Venue: Toyota 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
Layla was dropped from the set list. Wonderful Tonight has moved to the seated portion of the set with EC on acoustic with Doyle and Greg playing the line.
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
20. Sunshine Of Your Love – encore
21. High Time We Went (Paul Carrack) – encore
Review by Nigel Brooks
Layla was dropped from this set. To my mind the sound mix was not really good, especially for the Wallflowers. I have a theory that perhaps this is done on purpose so the opening act doesn’t sound better than the top of the bil : ) Event video left much to be desired, I presume that these folks are hired locally but whoever was directing didn’t have a clue, some really sloppy cuts and fades. In one song the video panned from Doyle’s boots, up his legs to his face…weird.
I think a lot of folks were disappointed in some of Clapton’s selected songs. When he started Goodnight Irene, a whole flock of concert goers headed for the concessions or bathrooms. Perhaps they were expecting Claptons Greatest Hits, but it’s nice to see him in a position where he can play whatever he pleases.
The band were as usual simply great, and Paul Carrack was a very welcome addition, I just wish he were more well known over here and that he would tour the US.
Review by Jennifer / Texas
First time ever seeing Slowhand perform. Absolutely Amazing. After listening to Bob Dylan’s kid “pretend to sing”, Eric wowed us all with his skill and voice. Rude to hear the crowd “boo” over not hearing Layla. We got to hear Tears in Heaven, and it was obviously difficult for him to perform. Overall, an amazing show, and I’m incredibly glad I got to attend.
Review by Cheryl Donatto / Texas
I had the pleasure to attend the show last night (3/16/13) in Houston. The opening song of “Hello Old Friend” was a great choice. That’s exactly what I was thinking as EC took the stage. I had the feeling we were in for another great show. I was totally thrilled that he played two Derek & Domino songs (Tell The Truth and Got To Get Better). Just hearing those three songs already made for a memorable show.
The standards like “My Father’s Eyes”, “I Shot the Sheriff”, “Tears in Heaven”, “Wonderful Tonight” and “Crossroads” were just that – standard. Good, but no stand-out moments. I really enjoyed hearing the new song “Got To Get Over”, but I was hoping for some extra guitar work in there. I was also hoping to hear at least a couple more of the new tunes. I think “Angel” would have been nice. Or even “Further on Down the Road” or “Till Your Well Runs Dry”. But NO! We got “Goodnight Irene”. Total disappointment. The people around me were saying “That old song???” And when Paul Carrack was introduced they were saying “Who??” I’ve always enjoyed Paul Carrack’s work. But two of his songs? Either one would have been fine… and replace the other with one of the above mentioned new songs.
Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed all the Blues numbers. What EC fan wouldn’t be happy with a handful of Blues tunes mixed in among the favorites? For the encore, we got “Sunshine of Your Love” and yet another Carrack song. Okay, I can’t complain about another Carrack song thrown in… at least we got one more song!
My overall impression: I was a little disappointed with EC’s playing. Not once did I get those “chill bumps” from a guitar solo. (Actually the only time I felt inclined to stand up an whoop-it-up was for Chris Stainton’s solo). Doyle seemed to be more “on fire” and added some spark to EC’s playing. I kept thinking that I wasn’t getting those “chill bumps” because I have had the privilege of seeing him live lots of times? Had I become “immune”? Then, as I sat there, ecstatic to be at another EC show, I reminded myself to stop being so critical and stop complaining… just enjoy the show! Who knows if / when I’ll get to see him concert again?
The setlist…. Pretty darn good. Actually… great selection …minus “Goodnight Irene”.
For the casual fan, my cousin who accompanied me summed it up with her comment: “If only I get to hear ‘Cocaine’, I’ll be totally happy”. I’m glad she got her wish and didn’t leave her first Clapton show disappointed.
Oh yeah… one thing I noticed that I don’t recall EC doing before. There was a group to the left of the stage who were up on their feet grooving to a lot of the songs while most everyone else remained seated. At a couple points during the show, EC actually left the “magic carpet” and went over and played directly to them. Very cool, I thought. That’ll teach those old stuffed shirts for just sitting there! So… seasoned or casual fans… go see the show! EC still has the chops and his voice is in great form and you’ll hear some real gems from “the master”. Thanks Eric for another memorable show.
Review by David Strickland / Texas
Set list remained the same except he dropped Layla. Best action was little queen is spades when Doyle pushed Eric to his best playing of the night.
Review by Jimmy Trojanowski / Texas
Me and my neighbor Randy had the good fortune to attend the Clapton show on March 16th in Houston. We both had concerns Eric would not be spending enough time on the electric guitar since there is little on his new album, Old Sock. Out of the gate, Mr. Clapton was spending his first few songs with his favorite Martin acoustic. After a few songs he switched to a strat where it stayed for several songs. Slightly past halfway he took to his acoustic again for two or three songs. Seeing the set list from Phoenix, I was positive it was going to stay there but I was wrong. Even through the Robert Johnson songs late in the show, Eric stuck with his trademark strat as well as the encore. It was a great show and very well mixed. As far a vocals, it was as if they were all on a mission with Eric leading the way. Additionally it was the first time I had seen Doyle Bramhall II sing. Since Mr. Clapton seems to have had enough with airport molestation and will not be touring after his 70th birthday, this may be the last chance a lot of people may have to see him. I suggest you go see the guitar legend.
Review by Charlie Frausto
Show EC gave was almost perfect, except for leaving Layla off his set list. Really dug the blues section. You need to see him before he stops touring.
Review by Shirley Hunter
Great time. Great concert. Disappointing to end an Eric Clapton concert not on an Eric Clapton song. Enjoyed Paul Carrack but this is not his concert. Where is Layla? Eric still has it.
Review by Diane C
I am 57 and had always dreamed of in my lifetime to see Eric Clapton in concert. I drove 7 hours to Houston,Texas to fullfill my dream. The seat I could afford was a slight disappointment but, I was thrilled to be there.I enjoyed it and can now say I saw him. His old music is his best.T he biggest disapointment was that one of the songs that made him so big was left out. Where was LAYLA?
From Houston Culture Map / By Clifford Pugh, Jane Howze
Republished with permission.
What, no “Layla?” Eric Clapton still plays a mean guitar but concert leaves audience wanting more.
Midway through Eric Clapton’s 50th Anniversary Tour, which touched down at the Toyota Center Saturday night, not many in the decidedly older audience had stood up from their seats, even though warm applause greeted the fabled British singer/guitarist after each song. Oblivious to the fracas, Clapton continued his performance in the way he had all night. He was the consummate professional if not much of a showman. But when Clapton launched into “Wonderful Tonight,” a middle-aged couple two rows down from us couldn’t contain themselves. They jumped up and began slow dancing in the middle of their row, they bodies tightly intertwined as if they were reliving their youth when the song was first released in 1977.
The sight was apparently too much, as one person tossed a beverage at them and another middle-aged rocker complained loudly. A war of words ensued as friends stepped in to prevent a full-fledged brawl. A cop eventually was called to the section, one of the couples left and everything calmed down as Clapton’s band, coincidentally, played “How Long (Has This Been Going On?).”
It was the most exciting thing that happened the entire evening.
Oblivious to the fracas, which was far away from the stage, Clapton continued his performance in the way he had all night. He was the consummate professional if not much of a showman.
Other than “Good evening,” “Thank you,” and mumbling the names of his band members, the 67-year-old singer/guitarist hardly said anything throughout the nearly two-hour performance. Until he played and sang the Cream hit, “Crossroads” (the 17th song in the evening’s 21-song set), he didn’t move from the center of the stage — and then he only walked briefly to stage right a couple of times without acknowledging the audience.
After 50 years in the business, Clapton does not appear to feel the need to impress anyone in what might be one of his last large concert tours. (He said he plans to quit touring at age 70.) Unlike a Paul McCartney who winks, grins, and charms the socks off of everyone in an arena, Clapton has always preferred to let his guitar do the talking.
And, boy, can he still play a mean guitar.
On a stage in front of a simple black curtain backdrop, Clapton opened with a charmer, “Hello Old Friend,” from his 1976 album, No Reason to Cry, and then riffed and jammed through a host of bluesy tunes, including “Little Queen of Spades”(a 1937 song written by bluesman Robert Johnson and recorded by Clapton in 2004) and “Black Cat Bone,” from his just released album, Old Sock.
Throughout the evening, you got the feeling that Clapton would be just as happy jammin’ with his music pals in a small, smoky New Orleans joint rather than in a cavernous auditorium — or even in a room with no one else around at all. For him, it really is all about the music.
And the camera person flashing the images on the Jumbo screens around the vast arena seemed to agree, as close-ups of Clapton’s hand performing a particularly intricate riff on the guitar were continuously displayed in larger-than-life fashion.
In one of evening’s highlights, Clapton sat on a chair with an acoustic guitar in an extended set and simply played and sang a series of quiet songs — “Driftin’ Blues, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” the achingly beautiful “Tears In Heaven,” “Goodnight, Irene” (a great sing-along tune) and the previously mentioned “Wonderful Tonight.”
Not surprisingly, Clapton got the most applause for his greatest hits, including “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Cocaine,” which was the real high of the evening as most of the audience finally jumped up and danced. But many fans were shocked he didn’t perform “Layla,” considered one of rock music’s most definitive love songs. Clapton performed it to wild applause in Phoenix when he kicked off the tour a few days ago, but for some inexplicable reason omitted it from the Houston show.
Even so, if not overly demonstrative, the audience was appreciative and you could still feel the love for Clapton. It just seemed odd to leave a concert wanting more.
Review by Gary James
Wonderful show. We went to the Houston show and it was fantastic. I have seen him in many different places and he is still as good now as he every was. The band was keyed in perfectly. They were 100 percent professional showmen. Whomever has the opportunity to go will not be disappointed.