Eric Clapton Jams With The Allman Brothers Band!
Following more than a decade of annual rumours that "Clapton's going to jam wtih the Allman Brothers at the Beacon this year" and two recent reports in Rolling Stone online, the wishful thinking of music fans finally came true on 19 March 2009. There was no official confirmation of the guest appearance by either representatives of the Allman Brothers Band or Eric Clapton prior to the evening's performance.
One fan in attendance emailed Where's Eric! with the low down shortly after the concert ended. From the opening notes of the concert, expectations were running high that Eric Clapton would indeed appear. The excitement continued to build throughout the Allman Brothers first set. By intermission, the atmosphere was truly electric. Concert-goers returned to their seats much faster than on an "average night" at the Beacon so a note would not be missed. Then, EC's long-time guitar tech, Lee Dickson, was spotted on stage setting up EC's gear near the end of intermission. It was really going to happen ... Clapton WAS going to jam with the Allman Brothers! The Brothers performed three songs and then Gregg Allman simply said, "This man needs no introduction. Eric Clapton."
The musicians jammed out on six songs, much to everyone's surprise. Previous guests on other evenings generally performed three songs. EC sat in on "Key To The Highway," "Dreams," "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad," "Little Wing," "Anyday" and the evening's encore, "Layla." Susan Tedeschi, who is married to Derek Trucks, joined in on the vocals for "Anyday". Danny Louis of Gov't Mule sat in with the Brothers earlier in the evening for "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and then joined in for the encore, playing the piano coda of "Layla."
Another concert-goer told Where's Eric! that, "[u]nquestionably, the highlight of this night and probably of my 35 years of concert-going, was a very emotional rendition of Jimi Hendrix's 'Little Wing.' It was a moving tribute to two of the greatest guitarists that ever walked the face of the earth - Jimi and Duane. The reaction to the opening chords was instant, overwhelming and completely unexpected - the Beacon Theatre exploded. It was just beautiful and inspirational - something I will always remember."
Eric's gear was a daphne blue signature stratocaster through a fender twin amp except for "Anyday," when he used a black signature stratocaster. Rehearsals for the performance had taken place earlier in the day in Manhattan.
Currently celebrating their 40th Anniversary, the Allman Brothers Band have been bringing out surprise guests each night of their Beacon run. Gregg Allman has said that these shows are a tribute to his late brother and founding band member, Duane, who died in 1971 at age 24. Along with Clapton, other guests during this year's Beacon shows have included Levon Helm, Taj Mahal, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Winter, Sheryl Crow, Buddy Guy, Bonnie Bramlett, Bekka Bramlett, Susan Tedeschi, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) and John Hammond.
Eric Clapton's appearance with the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon on 19 March was a historic occasion. In late August 1970, Clapton was working at Miami's Criteria Recording Studios with his band, Derek and the Dominos. Following an Allman Brothers Band concert in Miami on 26 August 1970, Eric was introduced to Duane Allman by Tom Dowd, who was producing both the Dominos' sessions and the Allman's second album, Idlewild South. Eric invited the entire band back to the studio for a late night jam with his band and later asked Duane to join in on the Dominos' recording sessions. The result was the legendary album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. In fact, it is Duane on slide guitar who created the signature riff of "Layla." Duane Allman appears on all songs except "I Looked Away," "Keep On Growing," and "Bell Bottom Blues."
With the exception of "Dreams," all the songs performed on 19 March at the Beacon were from the legendary "Layla" album.
In 2006 and 2007, Derek Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band also toured as a member of Clapton's band. Trucks, 29, joined the Allmans in 1999.
The original Allman Brothers Band were the late Duane Allman, younger brother Gregg Allman, the late Berry Oakely, Dickey Betts, Jai Johanny Johanson (known as Jaimoe) and Butch Trucks. Jaimoe and Butch are still with the band. The current lineup is Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge and Marc Quinones. Butch is Derek's uncle.
Stay tuned to this webpage tomorrow to see if Rolling Stone's prediction that Clapton will also join the Brothers on 20 March happens!
The concert was broadcast live on Moogis, a new subscription-based online live and on-demand service founded by Butch Trucks. Archival material and previous 2009 ABB Beacon gigs are available on moogis.com. It is not known if any of the concerts will be released officially at a later date.
If you were lucky enough to be there, the Where's Eric! Team wants to hear from you! Send your comments or full-fledged review of the entire gig to email@example.com. The Where's Eric! Team will post them in the tour section of this site. There will also be full coverage (including exclusive photos) in the next issue of Where's Eric! Magazine.
Complete Set List - 19 March 2009
01. LIttle Martha (Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes - guitar)
02. Statesboro Blues
03. Done Somebody Wrong
05. Woman Across The River
06. Don't Keep Me Wonderin'
07. Whipping Post
08. Oncoming Traffic
09. Come and Go Blues
10. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (with Danny Louis of Gov't Mule)
11. Key To The Highway (with EC)
12. Dreams (with EC)
13. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad (with EC)
14. Little Wing (with EC)
15. Anyday (with EC and Susan Tedeschi)
16: Layla (with EC and Danny Louis)
Detailed notes about the second set and EC's Guest Appearance:
Oncoming Traffic - solo vocals and piano by Gregg Allman
Come and Go Blues - Allman Brothers Band
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - Allman Brothers Band with guest with Danny Louis of Gov't Mule on piano
Key To The Highway - Allman Brothers Band with guest Eric Clapton (lead vocal / guitar)
Dreams - Allman Brothers Band with guest Eric Clapton (guitar)
Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad - Allman Brothers Band with guest Eric Clapton (lead vocal / guitar)
Little Wing - Allman Brothers Band with guest Eric Clapton (lead vocal / guitar)
Anyday - Allman Brothers Band with guests Eric Clapton (vocals / guitar) and Susan Tedeschi (vocals)
Layla - Allman Brothers Band with guests Eric Clapton (lead vocal / guitar) and Danny Louis (piano)