Venue: Mellon Arena
Country: United States
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Walt Richmond – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Opening night of EC’s 11-date US Tour. As expected, with EC the sole guitarist in the band, "Layla" was not performed in the electric set. It really needs two guitarists, unlike most of his other material where EC can ably handle it all. The concert began promptly at 7:30 with Roger Daltrey’s opening 45-minute set. EC went on at 8:45PM and the show ended at 10:15PM.
Roger Daltrey’s set list was:
01. I Can See For Miles
02. The Real Me
03. Days Of Light
04. Freedom Ride
05. Gimme A Stone
06. Real Good Looking Boy
07. Mannish Boy / My Generation
08. Young Man Blues
09. Baba O’Riley
Behind Blues Eyes was on his printed set list, but not performed.
01. Going Down Slow
02. Key To The Highway
03. Tell The Truth
04. Old Love
05. I Shot The Sheriff
06. Driftin’ Blues
07. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
08. Running On Faith
09. I’ve Got A Rock ‘N Roll Heart
11. Little Queen Of Spades
12. Before You Accuse Me
13. Wonderful Tonight
15. Crossroads – encore
Were you there? Send your review and / or photos to [email protected]. Please be sure to include your name; anonymous reviews or those using an alias will not be published.
Review by Jim B.
We just returned from the show in Pittsburgh. Even though it was the first show of the solo tour, the concert was in midseason form. The guitar solo for Old Love was “off the charts” outstanding. Clapton really shined as the sole guitarist. The show was a nice mix of electric, acoustic, and old classics. The only negative, the show was only 90 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll buy a ticket every concert, and already have my Crossroads tickets, but for what we pay and what it takes to get to a show in the middle of a Midwest winter, the show should be at least two hours and “Layla” shouldn’t be skipped.
Review by Matthew V. Wolff / Pittsburgh
My first EC show and it was great. Excellent audio in a tough venue. Good lighting and stage set-up. Could have used a second song in the encore, he left us all wanting more.
Review by Daniel S. / Pittsburgh PA
Great performance by Eric and the band. This was my first time at one of his concerts and it was one of the better concerts I’ve ever been to. Great to hear "Driftin’ Blues" and "Little Queen of Spades", they were outstanding performances, not to mention the solo on "Old Love" which was mesmerizing.
Review by Sam M.
My only disagreement is that while I agree Roger Daltrey was better than his performance at the Super Bowl with The Who, he is still struggling at times.
I know opening show performances of tours can be pretty rough, but I went in with higher expectations due to the fact that although this was the opening performance of this 11-city tour, the band had already played 6 shows the previous couple weeks with Jeff Beck.
Weather probably played a role in the short 90 minute, 15 song set. We will know after the next show in Nashville whether it was an anomaly or the new standard? Eric seemed in a good mood to start, smiling often, rolled up his sleeves after the second song, was WAYYYY into Old Love with a stunning 3 minute solo with his trademark "crane stance" and facial convulsions where you know he is in the zone, followed by a great Sheriff that the crowd ate up.
The acoustic set was pretty much a yawn, except for the refreshing version of RnR Heart. One of my good friends who was a Clapton concert virgin said he enjoyed the show and was impressed by seeing someone that talented in person. However, he even admitted to a potty break playing some Tetris on his Blackberry during the sit down set.
Unfortunately, the second plugged in part of the show seemed to reveal a tired EC. Badge was a nice surprise. Queen of Spades just had too many piano solos and too short of an EC closing guitar solo. Before You Accuse me was a lively, rollicking romp and another highlight of the evening. The BV girls were great as usual, and it was nice to see Steve Gadd on the skins again.
However, when I glimpsed on the suspended video screens the setlist on Chris Stainton’s keyboards, I knew it was not going to end very special (was really hoping for a return of Sunshine of Your Love or anything else as an encore) – Wonderful Tonight / Cocaine / Crossroads (encore), a quick "good nite" and wave, then exit stage left in an expdeditious manner. No closing bow with the group as in years past, but I heard he didnt do this after the recent Beck shows either.
Like I told one of my friends after the show, if it is under two hours for you to get there, by all means go – but i wouldn’t put a major investment to fly or drive long distances for this tour. Solid show, but nothing special this evening….looking forward to Crossroads Chicago!
Review by Martha White / Arthurdale WV
My third Clapton concert; my first of a solo concert. Excellent band and back-up singers accompanying. I was thrilled to hear Clapton play as the only guitar on stage. Mostly I closed my eyes and let the music carry me. And I couldn’t stop moving, clapping, bobbing in my seat, nodding my head. There are notes from his fingers that no one else can find, rhythms and shifts that only he can guide. My least favorite song of his – Wonderful Tonight – was wonderful last night, played with passion instead of sounding canned, as it had seemed to me at his other performances.
I was thrilled to see Clapton perform I’ve got a Rock and Roll Heart – so much fun! Badge was particularly powerful. I would’ve liked to have heard him light up Little Queen of Spades a bit more, but I personally can’t get enough of his blues.
The crowd at the Mellon Arena were mostly my age (mid-50s). They were overall responsive, appreciative to have the opportunity to witness this great guitarist in their midst. After the show I heard several concert goers mumble about his not having played Layla. But overall I think the crowd were satisfied to witness Eric Clapton’s diversity, his style, and his incredible gift with the guitar.
Review by Susan B.
What Eric did play was outstanding. He is amazing. But after waiting 36 years since he walked off of the stage at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh after 4 songs, I was bitterly disappointed in the length of the show. Only 1 encore song. These artists need to acknowledge that they would be nothing without their fans and at least attempt to give them their money’s worth. After reviewing the shows with Jeff Beck, I expected much more knowing that Roger Daltrey would not be as good as Beck. I left yet another Clapton show short changed. I don’t know that I will buy a ticket next time.
Review Lil’ Dave Joseph / Pittsburgh PA
When going to events, I try not to expect too much so not to be disappointed; however, when attending an Eric Clapton show, it’s hard not to anticipate an awesome performance. I was not let down! I have not seen Clapton live in nearly 16 years. After last night’s performance, I can’t imagine waiting another 16! With an excellent mix of songs ranging from his days with Cream and Derek and the Dominos through his solo career, Clapton always seemed to know just how much to give every guitar solo and how he makes it all look so effortless is beyond me! And no one could possibly ask for anything more from a backing band; they were simply magnificent! The stage and lighting also added to the overall experience often times hitting Clapton with just enough back light to see his sillouhette stepping up to the mic or leaning over his guitar. The only element that fell short: only one encore (Crossroads) though he probably could have played five more songs and it would still not be enough … kind of like breathing: When do you feel like you’ve had enough air?… you don’t… you just wish it would keep coming. Thank you and Good luck on the rest of your tour, Mr. Clapton!
Review by Ken McL. / Pittsburgh
My first EC show and one of the best concerts I’ve attended purely because of the variety and the abilities of the band. I found it hard to watch EC live as I became hypnotized by the large side screens that focused on his guitar mastery. We all wanted more.
Review by Diane Dorman
The show in Pittsburgh was outstanding. I am so glad he finally came back to the Burgh! He looked and sounded great. I loved hearing Running on Faith and Old Love. Journeyman is one of my favorite albums. I wished his set would have been longer. I wanted to hear River of Tears from Pilgrim. That is my absolute favorite Clapton song so far. I have been a fan since I was in 9th grade in 1978 and got my hands on the Slowhand album. I hope he continues to keep Pittsburgh on his tour list from now on.
Review by Tony B. / Latrobe PA
This was the third time I’ve seen and heard Eric and I wasn’t disappointed. I thought he played and sounded much better than the 461 Ocean Blvd tour (1974) or the Slowhand tour (1978). With no other guitar player we got to hear only him play. I was elated with his solo on "I Shot The Sherriff", mixing blues with reggae, but I was disappointed in the "Crossroads" solos. I was also disappointed he didn’t play "River of Tears" or "Layla". The set was only 90 minutes but was very entertaining on a cold, snowy nite in Pittsburgh. Only one encore, which was a let down, but overall, a great nite of music from a legendary artist.
Review by Pete R. / Erie PA
The Pittsburgh show has my 5th Clapton concert and the best one so far. Might be because these were the best seats I’ve had. The sound quality was excellent in the middle of the floor. The Old Love solo was nothing less than hall-of-fame class and Badge was a nice surprise. Crossroads was a great replacement for Layla. A 2 hour drive through the snow was well worth it.
Review by Margie B / Homer City PA
My first EC concert and well worth the wait! Seeing and listening to the master live was a long-time dream, and I was not disappointed. I wish the stage had been raised a little more … we were in the 27th row on the floor and I could not see him when he had the crowd on their feet, but the video screens were much appreciated. Would have enjoyed Layla, even the slow version, but Eric has more than earned the right to perform as he sees fit. He was in top form and the back up musicians were fabulous. Thanks a million, EC!!
Review by Gary Felton
This was my 15th Eric concert dating back to 1974 Long Beach, Ca. and it was one of the best. With the exception of the opening act of Daltrey who seemed to be whining about being an opening act (get over it, half of the Who are dead), the concert was very special.
The first third of the concert with Old Love followed by I Shot the Sheriff included some of the best solos I have ever heard from Eric. Old Love was absolutely beautiful and majestic. I never heard a song played with such emotion. The accoustic set was excellent with Driftin as another great guitar contribution.
The final set was more a nod to the hits. Wonderful Tonight was played with some inspirational melodic lines, definitely not just a repeat of previous versions.
The main criticisms of this tour are likely to be the length (90 min) and the lack of an electric version of Layla. I’m not complaining, I love Eric as the sole guitarist. I have really enjoyed two of the Winwood duet concerts. Layla was meant for 2 or 3 guitars and can’t be done with the current band. I’m not complaining as I would prefer to hear Eric as the only guitarist. It reminds me of how wonderful he is playing lead and rythym. The length is fine. I would rather hear 90 mins of inspiration than 2 hrs of going through the motions.
Perhaps the best part of the experience, was bumping into Eric the next day. Can’t wait for Crossroads in June.
Review by Jeff M.
Clapton was smoking HOT! Much to the disappointment of the young shouting a$$ next to me he didn’t play " F-ing LAYLA! Ever since The Who’s performance during halftime of the Super Bowl the press has been pretty negative about Daltrey. Seating next to some people last night who came to hear Roger sing nothing BUT WHO classics were disappointed as they shouted out …… ‘PLAY THE F – ING WHO.
Someone who appreciates the non-hit – but yet good artist performance.It was really refreshing to hear:
1. Days of Light – from RD solo album "Rocks in The Head"
2. Real Good Looking Boy – Townsend song written for Daltery about Elvis – now found on WHO -Then and Now Album
3. Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters classic – I think found on first Who album
Of course he did play some WHO: opened with I Can See for Miles, My Generation, See Me – Feel Me, plus others with a twist. Simon Townsend did a great job on guitar.
It was a once in a lifetime event – 2 music legends on one stage. Thank you Mr. Clapton and Mr. Daltrey.
Review by Kenny B.
I saw Eric in Pittsburgh. I did not know what to expect because of seeing other concerts by older rockers that did quite measure up, but I have to say he was just as good if not better than he has ever been. Nimble fingers and solid voice. one almost gets the feeling that the older he gets the better he gets. If you get the chance go you won’t be disappointed.
Review by V.J. Cuneo
A living legend that has been involved in the past fives decades of music, Eric Clapton is still proving that music is the story of his life. Walking into the arena, you could just feel the buzz of the crowd. Clapton has only visited Pittsburgh once every ten years since the start of his solo career in the seventies. Loyal fans of all ages were sharing stories of their good and bad experiences, and I could not help but listen. On July 5th 1974, Eric, who was in a dark place at that time, played a show at the old Pittsburgh baseball park. Playing to a rowdy crowd, a white jump-suited Clapton cursed the audience because he was hit with fireworks and one of his musicians was hit with a wine bottle. On October 16th 1994, he played a show at the hockey arena with the dome open. It began to rain and Eric played “Let it Rain” to a soggy crowd. After getting my Clapton-ology lesson, we were all about to become part of this man’s epic history.
The house lights dimmed and the crowd’s roar filled the arena. Eric walked out, with his grey hair growing long again, and quickly grabbed his Fender as he took center stage. He was backed by his solid band consisting of Willie Weeks on bass, Steve Gadd on drums, Chris Stainton and Walt Richmond on keyboards, and Michelle John and Sharon White as backing vocalists. There were no other guitar players, which gave the people in attendance a true show of his guitar skill.
With a slight nod to the crowd, he roared into his renditions of the blues classics “Going Down Slow” and “Key to the Highway.” The audience gave a standing ovation at the end of each song. When he played the Derek and the Dominoes tune “Tell the Truth,” Eric’s voice, backed by John and White, sounded better than it did when he recorded the album. Eric slowed the tempo down a bit with his emotional song “Old Love.” Everyone was slightly calmed until Clapton extended his solo which brought the crowd to their feet again. Watching his fingers slide up and down the fret board, his lighting-fast playing seemed effortless and he didn’t miss a single note. His band really locked into a groove when they busted out Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” Everyone was dancing in their seats.
Then, EC took a seat alone and was handed an acoustic. He finger-picked his way through “Driftin’ Blues” where he didn’t even need a band. He continued to serenade the crowd with “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” “Running on Faith,” and “I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart.” He then stood up and grabbed his electric again.
Clapton played the Cream standard “Badge.” The shining spotlight hit him as he stood with his guitar feedback ringing, for what seemed like minutes, before playing the outro of the song. He had the crowd in his fingertips. His skilled band got to take their solos during Robert Johnson’s “Little Queen of Spades.” I caught a glimpse of the set list on the piano which hinted the songs to come. The crowd was singing like there was no tomorrow on “Before You Accuse Me” and then got the couples slow dancing on “Wonderful Tonight.” He closed out his two-hour set with his thumping version of J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine.” Then after a night of playing his hits, he played an encore using the world blues anthem “Crossroads.” With a wave goodbye, Eric Clapton walked off the stage and blessed us all with his music. Everyone and anyone should go out and catch this legend while he is still in his prime.