dynamic. I know I’m gonna take some punches for this but EC seemed a bit tired almost winded at points. There were definitely high points like Outside Woman Blues. And let’s face it EC doesn’t put on a bad show. I just think Jeff’s presence supplied the fire. The intro to I Shot the Sherrif was very cool. I could easily do without Cocaine. Pardon the pun. The song is tired. Chris Stainton does his best to give the song legs with his solo but it’s time to retire that puppy for a while. Willie and Steve were rock solid as usual. Walt Richmond is no Greg Phillinganes but then again who is. Clapton’s previous choices for the keyboard seats have always been better in the past. I don’t know why Tell the Truth is such a favorite of EC’s when there’s no slide player joining him. In my opinion the song needs the counterpoint of a slide guitar. Derek Trucks and naturally Duane stated that pretty emphatically. Moon River was an odd choice but was powerful none the less with EC in good voice. All in all not my favorite EC show but Jeff made up for it in the 3rd set joining his band as well as with his own band’s first set.
Review by Mary-Ellen M.
Probably the best concert I’ve ever seen! It was my 7th time seeing Clapton; never seen Jeff Beck before. What an amazing show!!
Review by Lisa DeRosa
I’m a huge Clapton fan, a new Beck fan and this was my first Clapton concert (I have tried for 20 years – but it just never worked). This was by far the best concert I have EVER been to. His voice was so pure; I closed my eyes and thought that it could easily be a studio recording. Both Beck and Clapton’s hands were amazing in the way they worked their guitars and Beck made his actually sing.
Review by Maureen T / Staten Island
I am amazed any time I see Clapton but I feel he did not have the same energy that I have been used to when I have seen him with Winwood recently. I love his acoustics and his mastering of the blues but last nite at the Garden it felt like his energy level was low. Maybe we are all getting older as I felt like I may have been one of the youngest at the concert and I am 48. I hope Claptons health is good as I missed him at the October 30,2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at the Garden when he had a gall bladder operation. Clapton is still God and I would never have missed this concert to see a genius at work and I will anxiosly await when he returns.
Review by V. Cushny
I was expecting Clapton & Beck to both be on stage together the entire show, just like Winwood & Clapton last year. Instead, Beck opened with a killer 45 minute set, I mean he was loud and he ripped it up most of the time, but then there were also some mellow moments as he had a 20 piece orchestra (12 violinists, 6 horns & 2 keyboard players) on stage with him that played on some of the songs. Beck’s encore was totally strange: the famous opera piece "Nessun Dorma".
After a break Clapton came on and played 4 acoustic songs right off the bat – very strange opening and I was beginning to worry this might be an all acoustic show; I like it better when he places the acoustic songs in the middle of the set like he usually does. Finally Clapton stood up and strapped on his electric guitar for an inspired version of the Derek And The Dominos classic, Tell the Truth, followed by another Derek And The Dominos song, Key to the Highway. After Eric played a smokin’ I Shot The Sheriff and Cocaine, Beck came back out and played the rest of the show with Clapton. Another totally strange part of the evening was when Clapton & Beck traded licks on Moon River. Crossroads was the encore and was the 2nd Cream song of the evening (Outside Woman Blues was the other).
The setlist was a bit of a disappointment; why didn’t they play Little Wing, Badge, Keep on Growing, Why Does Love Got to be So Sad, Layla, Sunshine of your Love or some of Beck’s classic’s like Ain’t Superstitious or Morning Dew? I’m going again tonight and I will be very disappointed if they play the exact same setlist. With such a large catalogue of songs to draw from, that would be a shame if they played the same show all over again.
Review by "Big Tom" I. / Milford, Connecticut
The morning after! Oh my what a show! This was the 27th time I have seen Eric since 1974 and once again he just seems to amaze me. First off Jeff Beck was just awesome. His new band with Rhonda Smith on bass was more aggressive if that is the right word and I thought that Tal Wikelfeld was a great find for Jeff. His whole set was tight and the crowd was totally into it, he seemed to be very relaxed and having a good time. My favorite songs of the whole set were A Day in the Life which I saw at the 2007 Crossroads and Nessun Dorma with the 12 piece orchestra. It looked like some of the musicians in the orchestra have never seen Jeff Beck or they were just in total awe!
It was a quick stage change and the crowd was ready, as the lights went out Eric and his band walked on stage and EC took his acoustic Martin and started with Driftin. With his hair long and different glasses, Eric once again gave the crowd a different look to him. The highlight of the acoustic set I think was I Got A Rock and Roll Heart. Since his new phone commercial, people have taken a liking to it and sang along. It was good to see him do that song and one that I have never seen him perform live.
Then, the Master put on his Daphne Blue Strat and jumped right into TELL THE TRUTH. A bit different with EC being the only guitar player and two keyboard players with long time Chris Stainton and newly added Walt Richmond. The backup singers Michelle John and Sharon White also got more noticeable air time. With Steve Gadd back on drums and Willie Weeks on bass the band sounded tight and clear. Less was surely more for what was going on last nite. Going right into Key to the Highway was great. The Reggae intro to I Shot the Sheriff was sweet and you could tell right away where Eric was going. A favorite of mine followed in Little Queen of Spades is so bluesy and a strong finish with Cocaine. I was glad that Layla (which is my all time favorite) was given a rest.
Then the two guitar gods came together! Of the 8 song set which was fabulous, the one song that blew everyone away was MOON RIVER – I literally had chills going up and down my body over that classic. The two guitars were so different but yet they fit so well. I hope that show comes out on a DVD or CD. The rest of the set was so great with LITTLE BROWN BIRD, WEE WEE BABY and right into the Sly tune I Want to Take You Higher. The encore of Crossroads is always a tribute to Mr Johnson. My only regret is that I cannot go to the second show. I enjoy writing these posts, Eric Clapton has been a part of my life for 41 years. His music and style of playing has influenced me to such a large degree. If you do get a chance go see him. You will understand why Clapton is god!
Review by Brian M. / New York
Must completely agree with Robert Ender’s very well-written and thorough review. My kids and I were just thrilled at each and every moment of this tremendous three hour show, the sound was great, the music was phenomenal, and they both came together and put on an unforgettable display of talent that we may never see again. As old-timers we can fully appreciate how these two have far surpassed the rock guitarist label, they are truly masters of their craft. Plenty of younger folks there enjoying the show but for us who have seen Jeff and Eric over these many years, it was everything you could have hoped for and more! I see Eric is already setting up his Crossroads Festival this June and that would certainly be something people should try to attend as well. Please get tickets for the remaining shows if you can, it was beyond fantastic! I would love to go again tonight!
Review by Lenny C / Norwalk CT
Just got back from my second Jeff Beck concert. The first was the Rock and Roll Hall of fame show that Eric couldn’t make because of Gall Stones. Tonight was supposed to make up for that lost $500. Guess what, tonight I lost $600. Please let me start by saying I’ve sent numerous reviews to whereseric. All great ones. I’ve seen him since before I started dragging my wife of 33 years. Tonight’s show should have been called Jeff Beck, with special guest appearance by Eric Clapton. I thought maybe it was just me, but the best way to judge a concert is in the men’s room right after the show. All complaints. From, he does the same damn songs all the time, to, was he trying to show how good Jeff Beck really is. Take Key To The Highway, Queen of Spades, Tell The Truth, and stick them where they can’t be heard again. Sorry. I want to hear Let It Rain, After Midnight, White Room, Sunshine of Your Love, Forever Man. Play the songs 20,000 people came to hear Layla tonight and we heard Moon River. I had planned to stick an expletive in there but figured it wouldn’t get printed.
The set list was the same as O2 except instead Of Layla, coincidentally, he played Rock and Roll Heart. Gee, wonder why. Any new phones out there to plug? If it wasn’t for an unreal I shot The Sheriff, I think my wife, who I have dragged to all these Clapton shows for 33 years, might have killed me. I also took my 16 year old son. I took him 3 years ago to his first concert ever. Gee, I wonder what show that was? Clapton at the Garden. He was great. 3 years later, I mortgage the house for the R& R Hall of Fame show and he doesn’t show. I know, Gall stones. At least the kid saw Mettalica, so it wasn’t a total loss for him. I went only for Eric. This show was supposed to be a payback for that one. Please don’t say I am a sore loser. I guarantee I’ve seen more Eric shows than most of the people who send in their reviews. I probably remember shows that Eric can’t remember because of his bad old days.
Tonight I really, really needed Eric. Work is a nightmare. The economy is still down the toilet, And I needed him to, at least for one night, make me forget my crap. Oh, did I mention I sell Toyotas. I REALLY needed him tonight. What I got was a great Jeff Beck show. If I was a Jeff Beck Guy, then I would have gotten what I paid for. Would it have killed the man to do the 4 minute acoustic Layla
That he did openig night in London. For G-D’s sake, the tickets said BecK and Clapton. Not Beck and some Clapton. I refuse to believe that, maybe he just had a bad night. Not the way he did I shot The Sheriff. He was on. He just decided that he was going to play songs that he wanted to play and that was it. I guess he has the right to choose, but I have the right to be pissed. My problem is that I am addicted to Eric. Which means that if there is another tour in a year or so, I will again pay the HUGE bucks and give him another shot. I f I get burnt again, well, my bad. It’s just that I have seen him do unreal concerts, and this was one I really needed, and I didn’t get it. I would appreciate if you print this review. You have always printed the ones I sent in that were favorable, print this one to show you don’t censor a bad one. Thank you.
Review by Aryeh T. / New Jersey
I went to the Feb. 18 Clapton/Beck concert and it was sensational. It was my second time seeing Clapton, but my first time seeing Beck. The beginning of the concert featured about forty five minutes of Beck rockin’ it up with his loud yet amazing sound. Beck didn’t stop for a second with his crazy rhythms and constant soloing and lead playing. Although he didn’t sing, his style of music is so unique that he doesn’t need to sing. Beck also played with an orchestra that sounded great with Beck’s psychedelic sound especially when the instrumental version of "A Day in the Life" was played. Beck also had Rhonda Smith at Bass, who was fantastic and was able to show off a few of her skills also.
After Beck, Clapton came on stage and started with an acoustic set that was great. He played Driftin’, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out, Running On Faith, which I thought was the best from the acoustic set and "I’ve Got A Rock ‘N Roll Heart." After the acoustic set, Clapton plugged in and really "electrified" the Garden with "Tell the Truth" and "Key to the Highway" which were very "Claptoneske." After really getting warmed up,Clapton played the best version of "I Shot the Sheriff" I’ve ever heard. The solo built up from soft and sweet to loud, fast and super. He did a great versions of "Cocaine" and "Little Queen of Spades" as well.
Then the flood gates opened and Beck came back out and joined Clapton on stage and the greatness began with when they played such songs like "Moon River," a little Cream with "Outside Womans’ Blues," and a little Sly & the Family Stone with "(I Want to Take You) Higher," which was a very fun song to listen to. The encore of the show was more Cream with "Cossroads" which was phenomenal.
This concert was a great one because it featured two of the guitar greats on stage playing separately and together. Seeing Clapton will never get boring let alone seeing Clapton and Beck on the same stage.
Review by Ken Simpson
Jeff Beck opened the show at just about 8:00 PM on the dot. He went through a series of guitar fueled instrumentals, varying from eloquent ballads to bluesy, riff driven tunes. The set lacked “I Put a Spell On You” and “People Get Ready” which had both been performed in London with guest vocalists but Jeff did impress with his emotional instrumental cover of The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life.” He was accompanied by a full orchestra for his set, which played on some of the songs including “A Day in the Life” and really added to that one.
After about a 25 minute break to take down and set up the sets, Eric Clapton took the stage. He opened with Driftin’ accompanied by only Willie Weeks on bass and Steve Gadd. I don’t know that it’s necessarily the most high energy song to open a show with, Change the World would be a welcome replacement, but EC’s fingerstyle guitar playing and vocals were strong. The rest of the band including Chris Stainton, Walt Richmond, Sharon White and Michelle John joined and they continued with Unplugged’s Nobody Knows You and Running on Faith, with Eric even taking a welcome solo in the middle of Running on Faith which I was not expecting. Eric seemed to be holding back a little on the vocals at the end of Running on Faith as it was not quite as loud or emotional vocally as on the Unplugged album. Next was a big surprise, I’ve Got a Rock ‘n Roll Heart, from the Money and Cigarettes album which I don’t think Clapton has played live since the early 1980s. The song has had a resurgence with its appearance in the T-Mobile Fender MyTouch cell phone commercial which EC appears in which probably resulted in its addition to the set. Nonetheless, it was a nice surprise.
Next Clapton plugged in with the high energy Tell the Truth, the only original he played the entire night, followed by Key to the Highway. I Shot the Sheriff was next, and as often the case, it was an early highlight. His intro solo was great, as he alternated the two main chorus chords before the backing vocalists came in after the opening riff. Little Queen of Spades was shorter than his recent live renditions but his playing was fine, though I would have liked to have heard more originals or at least something more identifiable with Mr. Clapton such as Have You Ever Loved a Woman or Little Wing. His versions of Little Wing from the last couple of tours including with Steve Winwood have been breathtaking. Eric closed out his solo set with the obligatory Cocaine, which was fine though it would have been nice to hear a wah-wah solo.
Jeff Beck entered the stage and joined EC and his band for Shake Your Money Maker which was a nice blues rocker and Moon River, which really slowed things down though the crowd reacted well to it. Several blues tunes followed including You Need Love, a version of the song Eric covered with Cream, Outside Woman Blues, Little Brown Bird and Wee Wee Baby (which bassist Willie Weeks sang some nice harmony vocals on). Next was the fun (I Wanna Take You) Higher followed by the encore, Crossroads, which saw some nice, albeit too short, interplay between Jeff and Eric.
All in all, it was a great show. The highlights were “A Day in the Life,” “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n Roll Heart,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Shake Your Moneymaker,” “(I Wanna Take You) Higher,” and “Crossroads.”
I would have loved to see more Clapton originals and perhaps Clapton sitting in with Jeff and his band and singing vocals on People Get Ready. A Clapton and Beck version of Little Wing could have been awesome. Also, they could have done some more interplay between each other during their solos on their joint set. But for me though, seeing these two guitar legends together was worth the trip from Kansas City to NYC.