Venue: U.S. Airways Center
Country: United States
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar
Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar
Chris Stainton – piano, keyboards
Paul Carrack – organ, keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Opening date of Eric Clapton’s 2013 U.S. Tour and first date of his world tour celebrating his 50th Anniversary as a professional musician.
01. Hello Old Friend
02. My Father’s Eyes
03. Tell The Truth
04. Got To Get Over
05. Black Cat Bone
06. Got To Get Better
07. Tempted (Paul Carrack)
08. I Shot The Sheriff
10. Nobody Knows You
11. Tears In Heaven
12. Goodnight Irene
13. Wonderful Tonight
14. How Long (Paul Carrack)
15. Stones In My Passway
16. Love In Vain
18. Little Queen of Spades
21. Sunshine Of Your Love
22. High Time We Went (Paul Carrack)
Review by Scott Pierce / Albuquerque NM
SPECTACULAR!!!! What an amazing show. These guys are so tight it was just…WOW. I didn’t write down the set list so I can only give you what I remember. He led off with his acoustic guitar and started the night with a heartfelt “Hello Old Friend” with the rear stage lights flashing on the audience during the chorus. Next I believe was “My Fathers Eyes”. Then I was so immersed in the show I cant remember the order of anything else really but Paul Carrack did a fantastic rendition of 2 songs he is well known for “Tempted” and “How Long?” Other songs were: I Shot the Sheriff, Cocaine, Tears in Heaven, Layla, Black Cat Bone, Crossroads and a couple of other Robert Johnson tunes ( I’m embarrassed to say I can’t remember the titles of) Wonderful Tonight, Irene and some others I’m sure I forgot and was too engrossed really to take notes. His encore was a rousing version of “Sunshine of Your Love” that had everyone on their feet singing along to the chorus. I have seen a lot of live shows over a 35 year span (I used to work concert security, promotions and attend shows) and I had never seen Clapton live but this is by far the most professional tight group of musicians I have ever seen. 5 Stars! The man says he will quit touring when he turns 70…time is a waste’n….go see him you’ll be glad you did. The guy is a legend!
Review by Ron Wilhelm
I have been to many Clapton concerts and it is always nice to hear some song variations. This show started with opening song Hello Old Friend – haven’t heard that live before. Very nice. For a Clapton guitar fan the checklist is all there: slide guitar, acoustic finger picking, wah wah, lean back extended solos. Specific highlights for me Tell the truth, I Shot the Sheriff with extended solo and back to back to back Robert Johnson tunes: Stones In My Passway, Love In Vain and Crossroads. Other highlights and surprises:Paul Carrack singing the old Squeeze hit Tempted, and the even older How long (has this been going on). Great encores with Sunshine of Your Love with Steve Jordan’s work on the drums and finally with Carrack singing High Time We Went, Clapton on guitar fills and Jordan again providing the killer drums. Very nice to hear some different songs. In all a great great show.
Review by Donna C.
I am 64 years old and have been in love with EC since FOREVER!!!! I have seen him 4 times and I did not think he could get any better. This is the best he has done in all the years he has toured. Everything about him during the Phoenix concert took me back to when he was with the Dominos, Cream, and his blues era. His voice was perfect, his stamina was that of a 25-30 year old, the songs were awesome, his overall performance was AAA+. For some reason, I got the feeling that this was his last tour because he gave us so much and his concentration was so deep, like he wanted to leave us with his best, and he definitely did. I still get goosebumps thinking about the show because of his performance. There are no sufficient words to describe him and how I feel about seeing him. I feel blessed that I was one of the lucky ones to see him.
Review by Nicholas Davis / Phoenix, AZ
This was my 10th EC concert and it was as great as the others! Lots of blues, acoustics and long time favorites! Goodnight Irene was fun as were the Squeeze songs from Paul with Eric giving up the center stage.. The supporting cast is really tight and they seemed to jell more and more as the songs rolled off. If you go you won’t be disappointed as there is enough variety in the play list to satisfy!
Review by Chuck Veltri / Goodyear, AZ
Saw Eric Clapton last night (March 14) in Phoenix and this was my first Clapton concert. I have attended shows for over 45 years, including the Dead, Stones, Seger, Rod Stewart, Kiss, Aerosmith and NEVER have I been this moved by a concert. Eric Clapton is God! His work on the guitar is beyond mortal – the way his guitars talk is mind-boggling. The backing by Doyle Bramhall II was the most pleasant surprise of the night, but the drumming by Steve Jordan was hard-edged and maniacal at times. The steel guitar, electric mandolin and slide guitars were the perfect compliment to Clapton’s vocals. His voice is as good now as it was 50 years ago – his energy and stage presence are overwhelming. The choice of songs was a great mix of new, old, classic and unplugged and set the mood for one of the best nights I have ever spent at a concert. His show started on time and went for over two hours and the energy never lagged. People around me were mesmerized and overwhelmed by what we were seeing. Best concert EVER!!
Review by John Stone
What a last night to finish off my Phoenix vacation! This was the first time I have seen Eric Clapton and his band live. A tight, enjoyable performance throughout. Of course, it is impossible for him to play every song from his illustrious career, but I felt the song selection was very representative of his 50 years as a professional musician. No gimmicks or flash, Eric and his band just let the music do the talking throughout the entire evening. I also thought it was very classy of Eric to include two well-known Paul Carrack contributions (‘Tempted’ and ‘How Long’).
Review by Rich Shaw
The first two songs, Eric was on acoustic while the rest of the band were playing their regular instruments. Eric then strapped on his black and white Strat for the next six songs. Highlights in this section included Doyle Bramhall II sharing the vocals and alternating leads with Eric on Tell The Truth, the entire band settling into a very nice tight groove on Got To Get Better In A Little While with Eric doing wah wah, and Eric’s superb lead on I Shot the Sheriff. At this point the crowd was really rocking and showing boisterous support for the band. Then from Driftin’ Blues through Crossroads Eric played his black acoustic while he, Doyle, Greg Leisz, and the girls sat in chairs. Greg played a bit of banjo in this section. The crowd gave a HUGE ovation after Tears in Heaven (as usual). Doyle took a really nice turn on his acoustic during Crossroads. Eric then strapped on the Strat again and started playing Little Queen of Spades. He played it in a very similar style as he has been over the last few years and it was a big highlight for me. It lasted about 12 – 13 minutes. I love his version of that song and he hit every bluesy note perfectly. After that came Layla. From Eric’s opening salvo to the last notes of the piano, it was like we were back in 1970 in the studio with the Dominos. The second half of the song featured Eric, Doyle, and the pedal steel (Greg) playing their hearts out on simultaneous leads, without stepping all over each other too much. There may have been a couple of rough spots in there but I think the band will have that perfected as they move through the tour. All in all it was a god-like performance of the song and the crowd certainly let them know it, and we stayed on our feet throughout the next song, Cocaine. The band then left the stage as the crowd roared with pleasure, returning a few minutes later with a rousing rendition of Sunshine of Your Love followed by High Time We Went on which they all rocked it hard. The drummer – Steve Jordan – was fantastic here and really seemed to be enjoying himself. The band left the stage for good to a deafening roar and a very appreciative crowd. To me it seemed there were just a few minor rough spots as one might expect for an opening night; one came after Layla (I think) when there was a fireworks effect, a loud boom and a bright flash, that didn’t seem to fit. Another came at the end of Got to Get Over when there was some minor confusion on the ending notes, and then during Sunshine when it seemed Eric was late on singing the chorus. But it didn’t matter because at that point the crowd had pretty much taken over the vocals anyway. This brought a huge grin to Eric’s face. Great, great show and I am so glad I got to see it.
Review by Ken Simpson
22 Songs! EC took stage at about 8:40 pm. Wow!
Hello Old Friend – Eric starts tune standing with Martin acoustic, band joins in. What an awesome suprise to open the tour opener! I don’t think he’s played it live since 1976. Really great!
My Father’s Eyes – Eric on acoustic, rest of band joins in for a reggae arrangement. Doyle on outro electric solo if I recall correctly. Another pleasant suprise as I thought EC “retired” the tune after the Japan Just For You Tour in 2003. I don’t know that he’s played it on electric since the early 90s anyway.
Tell the Truth – Same arrangement as the recent live arrangements (Doyle on slide and Greg on lap steel)
Gotta Get Over – Cool riffs by EC, backing vocals were a little loud, but the so were Chaka Khan vocals on the Old Sock version.
Black Cat Bone – Introduced as a tribute to Robert Johnson (or did he I mishear him-I think it’s an Albert Collins tune) so I’m not sure.
Got to Get Better in a Little While – Great version with Eric on Wah-wah.
Tempted (Paul Carrack on Vocals) – Standard reading but Paul’s vocals were very strong. Doesn’t sound like his voice has lost a step at all. Eric played rhythm on electric.
I Shot the Sheriff – Good Vocals by Eric, pretty standard live arrangement for Eric. The outro solo was great as usual but he could have stretched it out a bit more.
Driftin’ – Eric played the black Martin (Bellezza Nera) acoustic for this sit-down acoustic set. Standard EC acoustic arrangement.
Nobody Kows You When You’re Down and Out – Standard EC acoustic arrangement.
Tears in Heaven (Reggae Beat) – Also thought this tune, like My Father’s Eyes, was retired. Suprising but tasteful arrangement.
Goodnight Irene – This Ledbelly song appears on Old Sock. Acoustic version; not a fan of the song anyway, so it was just ok to me. People seemed to take a bathroom/beer break when the vocals came in.
Wonderful Tonight – The casual fans that used Goodnight Irene as a beer break were probably disappointed to miss this one, but the hard core fans like those reading this review probably stuck around for Irene and were rewarded with the obligatory Wonderful Tonight, so that was kind of ironic. Eric on black Martin acoustic again, but the main riff was there and played by Doyle and Greg (lap steel) simultaneously. The arrangement was different, had a bit of a reggae beat, hard to describe.
Back to electric songs:
How Long (Paul Carrack on Vocals) – Again, strong vocals, Eric played nice electric solo on Strat.
Robert Johnson Section:
Stones in My Passway – This is another rare one, appears on the DVD of Sessions for Robert J. from 2004 or 2005 but he played his white Martin acoustic. Last night it was played on his strat with full band.
Love in Vain – Electric
Crossroads – Rockin’ version, great solos on strat! Steve Jordan and Willie Weeks killed it!
Little Queen of Spades – Went immediately into this slow blues after Crossroads. Extended solos by several band members including Doyle and Eric of course. Doyle’s strongest solo of the night.
Layla (original electric arrangement) – I (like most people) were relieved to hear the original rockin’ arragement. Strong, emotional solo by Clapton at end of main section. The instrumental coda was actually quite a bit of mess. The levels (especially Doyle’s slide and Greg’s lap steel) were way too low in the mix and the band actually seemed a bit lost overall due to the sound mix. Michelle and Sharon (the backing vocalists)) actually salvaged that section by singing the riff midway through the section. Eric didn’t really solo as he left that to Greg and Doyle but it was a let-down. However, I didn’t go to this show to hear Layla anyway since I’ve heard it live many times, but I was still happy to hear the original arrangement.
Cocaine – After a strong and forcefull drum part ended Layla, the band went to Cocaine. It wasn’t the immediate “flow” into Cocaine and I personally prefer the way they did the two songs last night. I just feel that Layla is a great song to forecfully conclude and going directly into Cocaine without the concluding chords of the Layla coda, kind of water-down Layla. So I was happy that he did not immediately go into Cocaine last night.
Sunshine of Your Love – After about 4-5 minutes of cheering, Eric and Co. returned t the stage for this classic. Doyle struggled quite a bit with the high notes which he was assigned to sing and put his finger to his ear each time. The length (2 and 1/2 hours) and volume of the concert may have worn him down by this point. This tune, like Layla, will definitely improve by Tuesday night (the next show on the tour). Despite the band’s difficulties with Sunshine and particularly Layla, the number of pleasant suprises and overall high quality of the performance by each musician, this was terrific show and I believe will be one of the most memorable ones I’ve attended. The band, especially Eric, seemed to have a lot of fun. Eric smiled regularly, although he was his usual non-chatty self in between songs. But even when EC and Doyle flubbed some of the vocal exchanges on Sunshine, Eric had fun with it and smiled at Doyle, almost laughing. In his 50th year of live performing (and a very long show last night) Eric has earned the right to laugh at himself after his still only occasional vocal flubs, in fact it is great to see such a legendary artist and terrific musician still have the ability to be self-affacing and human, even in front of a full house at an Arena concert.
High Time We Went (Paul Carrack on Vocals) – After Sunshine, the band went into this song, performed in the past by Joe Cocker, with Paul on lead vocals and Eric joining in on backing vocals. Sadly, when Eric started joining in on the backing vocals, it was clear that this (not an EC song or even one with him on lead vocals) fun tune, marked the end of the night at about 10:50 pm. Wondeful and exciting show, I was very blessed to have the opportunity to attend this and so many of Eric’s shows over the years. What a great treasure EC’s music continues to be to. Thanks for 50 years, Eric!
Review by Mike D / California
I enjoy your site and just wanted to send a note with regards to Thursday’s show in Phoenix. EC opened on acoustic for “Hello Old Friend” and “My Father’s Eyes”, then switched to electric for “Tell the Truth”. Acoustic set started with “Driftin'”, for a 5 song set, and included “Wonderful Tonight”. Then back to electric for remainder of show. Really enjoyed the show…welcomed the return of Doyle Bramhall II on guitar and enjoyed the addition of Greg Leisz on the pedal steel. Rest of the band was awesome as usual. Really nice to hear Layla on electric again, unlike the 2011 tour stop in LA. Could have done without indulging Paul Carrick for his 2 songs; (went to see EC and all of a sudden found myself in a Squeeze concert…and then “How Long”…really?)…maybe that’s a nod to the UK fans. Oh well…small price to pay for seeing one of the all time greats in his 50th year of touring.
Review by Eric Hjorting
I saw Clapton in Phoenix with my wife and good friends from Portland Oregon, who flew in for the show. We all had an amazing evening. As a music lover and home guitar player, this show blew me away. I had goose bumps all through the show. Clapton and his amazing friends were so tight as a band, sounded fantastic, brought tears to my eyes, and made my face contort into a hundred expressions. As soon as it was over, I started thinking of where I could buy tickets to see the next show. Thank you so much for playing in Phoenix.