Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Eric Clapton Concert Report

Last night Judith and I went to the Eric Clapton concert at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. This is the third time I've seen him live and Clapton still rocks.

The lights went down a few minutes before 7:30 (imagine that, a rock concert starting on time) and the Robert Cray Band came on for the opening set. Robert Cray is a well-known, excellent blues guitarist and singer, and was warmly received by the crowd. Cray has written a couple of songs for Clapton, e.g., Old Love on Journeyman, and played on Journeyman and From the Cradle (he may have played on other Clapton albums but I'm not sure). Cray played about half dozen songs.

After Cray left the stage there was a 10 – 15 minute break while the roadies redid things for Clapton and his band, who came on stage a little before 8:30.

Clapton led off with Pretending and I Shot the Sherriff, then dove into some deep cuts like Got to Get Better in a Little While, and Anyday. He did a few acoustic numbers including Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out, and Living on Faith. Cray joined Clapton's band on stage to play Old Love, something I'd be hoping for. Towards the end of the main set he played Layla and Cocaine. There's a full set list here.

For the encore, Cray again joined Clapton and band on stage for a neat version of Crossroads, in which he sung the first verse.

Throughout the show Clapton's playing was top-notch, starting with his first solo. His singing was good, but the guys handling the sound mixing had everything cranked up so loud that except for the sit-down set he sounded distorted.

Clapton's band was interesting. Overall they were really tight. Aside from him, he had Willie Weeks on bass, Steve Jordan on drums, guitarists Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks, pianist Chris Stainton, Tim Carmon on Keyboards, along with Michelle John and Sharon Weeks singing backup. I was very impressed with Bramhall, Trucks, Weeks and Stainton. Jordan is quite competent but I'm not a fan of his style, and while Carmon's good I thought his solos were a bit over-long.

As a side note, Bramhall is the son of Texas bluesman Doyle Bramhall and previously played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Derek Trucks' uncle is Butch Trucks, one of the two drummers in the Allman Brothers Band; the influence of Duane Allman is readily apparent in his playing. Derek has actually played with Allmans on recent albums.

I'd hope to hear more Cream songs, especially Sunshine of Your Love and White Room. One thing I disliked was how loud the show was. It may have been where we sat but last night's show was even louder than The Who a couple of weeks ago in the same venue (and that's saying something). Aside from being uncomfortable sometimes, it distorted the vocals.

Volume aside, I really enjoyed the show.

No comments: