Venue: Madison Square Garden
City: New York
Country: United States
Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Nathan East – bass
Sonny Emory – drums
Doyle Bramhall – guitar
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Paul Carrack – organ / keyboards
Sharon White – vocals
Sharlotte Gibson – vocals
Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr.
Concert announced Friday, March 9, 2018.
Review by Ricardo Marques
It was a perfect night. I traveled from Brazil to see this show and it was like a dream come true.
The band is amazing and Clapton still rules. The improvise in I Shot The Sheriff blew my mind! At the beginning of the show the sound was a great volume and was getting louder and more incredible until the end. Worth every second!
God bless Clapton!
Review by Claudia Claxton
The show was outstanding on every level! The ensemble of musicians were very tight and seemed to thoroughly be enjoying themselves — their energy was palpable. Everyone of them was a “star” in their own right. Clapton was relaxed, engaging and spectacular on the guitar. Versions of older songs were modified (Layla, Cocaine, I Shot the Sheriff) and his voice resonated beautifully.
Physically, he seemed stronger than in prior years. All in all, a 10+!!! I can’t wait for Tour 2019!!!
Review by Yvonne Wallace
In recent years saw EC in 2014 Glasgow, in 2015 RAH and 29-6 MSG. This show was amazing – the usual set list but the performance was scorching extended solos like EC desperate to play – one on the best concerts.
Review by Peter LaMorda
I first saw Eric Clapton in 1985 the behind the sun tour at the Hartford civic center in Hartford, Ct. I was 16 years old. 33 years later I made the trip from Vermont to NYC to see him at MSG. I had seats behind and to the right of the stage. The sound was perfect from where I sat. It was one of the happiest moments of my life to sit there listening and watching him. I’ve been thinking about the show (Oct 7) and how lucky I was to get to see him again. If I could choose any musician to see throughout history it’s Eric Clapton!
Review by Kenn Beckwith
Where do I start? A lifetime of listening to Clapton and I finally get to attend a concert. At 61 years old, he truly has been a major part of my life’s soundtrack.
He did not disappoint. Played a lot of my favorites. His playing and singing remains solid. His band, of course, is exceptional. Bramhall is amazing … the keys of Stainton and Carrack (plus Paul’s singing on ‘high time’) … Nathan East did not get enough camera time, but hey, that’s just a fellow bassist talking! Sonny’s drumming was off the charts… All made complete with great backup singers!
Complaints? None, other than I did not want it to end.
Oh yeah, on more thing: Gary Clark Jr. Is the real deal!
Review by Pete Frame
My wife & I travelled from Montreal for both nights at Madison Square Garden, as we did for one of the MSG shows last year and for two Royal Albert Hall nights in 2015. These concerts in New York were my 20th and 21st EC shows since 1974. It’s always a privilege to be in the same room with the great Eric Clapton and this time was no different.
Although it remains the same, I love the opening section with the JJ Cale cover Somebody Knocking then Key To The Highway, Hoochie Coochie Man and I Shot The Sheriff. Every single time, it’s a thrill to watch Eric lean back eyes closed and soar during Sheriff. Chairs were then brought out for the acoustic set. I do wish he would add a fifth song before moving on to the sit-down set which I think comes too early in the show now.
Excellent versions of Driftin’ and my favorite, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out were played on a beautiful custom Martin acoustic guitar. The big screens on either side of the stage showed extended close-ups of the intricate finger work. The MSG crowd really showed their appreciation, especially for Layla. Personally I think Eric should drop the acoustic version and go back to a full electric rendition, perhaps as one of the show closers or as an encore. When it was his turn to solo, Doyle Bramhall on his big semi-hollow Heritage did sneak in the famous lick a few times which was nice to hear. A moving Tears In Heaven closed off the acoustic set.
Next up was White Room, a highlight of the concert for us, with a big light show and some fine wah-wah work by both Eric & Doyle. Wonderful Tonight is our wedding song so my wife and I always enjoy that one no matter how many times we hear it. Crossroads picked up the pace once again with Eric taking the first solo, then Chris Stainton, then Paul Carrack. When Doyle got to the end of his solo, EC nodded at him to take another run which he did without missing a beat. The band is tight and loose at the same time, everyone is always watching the boss. When Eric was done playing the last extended Crossroads solo, he turned slightly towards drummer Sonny Emory signalling the end.
Next up was Queen of Spades. Despite the blazing solos Eric delivers in this tune, this is where I would like to see him mix it up a bit. Every time I’ve seen him play it, not many people seem to recognize this slow Robert Johnson number and the bathroom breaks start. Several EC classics could easily fill this spot – no disrespect to RJ.
The great Nathan East got a soulful groove going next and the crowd roared when they recognized Cocaine. Solos all around once again beginning with Eric, then Doyle who got a big smile from his boss, then Paul and over to Chris for the big finale with an incredible run from the bottom notes to the high ones of his keyboard. As usual, the crowd sang the last ‘Cocaine!’. Eric took off his guitar and waved to the audience, spoke a bit with Doyle, patted Nathan on the shoulder then walked off the stage.
While the crowd was cheering for more, a pair of small amps were brought on stage next to Nathan. Gary Clark Jr and Jimmie Vaughan joined the rest of the band for a rousing version of High Time We Went sung by Paul Carrack. This is another slot in my opinion that could easily be filled by one of countless Clapton gems. Once again, everyone took a solo including GCJr & JV. When it was all over, EC waved once to the audience and disappeared into the shadows.
A great performance but I have to say we were disappointed that the setlist was pretty much the same one he’s been doing for three years now. Since it was played recently in Europe, I was hoping for Got To Get Better In A Little While but no luck. Still, we had a wonderful time and another Clapton show coming up the next day. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Review by Carol Tramatulo
Been a fan of Slowhand forever. He did not disappoint at MSG. Loved being there & watching him sing & play his guitar.
Review by Debbie Hartstein
I have seen Eric in concert at least 10 times. Last nights concert was the best one yet. I loved the set list! I could have used one more upbeat song in the finale.
Review by Bob Ebert
This was a memorable show, thanks for playing on. Flawless and perfection, you are a classic that makes it look effortless. Great sound, lighting and musicians. Only complaint, a few more encores would have been great. Eric is a true inspiration to anyone in the musical world.
Review by Cathy Danielson
I received a ticket to Eric Clapton’s concert as a birthday gift . I attended with my son. The concert was fabulous! I enjoyed every minute! Jimmie Vaughn and Gary Clark Jr were also wonderful. Just a perfect evening!
Review by David Hennigar
The stand out songs of the evening were Sheriff, White Room, and Little Queen of Spades. In addition, Doyle Bramhall II’s solo on Layla deserves special mention for its homage to the original version of the song. Also, EC played most of Sheriff fingerstyle, switching to a pick partway through the outro solo.
Review by Terry Sturchio
First of all, huge thank you to my wife for making a 30 year dream a reality for my birthday. Being at Madison Square Garden made it even more epic. Worth the trip from Kansas. Been a long time since he played near us and I never could capitalize on the opportunity.
I have been a fan of the Vaughan brothers since the mid 80’s. I can’t imagine Texas blues without thinking of Jimmy and Stevie. Jimmy was a little rough to start, but quickly warmed up. My wife and I really enjoyed his new instrumental tune. It had a jazz feel with that signature Texas blues style infused. I can’t find it to purchase in I-tunes though. We were also impressed with his behind the back showmanship. At his age, he could just skip this in his show, but he obviously likes to entertain. His Stevie tribute was fantastic and you can hear for certain the influence he had on his little brother.
Next was Gary Clark Jr. and I have to admit I had never heard him before. This guy was like listening to Hendrix, SRV, and Lenny Kravitz all rolled up into one unique package. As good as his recorded tracks sound, you have to see Gary live to fully appreciate the energy he brings. It’s just cranked up a little more and he really shines on stage.
Clapton took the stage in front of an eager and excited crowd. The sound in Madison Square Garden was excellent. Almost as if they have this down to a science;). I never tire of hearing him play the classic blues tunes. The acoustic version of Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out was a real treat for me.
I’ve heard him play Layla on acoustic a dozen different ways and this time the intro seemed to be a slightly different arrangement. His acoustic work seems as effortless as any of his playing. I could watch the close-ups of the fretwork on the video screens all day. It’s almost hypnotizing.
Clapton still sounds fantastic. He played many of my favorites. His show could not be long enough to play them all. He continues to surround himself with the best musicians. Always one to have his friends join him on stage and give them the spotlight. Clapton is a man of very few words but has a humble and gracious air about him. My wife just said she wished he would smile more. He has a genuine smile when he is watching his friends strut their stuff. He obviously appreciates the talent they bring to the stage.
His live performance is even better than I had imagined. I smiled the entire show. An outstanding performance and an experience I will never forget.