Venue: Royal Albert Hall
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
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
14. That’s No Way To Get Along
16. Can’t Find My Way Home
17. Gimme Some Lovin’
18. Voodoo Chile
20. Dear Mr. Fantasy
Review by Ann Crick / London
The concert on Friday 27th was without doubt one of the best I have ever been to, certainly since the Cream reunion concert of 6th May 2005, and I’ve been to many many Eric Clapton concerts. I enjoyed the first concert of the RAH season on Tuesday 17th May, but the concert on 27th was in a different league! I enjoyed the Eric and Steve concert at Wembley last year, which had great sound, but Wembley lacks the intimate atmosphere of RAH and just watching the video screens wasn’t the same. I’d been hoping ever since that they would play together at the RAH – they did and I wasn’t disappointed.
The evening got off to a good start with Andy Fairweather-Low and The Low Riders – I must confess to not previously being a fan of Andy’s, but I’m now a convert and they proved to be a brilliant opening act. When Eric (looking years younger thanks to a great new haircut!), Steve and the band came on stage they looked relaxed and pleased to be there – Eric commenting on how he’d heard that Andy talks to the audience (had he read comments on WE! that he himself hadn’t been interacting with the audience?). There seemed to be a more interactive vibe between all on stage and the very lively audience, there was a real buzz. Every number was a highlight, the concert was one of those that leaves you almost breathless. With such a huge catalogue for both musicians to choose from obviously personal favourites were likely to be missing, such as Double Trouble from the Maddison Square Garden DVD. Highlights for me were After Midnight, Presence of the Lord, Georgia, Can’t Find My Way Home, Gimme Some Lovin’ and Voodoo Chile. Members of the audience were frequently up and dancing throughout the evening, and Gimme Some Lovin’ brought almost the whole audience to its feet – the atmosphere was amazing. I do feel though that Gimme Some Lovin’ would have been better placed after Voodoo Chile. The evening was one of those you just didn’t want to end. Eric and Steve play so well together, really pushing each other to higher levels, and so enjoying the experience (as did the audience) – it made me wonder how Blind Faith would have progressed if it had lasted longer.
Review by Ken Norris
The 26th and the 27th were my two EC/SW shows. As a complete show, I probably preferred the 26th. The show had an overall consistency and, frankly, I had a better seat on the 26th. The sound mix was better that night. But the 27th had HIGHLIGHTS.
There were a couple of agent provacateurs who tried to get the stage rush going at the start of After Midnight, which is the third song. No luck. But they DID manage to get it going for Gimme Some Lovin’, which is two songs earlier than usual. So I had the distinct pleasure of listening to all of Voodoo Chile standing up towards the front of the stage. That was certainly a highlight.
Another highlight earlier in the show was Hoochie Coochie Man. It was just a really high energy performance, with CS, SW and EC all taking terrific solos. On the 27th there really WAS a sit-down set. Georgia, Driftin’, That Will Be No Way To Get Along, Layla and Can’t Find My Way Home. So I got to hear acoustic versions of That Will Be No Way and Can’t Find My Way Home to contrast with the versions I heard the night before. So variety was another highlight.
My one thought at this show was that they really do play SONGS. They play arrangements, with solos slotted in. Voodoo Chile being the notable exception.
Review by Andy Crofts / Horndean, Hampshire
I’ve seen Clapton many times at the RAH, since 1988, and this has to be up there as one of the best. I hadn’t planned to see him live this time round; I wasn’t impressed with his most recent album. But I grabbed the chance to see him with Steve Winwood. The 2008 DVD is fantastic, and I missed them in the UK last year.
We had seats in the circle, near the back. View was decent, as was the sound. The lighting was at times obtrusive, but we may just have been in an unlucky position. No live video screens this time round, which I thought was a slight shame. There was a round Floyd style video screen, which provided the usual psychedelia.The place was packed – seemed a rowdier crowd than the norm – and Andy Fairweather Low put on a crowd pleasing turn as the support act.
The gig was brilliant. Clapton and Winwood throughout were on fine voice, and the keyboard / guitar playing were top notch. I always like Eric better when he has no backing guitar… makes him work a bit harder. His recorded output these days often makes him open to the – unwarranted – accusation that he’s not all that much as a guitarist. So I love to hear him have to do all the guitar work himself, as with the Cream reunion or the 86-87 four piece band. He’s cut his live solos down a bit in recent years, but little evidence of that tonight. Winwood joined him on guitar for some numbers; this may be an unfair recollection, but I had the feeling he didn’t have such a good night on the guitar, a bit sticky in places. No matter; it’s his singing and keyboards that mark him out.
Clapton used the light blue strat to start, switching to a black one for the latter part of the gig. Sounded good, maybe ever so slightly too clean, although I’ve maybe been listening to too much 1987 stuff lately, when he had a great dirty tone… he should go back to that! And I wait in vain for the Les Paul signature model to be used in battle, ho hum. The setlist started familiarly, with Had To Cry Today, but there were a few surprises. I hadn’t expected Layla or If You See A Chance, for example, and they did That’s No Way To Get Along, one of the better numbers off the new album. Highlights for me were Glad, Crossroads, Voodoo Child and Gimme Some Loving, but to be honest there weren’t any lowlights. Quibbles? Shame not to get Still Got The Blues or Pearly Queen, and Crossroads was oddly placed in the middle of the set. Plenty of pace, it got everyone downstairs up and dancing, but then they all had to sit down again afterwards for Georgia, a fine song but a little deflating at that point if you wanted to carry on partying. Crossroads would have been better as an encore. The actual encore, Dear Mr Fantasy, was perhaps a touch obscure for the non-Traffic fan, although it turned into a good upbeat jam.
A lot has been said about Clapton’s lack of communication with the audience. He made a slight joke about it tonight, saying Andy Fairweather Low talked too much, and he was going to let the music do the talking instead. Well he did that, but I’m afraid he does come across as uncommunicative and uninterested, especially to a new or casual listener. He said thankyou after each song (and I’ve been at gigs where he didn’t even do that), but that was about it. It’s a slight shame, because when he does open up a little more, he usually has something interesting to say about the songs he’s playing. That said, I don’t think Steve Winwood said a word all night. Never mind though, it was a fantastic and upbeat two hours and more of skill from two pros at the top of their game. No dull moments, I didn’t want it to end, and I hope they do more together, both live and on record.
Review by Greg Pursall / London
Second show of the Clapton / Winwood stint at RAH proved to be as good as the first, if not better – again a stupendous gig with stellar performances by both artistes. They performed the same setlist as the previous night, with minor differences – ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’ and ‘That’s No Way To Get Along’ performed on acoustic guitars with two additions – ‘Layla’ and ‘Driftin’, so it was a longer set than the night before. A surprising highlight of the night for me was a jaw dropping version of ‘Crossroads’ with EC ripping the guts out of the song with blistering demonic soloing and Steve clearly squeezing as much out of his keyboards as he was physically able. His Hammond solo on ‘Voodoo Chile’ was again oustanding. The audience were virtually won over after the the first number of Had To Cry Today’ and an indication how inspiring was the music when the traditional rush to the front of the stage happened four number before the end of the set with hardly anyone remaining in their seats! Truly awesome and another great night!