Venue: Royal Albert Hall
City: South Kensington, London
Country: United Kingdom
Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar, vocals
Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar, mandolin
Chris Stainton – piano, keyboards
Paul Carrack – organ, keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Gary Clark, Jr.
Gary Clark, Jr. *
01. Hello Old Friend
02. My Fathers Eyes
03. Tell The Truth
04. Gotta Get Over
05. Black Cat Bone
06. Got To Get Better In A Little While
07. Come Rain Or Come Shine (EC & Paul Carrack – vocals)
08. I Shot The Sheriff
09. Driftin’ Blues
10. Further On Down The Road
12. It Ain’t Easy (Paul Carrack – vocals)
13. Wonderful Tonight
14. Blues Power
15. Love In Vain
17. Little Queen Of Spades
19. Sunshine Of Your Love (enocre)*
20. High Time We Went (encore)*
Review by Paul H / South London
As an annual visitor to the RAH gigs since 1989, I’ve seen and reported on my fair share of Clapton gigs over the years. Tonight was gig 5 of 7 in Eric’s royal front room and to be fair was a really good one. The main man’s playing was full of energy and his vocals as strong as ever. The first part of the show was in my opinion perhaps the best part with numerous highlights and an energy and consistency lacking on recent tours. Got To Get Better In A Little While and Sheriff both featured fierce solos and Clapton seemed fresh and pleased to be there.
I have to admit to losing some interest during the sit-down part of the set however. Driftin’ Blues lost something in its new semi-acoustic format whilst Layla and Wonderful Tonight just seem tired out and lazy, although to be fair the RAH crowd went crazy for both.
The last third of the show was very solid with more stellar playing from all the band. Although to me, Cocaine is another song that now seems to be an exhausted number in need of a rest but yet again, a huge crowd favourite. Good solos again on Crossroads and Queen of Spades but not quite the ending such a strong start had promised. For me, the set list would of been more enjoyable if reduced by 30 minutes allowing EC to go for broke.
So, another year at the RAH goes by, with this reader giving tonights show a very respectable 7 out of 10.
Review by Margaret Ann Henden
I travelled from the South of France to see Eric once more. Saw him last 2 years ago with Steve Winwood which I enjoyed immensely. However, I felt this last show was fantastic especially as he seemed to have changed the tempo and arrangements on many of the songs. Really enjoyable and I texted my son who lives in Zurich to say he missed a wonderful show – he was the first person to introduce me to Eric’s music in the early 80’s. What a wonderful musician and we are truly lucky that he is still performing. Also thought Doyle Bramhall was an excellent inclusion.
Review by Deborah Bates
Well, what a night… Eric was simply phenomenal. Doyle took the main solos and licks on the first three songs, which I have to admit left me a little panicked that EC wouldn’t pick up a solo for the show. I should have known better than to worry though, because as soon as he warmed up, EC’s performance was beyond words and slick; slipping from song to song with his signature “Thank you!” and no sign of feeling tired whatsoever. Highlights for me included the quicker, softer version of My Father’s Eyes, the opening Hello Old Friend (which I never thought I would see live), the mind-blowing licks on Got to Get Better in a Little While and the succinct yet gorgeous Driftin’. Steve Jordan’s work on Got to get Better… was absolutely amazing – what a talent! In fact, EC really has assembled a world-class band of musicians who wouldn’t look out of place on their own respective tours. The addition of Paul Carrack in particular was a stroke of genius – especially enjoyed his and EC’s version of Come Rain or Come Shine. EC obviously really treasures Doyle, too; allowing him several opportunities to crank up the guitar for a solo. No-one will ever replace EC, but Doyle is certainly learning well from him – as is Gary Clarke Jr, who joined EC for the encore on Sunshine of your Love. He’s a wonderful guitarist – probably beyond Doyle’s ability at this point in time. All in all, to all the reviewers who implied that EC has lost it, is leaning too much on the band or is simply past his time, get a grip! This was truly one of the best nights of my life and proof that the big man still has a lot left in him yet. He’s simply moving on to a different style of performing – one that I very much like.
Review by Afonso B / Portugal
It was the first time I saw Eric and I’ve came from Portugal just to see (and most important, to hear) him….and man, what a night. It was, perhaps, the greatest concert I’ve ever attended. Eric was in great form, happy, clearly enjoying the night with his mates. The solos of all songs were so extraordinary that if I had to comment every one of it, this review would have more than 4000 words!! But to pick someones, “I Shot The Sheriff”, “Got To Get Better” and “Gotta Get Over” were out of this world.
Then Eric played a “nearly-unplugged” version of “Driftin” (on a fantastic Gibson, I think) that was amazing. “Further On Down The Road” had a sense of “reggae feel” to the concert and it was great. Following these two songs, we had a superb “Layla”, a unique “Wonderful Tonight” and a spectacular “It Ain’t Easy”, with Paul Carrack on vocals. But Eric had to return to “basics”, I mean, to his Stratocaster: “Blues Power” blew the audience away with Eric’s solos that were out of this world. And then Eric returned to his “Cradle”: Robert Johnson’s blues songs. Starting with a fantastic “Love In Vain”, the RHA “went down” with a mind-blowing “Little Queen of Spades”, thanks to three solos: one of Eric, of course, and then Chris Stainton on piano (and what a solo he did!!) and Doyle Bramhall on the guitar. And to top it off, the hymn “Crossroads” came to life in an interpretation absolutely brilliant.
On the “encore” we had (another) mind-blowing interpretation: “Sunshine Of Your Love”, featuring Gary Clark Jr on the guitar! The concert ended with “High Time We Went”, and all of us could see that Eric was really happy to be there, with his mates, playing his “religion”. And it was no coincidence that to thank the audience he has called the whole band to the front of the stage and has made three bows of thanks! It was a superb night with a superb guitarist and a superb band! Definitely the best concert I’ve ever seen!
Review by Wendy and Mike Parkin / Peace River, Alberta
We travelled from Canada to see the great Eric Clapton play at one of the most legendary venues in the world. Neither were a disappointment. Gary Clark Jr. was a wonderful treat. After hearing his wonderful music before it was a great to finally see him live! Eric, Doyle and band were a dream come true. We were fortunate enough to be in the front row and enjoyed the superb talents but also the true camaraderie shared by the members of the band. The only thing that made it better was walking away with guitar picks from Eric and Doyle. A big Canadian Thank You!
Review by Hiroshi M
After the anticlimax of Birmingham and the triumph of Manchester, here I am back at the RAH, after seven years since 2006. The fifth night of the RAH was intense but relaxed as well. Eric enjoyed the performance himself and, while his playing was energetic and inspired, he let Doyle shine through on numbers like Blues Power, Crossroads and, in particular, Little Queen Of Spades.
Eric choose the semi-acoustic Gibson to play Driftin’, which gave tonight’s performance of the song a meatier sound than on the other nights. With the same guitar in hand, he moved on to play Further On Down The Road. It was the next song, It Ain’t Easy, that he picked up the navy blue Martin for the first time tonight, which is the main guitar for the sit-down set.
This is most likely to be among the better, if not the best, nights of this year’s residence at the RAH, as indicated by Eric’s incessant smiles on his face and the bowing three times from the band that concluded the show.