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Eric Clapton 2014 U.S. Tour - New Orleans, Memphis, Pelham and Atlanta Recap

Published // 04.May.14

Eric Clapton and His Band wowed a massive crowd of almost 60,000 during his headlining set at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival on April 27. It was the legendary guitarist's first appearance at the 45-year old festival. The concert also kicked off his four-date U.S. Tour, which wrapped May 3 in Atlanta. Dale M told WE! about the festival: "From the opening licks of “Somebody’s Knockin” to the encore, this first ever Jazz Fest show may have been the most solid I’ve seen from Slowhand in the 15+ concerts I have had the pleasure to attend since 1990. It took a few songs for the sound to be perfected, but by “Tell the Truth” all facets of the delta blues explosion EC and his all British band unleashed were in full display. Eric’s leads continued to improve as the show progressed with my favorite being during “Gin House”, sung by Andy Fairweather Low. EC’s ending 3 licks of that lead were a full octave above where he had just awed the crowd on his Fender Strat, and as a fellow 6-stringer it sounded absolutely untouchable! Those celestial points of Eric’s guitar perfection are the moments of every EC show I can’t wait to see & hear. I will not forget that one, Eric! Thank you kindly!"

New Orleans resident Ed F wrote, "Clapton’s getting better with age, incredible performance. His guitar skills were are more refined than ever but also seemed effortless and naturally easy.  Great selection of songs, with them all giving him a chance to show his talent. Crowd was fence to fence standing room only."

Eric's Jazz Fest set will be broadcast on North American cable channel AXS TV on Sunday, May 3 with repeat airings later in the day and on Monday, May 4. More information about the broadcast can be found here

From the Big Easy in Louisiana, Eric Clapton and His Band headed north to Memphis, Tennessee fo a concert on April 30. It was another strong show at the picturesque Mud Island Amphitheatre. The 5,000 seat venue is situated in a state park on a small island in the Mississippi River between Tennessee and Arkansas. Eric revised the set list from the Jazz Fest gig, swapping Before You Accuse Me for Gin House.

Stephen F sent in this review of the Memphis gig: "On a chilly night on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, Eric Clapton and his band braved the 48 degrees temperatures and put on a stellar show. Long coat flapping in the breeze, he blazed through the set with fire. The acoustic set was really a high point with its J.J. Cale hit Crazy Mama as well as such chestnuts as Drifting and Layla (which had a new tempo). The dual keyboard of Paul Carrack and Chris Stainton were really superb as the band gave Eric a pad to show off his chops. Carrack's classic Ace hit, How Long, was brilliant with Eric blistering a great lead break on it. The Robert Johnson blues of Crossroads, Stones In My Passway, and Little Queen Of Spades were all special moments. This was my 28th Clapton show and all have been special. He is a consummate musician and never fails to deliver quality music without pretense and pomp."

The next date on the itinerary was another picturesque venue, the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham, Alabama (near Birmingham) on May 2. Eric's printed set list had the option of Gin House or Before You Accuse Me for the 12th song. At this performance, he called an audible and performed "Wonderful Tonight" instead. Alex S reported, "Four days after tornadoes passed through the area in stifling humidity, Eric Clapton walked on stage wearing a trench coat (reminiscent of his Forever Man music video look) for the considerably cooler weather.  Removing his coat for a five-song acoustic set, he buttoned the top of his shirt after four songs and said, "I hope you're warm enough out there."  This was his only remark to the audience during the show.

Of the five times I have seen Eric Clapton live since 2001, this was the most enjoyable - for the more bluesy song selection, Eric's playing and the best band he has had in a while.  All were on top form.  Crisp sound with a thumping beat and perfect volume.  Paul Carrack was as impressive as Billy Preston used to be in Eric's band.  Andy joined Eric singing Crazy Mama and later played a nice wah-wah solo in Cocaine.  Standouts for me were Pretending, Driftin', Crazy Mama, and ultimately, Little Queen of Spades, for which Eric blitzed. Thoroughly good performance"

The final show of short tour happened at the Chastain Park Amphitheatre on Saturday, May 3. At this concert, Eric selected Gin House, sung by Andy Fairweather Low, as the 12th song of the evening.  Jay F reported, "Great concert. There was a huge difference between Eric when he visited Atlanta in 2013. He was willing to step forward and play more. His speed was incredibly different - faster and pushing himself more than when he played Gwinett Arena last year. The set selection left some fans a little disappointed (they are used to hearing more hits) but as a fan that attends every time he has come through town since 2006, I thought it was a great evening." Jay also noted it was the first time EC performed at the venue since he was there with Cream in 1968.

Dan S had this to say:  "Chastain Amphitheater is a great outdoor venue and the weather for the show was perfect. The set list was pretty much in keeping with his other recent shows. Interesting that about one third of his show was songs by two of his greatest influences, Robert Johnson and JJ Cale. Eric, as is usually the case, had very little to say. After "Crazy Mama" however he yelled out "JJ Cale" with great enthusiasm.

After all these years Eric still proves with each appearance that he still has the virtuosity and the commanding stage presence that has made him legendary over so many years. Does he pass off more solos to his sideman than many years ago? Is his set list a bit shorter than in the past? The answer to each of these questions is yes. I walked away however feeling fortunate that this strong force in music is still performing with such emotion at 69 years of age.

He had many tour de force moments with guitar solos that still define why EC, in the eyes of many, is the greatest of our generation. His work on "Little Queen of Spades" was as great an example of his work on a slow blues song as he can do. Just fantastic. There were really solo highlights in every song that again defined why his solos are compelling, creative, melodic and technically brilliant. The acoustic set was great in this venue. EC's finger picking, which has only gotten better over the years, was on full display in "Driftin' ". A great rendition. "Layla", a predictable crowd pleaser, was as beautiful a version as I have ever seen him do. He is of course so fully in command of that song and seemed so at peace performing it. Watching him play it was like watching Picasso paint. A master of his craft doing what he does best.

As things were winding down I couldn't help but think that, in addition to the incredible pleasure of watching Eric perform over many years, there may be no one that has done more to perpetuate the genre of the blues over 50 years than Eric Clapton. All I know is that his journey into the blues has been as rewarding a musical experience as I have had in my life and for that I am very grateful."

If you were at any of these shows, it's still not too late to submit your review / comments or photos. Email them to info@whereseric.com.

Band Lineup:
Eric Clapton - Guitar / Vocals
Andy Fairweather Low - Guitar / Vocals
Chris Stainton - Keyboards
Paul Carrack - Keyboards / Vocals
Dave Bronze - Bass
Henry Spinetti - Drums
Michelle John - Backing Vocals
Sharon White - Backing Vocals

Eric Clapton Set List: April 27, 2014
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans LA

01. Somebody's Knocking
02. Key To The Highway
03. Pretending
04. Hoochie Coochie Man
05. Tell The Truth
06. Driftin'
07. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
08. Crazy Mama
09. Stones In My Passway
10. Layla
11. How Long (Paul Carrack - vocal)
12. Gin House (Andy Fairweather Low - vocal)
13. Crossroads
14. Little Queen Of Spades
15. Cocaine
16. High Time We Went (Paul Carrack - vocal)

Click here to read all fan reviews from New Orleans

Eric Clapton Set List: April 30, 2014
Mud Island Amphitheatre, Memphis TN

01. Somebody's Knocking
02. Key To The Highway
03. Pretending
04. Hoochie Coochie Man
05. Tell The Truth
06. Driftin'
07. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
08. Crazy Mama
09. Stones In My Passway
10. Layla
11. How Long (Paul Carrack - vocal)
12. Before You Accuse Me
13. Crossroads
14. Little Queen Of Spades
15. Cocaine
16. High Time We Went (Paul Carrack - vocal)

Click here to read all fan reviews from Memphis

Eric Clapton Set List: May 2, 2014
Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Pelham AL

01. Somebody's Knocking
02. Key To The Highway
03. Pretending
04. Hoochie Coochie Man
05. Tell The Truth
06. Driftin'
07. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
08. Crazy Mama
09. Stones In My Passway
10. Layla
11. How Long (Paul Carrack - vocal)
12. Wonderful Tonight
13. Crossroads
14. Little Queen Of Spades
15. Cocaine
16. High Time We Went (Paul Carrack - vocal)

Click here to read all fan reviews from Pelham

Eric Clapton Set List: May 3, 2014
Chastain Park Amphitheatre, Atlanta GA

01. Somebody's Knocking
02. Key To The Highway
03. Pretending
04. Hoochie Coochie Man
05. Tell The Truth
06. Driftin'
07. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
08. Crazy Mama
09. Stones In My Passway
10. Layla
11. How Long (Paul Carrack - vocal)
12. Gin House (Andy Fairweather Low - vocal)
13. Crossroads
14. Little Queen Of Spades
15. Cocaine
16. High Time We Went (Paul Carrack - vocal)

Click here to read all fan reviews from Atlanta

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