Venue: Royal Albert Hall
City: South Kensington, London
Country: United Kingdom
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Steve Winwood – hammond organ, piano, guitar, vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders
First of five nights at the Royal Albert Hall with Steve Winwood. EC preceded these shows with six solo concerts at the venue.
01. Had to Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence Of The Lord
06. Well Alright
07. Hoochie Coochie Man
08. While You See A Chance
09. Key To The Highway
10. Midland Maniac
13. That’s No Way To Get Along
14. Can’t Find My Way Home
15. Gimme Some Lovin’
16. Voodoo Chile
18. Dear Mr. Fantasy
Review by Sara T / London
This is one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. It was so great to see Clapton and Winwood so much at peace with themselves, leafing through their musical past and enjoying it to the full. They shared all those emotions with the audience, and brought the Royal Albert Hall down, with everyone singing and dancing and clapping all along.
The quality of the music was top-notch, with amazing solos by Clapton and Winwood, a great rhythm section, wonderful vocalists who gave so much energy to the whole gig, and a Chris Stainton at his best — his five twelve-bar solo on Cocaine was one of the best things I’ve ever heard.
It was great to hear songs by Blind Faith, but also by Traffic and Clapton alone. The highlights were Presence of the Lord, Glad, Georgia, Voodoo Chile and Gimme Some Lovin’, which had people stand up and dance. The audience was mesmerised and the feeling reached with Clapton on guitar and Winwood on Hammond organ was incredible. Winwood’s voice hasn’t changed at all and it’s still as powerful as it was 40 years ago.
Around the end, just before Cocaine, the people down in the stalls stood up and rushed towards the stage, and Clapton couldn’t help smiling with that usual smile he has, meaning something like — is this for me?
Dear Mr Fantasy, the encore, was pure magic. It was a concert that left me at peace with the world.
Review by Ken Norris
The last (and only) time I had seen EC and SW was at the Izod Center in Jersey on the American tour. So I was really looking forward to seeing them in the more club-like atmosphere of the Albert Hall.
While the Izod show probably had more of a Wow factor, this was a solid and most enjoyable show. That more than half of the show had been played at Izod two years earlier took away the surprise factor, but is it really possible to hear Had To Cry Today or Voodoo Chile one time too many? I think not.
If you’ve seen the show before, the first six songs are fairly familiar, my favorite of them being After Midnight, which really gets cooking. But then it was time for some new stuff. First up: Hoochie Coochie Man, played in the standard arrangement. A very nice organ solo by Steve. I haven’t followed SW’s career with the same attention that I have paid to EC’s, so While You See The Chance was new to me (as was Midland Maniac). They are good thoughtful songs, well-played. From the EC playlist we were treated to an energetic Key To The Highway and a hefty Crossroads.
For many, it would seem that the highlight of the show is Voodoo Chile. For me, it is Georgia On My Mind. It’s a great song, and SW sings it beautifully. (I would really love to see EC and SW take a few weeks and record a CD of Ray Charles covers. It would be great!).
I think of Georgia as the beginning the sit-down set. On this night the sitting down lasted for about five minutes (for EC about three, as he stood to play his tasteful solo on Georgia). Instead of chairs and acoustic guitars, the band moved quickly and surprisingly into a standing up, mostly electric version of That’s No Way To Get Along. I was delighted. It was followed by a standing up version of Can’t Find My Way Home, quite similar to the one on the MSG CD.
Although I love Split Decision, I was happy to hear it replaced by Gimme Some Lovin’. Very satisfying. EC is still playing the daylights out of Voodoo Chile. Cocaine produced the stage rush, and Dear Mr. Fantasy was the predictable encore.
My one suggestion for improvement: if they are going to do further shows together, keep an hour of “the hits” and then do another hour of new material. That being said, I think they did 7 songs that weren’t part of their repertoire at MSG. It’s changing and evolving, but it’s changing and evolving slowly.
Review by Nadja Teichert / Bonau, Switzerland
Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood started their residency at the RAH with an excellent show. Fantastic “Glad”/”Well Alright”, a marvelous “Midland Maniac”, a tremendously STOMPING “Crossroads”, beautiful “Georgia” and luckily a song from Eric’s most recent CD (“That’s no way to get along”) were among the songs played tonight. A wild “Gimmie some Lovin'” and an exuberant fire of “Voodoo Chile” left me and the audience wanting more. A great encore of “Dear Mr Fantasy” closed a fantastic show. Reminiscing previous shows such as the one in New York in 2008 or last year’s European shows, I would hope for “Hoochie Coochie Man” to be either the new arrangement (like the version from the May 17, 2011) or dropped from the set list together with “Key to the Highway”. Replacements could easily be “Shape I’m in”, “Pearly Queen”, “Little Wing”, “Double Trouble” and/or “Forever Man”.
Review by Greg Pursall / London
I attended RAH last night (24th May) for the first of of 4 gigs I have tickets to see Steve play with EC, and going by last nights performance I think I can safely bet I’m in for a treat for the remainder! Having seen EC play his solo performances last week at RAH, he seemed to be tiring by the end, but pairing up with Steve yet again seems to have reinvigorated him. It was clear from the start that both musicians were relishing each other’s company and the relaxed easy natural empathy between both men is clearly reflected in their playing. Steve was obviously enjoying himself and his performances on guitar and Hammond were outstanding throughout the evening, which clearly inspired EC to play some fantastic fiery, tasteful solos. The setlist was more or less the same as on their previous collaborations and Steve reprised ‘Midland Maniac’ and ‘While You Take A Chance’ from last years concerts and there was a very nice version of ‘That’s No Way To Get Along’ from EC’s current album, which to my knowledge hasn’t been played live before, with each man trading tasteful guitar licks.
However, I was disappointed that ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, ‘ Key To The Highway’ and ‘Crossroads’ which EC had already played in his setlist for his solo slot featured here – I was hoping that ‘Tuff Luck’ , ‘Going Down’ and ‘Double Trouble’ or even ‘Little Wing’ might have replaced these old warhorses, but maybe these will hopefully feature in the set later in the run.
That aside, there were some outstanding highlights – ‘Gimme Some Loving’ was simply superb – both men giving their all with Steve’s soaring Hammond sublimly intreacting with EC’s chunky solid guitar work. ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ was played on electric guitars as it was performed at Crossroads 2007 and the MSG gigs from 2008, which I preferred from the sit down acoustic version from 2010 as to me it sounds more melancholy when played this way, as it should be, in my view. .
‘Voodoo Chile’ was of course the star piece of the gig and didn’t disappoint – EC’s soaring guitar literally blasted into the stratosphere and Steve’s soaring Hammond solo in the middle was the best I’ve ever heard slow burning to start and then reaching and incredible climax – truly spine chilling and awe inspiring ! The encore of ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’ was as ever impeccably played and Steve’s distinctive and instantly recognisable vocals throughout the whole gig was peerless as always . The success of this great gig was clearly shown by the demeanour of both men, and indeed the rest of the band at the final bow – happy and laughing, which sums it up really!
So, to summarise, a great solid, inspired start to what looks like to be a memorable run of fantastic music at RAH, which really is not to be missed!