Venue: Royal Albert Hall
City: South Kensington, London
Country: United Kingdom
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders
For the second night at the RAH, EC added Tell The Truth, brought back Before You Accuse Me after a one night absence, dropped I Shot The Sheriff and re-arranged the order a bit from the previous evening.
01. Key To The Highway
02. Tell The Truth
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. Old Love
05. Tearing Us Apart
07. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
08. Still Got The Blues (Gary Moore)
09. Same Old Blues (JJ Cale)
10. When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful
13. Wonderful Tonight
14. Before You Accuse Me
15. Little Queen Of Spades
Review by Greg Pursall / London
After hearing some not so favourable reviews from some quarters about EC’s recent concerts in as much his heart wasn’t really in it, it was with some reservation that I attended the Royal Albert Hall on 18 May. However, from the opening chords of ‘Key To The Highway’ any lingering doubts swiftly melted away. Looking sprightly and exuding boundless energy, an obviously relaxed and happy EC was on excellent form throughout admirably demonstrating throughout the whole evening his genius for fluid, solid and impassioned playing and engaging happily with a very enthusiastic audience. It seemed that Eric’s playing was brought more to the fore than I’ve experienced in the past, with the solos of Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on keyboards not being so long drawn out as on previous occasions, which made for a tighter punchier band. Even the usually bland ‘Wonderful Tonight’ had a rare edge to it. EC certainly ‘dusted up’ the Hall tonight – a definite 9/10 – 1 point deducted for virtually the same setlist, but cracking versions ‘Tell The Truth’ and ‘Tearing Us Apart’ – welcome new additions – more than made up for that. EC was certainly enjoying himself, even laughing at one stage at the antics of a couple doing a some a kind of waltz at the front of the stage at the beginning of ‘Cocaine’! So to summarise, a great, atmospheric gig with some very nice tweaks to the familiar setlist punctuated throughout with impassioned playing – it reminded me of the fiery EC of old which has got to be a good thing…a spiffing memorable night!
Review by Nick Kernoghan / Great Bookham
This was a very good show because Eric played longer and more intense solos than he has tended to recently and there were not quite so many keyboard solos. Highlights were Tell The Truth, Old Love, Tearing Us Apart and Badge. Tellingly perhaps Tell The Truth and Tearing Us Apart featured cracking guitar solos and no keyboard solos at all. So why very good rather than great? Well, the sit down acoustic section was enjoyable, but perhaps 2 songs too long and Tim Carmon’s solo on When Somebody Thinks Your Wonderful had a horrible tone that reminded me of “I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside”. Also the last 3 songs reverted to shorter guitar solos and longer keyboard solos. Nevertheless very enjoyable overall and we left happy.
Review by Nadja Teichert / Bonau, Switzerland
EC was on fire tonight! The first plugged-in part had EC breathless when introducing Driftin’. Highlights were Tell the Truth, Old Love, Tearing us Apart, Still Got The Blues, a very groovy Same Old Blues, Badge, Little Queen Of Spades, Cocaine plus Crossroads. It makes a huge difference when the audience can get up front. So to the astonishment and delight of Eric, a couple sneaked up front to dance during Cocaine, so everybody else got up and danced through the song. The party continued with a ripping Crossroads. With the whole band bowing to the audience a great gig came to a close. A truly great gig tonight.
Review by Ron Wilhelm / San Francisco, US
I have seen EC at many venues with many different band configurations, have to say I like this slimmed down band and show as one of the best. With no second guitarist Clapton had to fill all the roles. What more could a guitar fan want? Tremendous. A less is more type sound and feel. Songs that stood out for me:
Tell the Truth: just great, band was tight with a great pumping rhythm.
Tearing Us Apart:– Fun to hear that old 80’s tune.
Old Love – Some great moments on guitar with a beautifully built crescendo guitar solo followed by a funky, reggae vamp during the keyboard solos.
The acoustic set – pleasant surprise with Gary Moore’s “Still Got The Blues (For You)”
Badge – thunderous and bringing the show to the next gear. Including the now classic singing of “where is my badge?”
Crossroads – high energy. Great guitar work throughout the evening.
Royal Albert Hall – What can you say but a most spectacular venue? Small, intimate, majestic and of course, Royal.
Pretty, pretty awesome.
Review by Jim K / Denver, US
Setting at RAH is simply amazing. Hall is absolutely beautiful. Opening set by Andy Fairweather Low was spirited and interesting. He played a 35 minute set featuring many favorites and guitar songs that inspired him. He opened with Peter Gunn.
Eric took the stage with his light blue fender. A “good evening” to the anxious crowd and laid into key to the highway. Tell the truth was. New add for this tour in the second slot. Eric is on fire tonight. Incredible solo in tell the truth by Eric. Solos by Eric were brilliant during old love. Kudos to Tim Carmen for his driving solo during old love along with strong support during still got the blues. Beautiful work by Eric in layla. Eric’s band is very strong as is past years. Willie Weeks and Steve Gadd are the driving force. Chris Stainton and Tim Carmen are given wide opportunities providing intersesting solos. Blistering two hour set – wow wow wow. Thank you Eric!
Review by Steve Dennis / Taylorville, IL
Our 1st visit to London and RAH. A beautiful venue with an amazing show. Andy Fairweather Low was great. Enjoyed both his guitar and voice. His band was excellent as well. Eric came on stage and it was a slimmed down band. We had seen him in St Louis USA a few years ago and it was great then, but nothing compared to this night for my wife Shelly and I. Eric was on fire all night. No break, just balls to the walls playing. The man seems ageless! For me, Hoochie Coochie Man, Little Queen of Spades, Tearing Us Apart were great, but the guitar work on Badge and Crossroads were the best. I loved the whole set, 2 hours of fantastic music. An awesome night we’ll never forget. Thanks Eric!
Review by Mike Sawin
The 2nd night of Eric’s residency saw vastly improved playing after the previous night’s offering. On the 17th I felt he look tired, playing well enough but just ‘going through the motions’. At the finale, he had raced off-stage without doing the classic ‘linked arms and bowing to the audience’ routine.
Wednesday was a different ball game with a changed set-list (but why no ‘Sheriff’?) and a sense of urgency in his playing. When a couple danced down the aisle to the front near the end of the show, that seemed to be a cue for the masses, proving EC DOES respond to an enthusiastic audience.
On the first night he had also experimented a little, changing the feel of ‘Going Down Slow’ & ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ to a more swingier style-‘Hoochie’ at the beginning sounded like ‘Can You Hear Me Calling’ (remember that one circa 1993?).
But it was back to normal on the 18th. with standard versions being played. ‘Tell the Truth’ got a re-airing and so did ‘Tearing Us Apart’. Both well played but without the intense solos of 2008. The acoustic set was nicely presented with ‘Driftin’ being a little faster than has been played of late-getting closer and closer to the ‘EC was Here’ version. I thought the acoustic set was one song too long as some of the audience around me were getting restless. The run-in to the end was classic Clapton-”Cocaine’, ‘Wonderful’. ‘Crossroads’ etc and a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
I do have a criticism, however. TOO MUCH KEYBOARD PLAYING. There, I’ve done it-but it had to be said. I know two people (not casual fans, BTW) who, if they didn’t have tickets, wouldn’t go on the rest of this run. Solo after interminable solo-widdly, widdly. Please. Stop. NOW! I’m sure Tim is a lovely guy but we have enough with Chris Stainton.
What he needs is a good rhythm guitarist (think George Terry) who doesn’t want to be a solo artist (think Doyle), can play competently (George again) and not too loudly (think Tim Renwick). Also no C&W (Albert Lee). But, as ever, Eric tries his hardest and for a guy in his mid 60’s, can still pull out great playing. Will I see him any more? You betcha’.
Review by Yvonne Mullen / Penn, Bucks
I have just returned from attending the 1st and 2nd night concerts at the wonderful RAH. This is now my 20th year of seeing Eric at the hall, and it was interesting to read some of the derogatory comments from the first show. Each show obviously differs from night to night, I always feel that the first show he is testing the water. The audience on the second night were so much more with him and there was a great atmosphere in the hall and Eric sensed this. The highlight for me was ‘Old Love’, the solo was sublime. As Eric has said in the RAH programme, much will probably change in the course of the year in terms of content. With his huge back catalogue I’m sure there will be alot of changes in the set list, just to keep us on our toes.