Venue: Royal Albert Hall
City: South Kensington, London
Country: United Kingdom
Doyle Bramhall II
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar
Key To The Highway
Hoochie Coochie Man
I Shot The Sheriff
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
Tears In Heaven
Little Queen Of Spades – with Doyle Bramhall II
Cocaine – with Doyle Bramhall II
High Time We Went (Encore) – with Doyle Bramhall II
The Where’s Eric! Review / Tony Edser, Editor
With the images of Eric returning home from LA in a wheelchair, having cancelled 2 shows in March due to ill health, still fresh in the mind, we should be mighty grateful that he could make these RAH appearances at all. But here he is, thankfully, seemingly back to fitness, a little leaner perhaps and in good spirits,reprising much of the set list that has become staple “Eric at 70” fayre.
Soloing is a tad more economic these days but nobody has the tone and melody that Eric is able to extract from his guitar whilst his voice just keeps on getting stronger. Two of the oldest songs from his recording career, Badge and Crossroads, highlight this perfectly. There are plenty of opportunities for his A list band to take their turn in the spotlight too and the bonhomie among them all is plain to see.
Doyle Bramhall opened up the evening with a tight and talented 4 piece featuring several numbers from the excellent Rich Man album and also came out to add additional lead on the last 3 Eric songs.
Review by Ed Oh / Stockholm, Sweden
It was another emotional pilgrimage for me to the Hall that started at 11 AM and ended at 11:15 PM. Such an enjoyable and memorable experience each and every time!
I sat in Arena D, Row 22, Seat 23. Eric’s tone was great and crunchier than the usual which I crave for more! The acoustic tone was superb and unusually edgy, perfect for his finger picking especially on Driftin’.
Eric’s singing was also emotionally charged and edgy (Highlight on BADGE chorus!) although he didn’t sing all the lines. And every fan knows how great his singing has evolved and how good it is!
He’s now taking his time with his solo’s and changing things up to communicate his authoritative and signature expressions. Like he did tonight on Badge. No chorus pedal but instead viscerally interjecting licks. Eric wrote it himself in the 2015 tour literature about how he would be clumsy with fingers but still would enjoy and love performing! Truest to his statement, he’s the Godfather.
Steve Gadd threw down some serious crescendoing beats for Hoochie Coochie Man. Those of you who’ve met him know Dr. Gadd is not a big guy but he’s got so much power and energy! And he’s also 72!
Nathan East played a cool and different intro licks to Cocaine which was a delight. And he’s smiling face and “I-got-your-back” presence on the stage is always a treat to watch!
Chris Stainton was on fire tonight! He covered more than usual instrumental parts, such as synths on Tears in Heaven. His now a signature 7-octave encompassing thunderous finale solo on Cocaine was kicked off by Eric’s “kill it!” cue with a throat-slitting gesture!!!
Nobody Knows You was played before Layla by Eric directing the band of the switch at the end of Driftin’.
Doyle’s opening set was very enjoyable and he played some great solos!
I was smiling throughout the entire concert and can’t wait for the Thursday night’s show! Thanks a lot to everyone who made the show possible and all the fans!
Review by Salvatore De Paola / Teggiano (SA), Italy
It was my first time at an EC concert and at the RAH too. It was beautiful, I’m still excited. I was worried about his illness so I thought he could not play well, but it was great. My question is: if at 72 years it still sounds so, I cannot imagine a few years ago what to do … inhuman. Thank you so much Eric for give me a dream come true. See you soon… I hope it!
Review by Paul Henderson / Westminster, London
(a veteran of over 50 Clapton concerts around Europe)
Eric Clapton is quite possibly God. At the very least Eric Clapton is a living legend. Eric Clapton has been my idol for the past 35 years and that will never change. However there is a but….
At 72 years old, the Eric Clapton that rocks up for this latest residency at the Royal Albert is in truth, a shadow of the Clapton of years gone by. The set list is short, painfully predictable and plain lazy, but I guess it easily navigated around after a few more months of (semi) retirement.
Eric Clapton is a part-time musician now and it does shows. Despite his recent fitness, his singing is still strong and in my opinion stronger than his playing. That’s not to say that his playing is poor, it’s just it doesn’t really catch fire anymore. But the self confessed lazy Clapton is such a competent guitarist, that understated and chilled in first gear is more than enough for the masses.
I’ve always felt that between 1989 and 1999 Clapton was at the height of his powers, with a maturity, confidence and of course sobriety that was missing prior. My fondest memories will always be from that glorious decade and my ‘go to’ playlist on YouTube is made up of performances and tours from all over the World during that 10 year era.
But back to 2017 and in brief, a bit like the show. From the 3rd row of the Arena floor I’ll just report that the gig was very professional, if not ridiculously short at just 14 songs (EC dropped Bell Bottom Blues) but EC was very well received by the warm and familiar RAH crowd. The encore of ‘High Time We Went’ should be sung by Clapton, why it’s given to Carrack amazes me… it’s a Clapton gig!!!
So, the impression I’m left with is that Eric doesn’t play these concerts for his fans and I’m basically left feeling that he’s either topping up his pension or just feeding his ego. This will be the last time I go to see Clapton live so I’d like to say ‘Thank you Eric’. It’s a cliche but your music has been the soundtrack to my teenage and adult life getting me through both troubled and happy days. God bless ya.
Review by Kenneth Duffin
Monday night was a good show, with a lovely version of Bell Bottom Blues on acoustic guitar. However there were a couple of errors, ie a pause in Little Queen Of Spades when Doyle’s solo ended but nobody seemed to know what to do next.
Wednesday was also good, however Eric seemed a bit tired, especially towards the end of the night. Eric also seemed to decide at the last moment not to play Bell Bottom Blues.
Thursday, though, was a magnificent show, Everybody had more energy and the Solo’s in Sheriff, Badge, Crossroads & Little Queen were brilliant. The crowd was much more responsive as well, with singing during Nobody Knows You and Wonderful Tonight. Then to crown off a brilliant show Eric played one of the best versions of Sunshine Of Your Love I’ve seen for a long time.
Eric also made a short announcement regarding it appearing that he had spent his life growing up at the RAH.
I hope this will not be he last, but if so he went out with a bang!