Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Steve Winwood – hammond organ, piano, guitar, vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
01. Had to Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence Of The Lord
06. Well Alright
07. Hoochie Coochie Man
08. While You See A Chance
09. Key To The Highway
10. Pearly Queen
14. That’s No Way To Get Along
16. Can’t Find My Way Home
17. Gimme Some Lovin’
18. Voodoo Chile
20. Dear Mr. Fantasy
Final night of EC's run of shows at the Royal Albert Hall during his 2011 Tour. The first six nights were solo shows which were followed by five concerts with Steve Winwood.
Review by Greg Pursall / London
The run of EC / Winwood gigs at RAH over the last week have each proven to be as phenomenal as memorable, and the last gig last night was no exception – in fact in my view it was the best of all. As soon as EC opened up the chords to ‘Had To Cry Today‘ it was immediately apparent that he was determined to pull out all the stops – from the start he ripped into the song playing fluid fiery leads, interspersed with solid, chunky earthy rhythm chords and pushing his blue Fender to the limit of its capabilities. Normally, at any gig I have attended , I usually find there are highs and lows. However, this gig deviated from this norm to have the rare distinction that every song performed was a highlight in its own right – the setlist was the same as 30th May , but the performance I witnessed last night I considered flawless in its execution – this was as near a perfect gig that I have ever witnessed.
Maybe because it was the last night of this EC / Winwood collaboration, and maybe the last for two years – EC made this announcement during the acoustic set – both musicians were determined to give their all, and it was a joy to see. The more EC blazed away on his Fender, the more Steve likewise reciprocated whether, on guitar or on the keyboards, and it is clear that both men relish each others playing. It seemed that EC in particular was determined to push himself over the edge, and his playing was impatient as it was intense. Steve was no less on top of his game, trading licks with EC on guitar with the same passionate intensity , and hammering his piano and Hammond when required as if his life depended on it. A measure of how much effort was put into the performance was demonstrated by EC at times looking drained physically by his own strenuous efforts on guitar – a member of the audience noticed this as well when after a burning version of ‘ Crossroads ‘ he was clearly heard to say ‘Hard work Eric!‘ Nevertheless, both men were clearly enjoying every minute last night, with smiles and laughter in abundance.
To summarise a flawless passionate gig performed by arguably two of the best musicians on the planet and a fitting end to a fantastic week of superb music the likes of which RAH will not witness for some time to come.
Review by Jamie Bawn
What can I say, I have seen Clapton 5 times at Albert Hall since 1994, plus twice at Hyde Park, once at Earls Court, once at Sheffield arena and once at 02 - all since 94. My least favorite may have been the Hyde park concert in 2008 - wasnt loud enough and not much fire and in 94 where the show started blues from the 1920s and progressed in to rock - the solos then were too short and i was stuck behind the stage.
Concerts that stuck out were both performances in 96, 2004 in Sheffield - amazing, and Last nights performance. I cant believe how much fire he played with. Its as though someone spiked his water with speed. He was amazing. I have seen the dvd with clapton and winwood from a few years ago and then snippets of their last collaboration which was better - in terms of their playing. However, this time round they are on absolute top form. I didnt know that Clapton at 66 years old was capable of being that good. Every solo was fiery - from Crossroads (much better than previous versions i have heard par Cream) and Cocaine (with half wah wah solo) . These two songs were some of the highlights. Also up there was the acoustic version of Driftin' with the most beautiful acoustic guitar solo i probably ever heard, and layla unplugged with nice intro solo by Clapton and a good solo by Winwood too. Cant find My Way Home was another highlight from the acoustic section - which consisted of 4 songs - plus an electric sit down song - Georgia (not my favourite -but again a good solo by Clapton). I wasnt as keen on Thats no way to get along along from his new album and think he should have replaced that with his recent cover of Gary Moore's Still got the Blues. -However only a minor quibble for such an amazing concert.
The main highlight of the night was Voodoo Chile. The guitar solos on this by Clapton were unreal. I have seen other versions of this on Youtube but this might just top them. Clapton looked happy and was smiling and very energetic throughout the concert. The Blind Faith songs were all done superbly. Particularly nice version of Pearly Queen, Cant Find My Way home and another blistering solo on Presence of the Lord. The band were all amazing - much better without Tim Carmen's annoying keyboard solos. I was in the top gallery - as the only reasonable priced tix left. Enjoyed it thouroughly though - Clapton even said that 'who knows in 2 years time we may come back again' I hope so as this concert and Clapton's playing were beyond excellent. What a great year for Eric.
The audience were great on this concert - much more enthusiastic than many of the other concerts I have been too. They loved both Winwood and Clapton and they were up on their feet and at the front of the stage as soon as the acoustic section finished before the fantastic Gimme Some Lovin song right through until the end of the concert.
Review by Craig Bird
Me and my son Scott attended our first concert at the Albert Hall and our first Eric Clapton concert last night. My son has recently taken up the guitar and I thought what could be a better trip for both of us to see a true legend live in action. I have to say that overall I was left a little disappointed. Whilst the musicianship cannot be questioned, there was a feeling of self indulgence about the whole night, with more interaction between Eric and Steve than there was between either of them and the audience. This also spilled over into the set list but in fairness that may have been because I wasn’t sure what to expect, never having seen Eric live before. In the build up to the show I’ve been listening to the Cream of Clapton and other similar compilation albums and had hoped to hear a lot of my favourites. I understand that the set list would be different though to integrate Steve into the show and that was done very well, it would just have been nice to have a few more songs the audience could interact with. Overall it was a really good show and my son enjoyed it immensely, he was particularly impressed with the keyboard player. We’re looking forward to catching Eric again in the future on one of his solo shows to get a real feel for what Eric can produce with his band alone.
Review by Andy Fry
The overall experience was a good one and we enjoyed being there. It seemed to us that Eric, Steve and the band were on pretty good form.
My son and I attended the concert and both being musicians ourselves decided we would enjoy being in the Choir seating. At the RAH this gives you a more unusual (and for us, interesting) view of the band and the Techies behind them. My son is a drummer and percussionist and an admirer and devoted student of the great Mr Gadd. Sitting in the Choir at the RAH affords the opportunity of a great view over the drummer’s shoulder and the whole kit, seeing the ‘chops’ being played and exactly what he’s doing.
We are not naïve about the kind of sound quality one will experience in that position – the RAH is a bit of a nightmare for sound engineers at the best of times and the Choir will not give you the best sound on offer there for any event of this type (using a large PA rig). However, the sound there (we were in the Choir West area) should not be absolutely awful as it was last night for the support set and first half of the main set.
My son is a good friend of one of the sound engineers who regularly works at the RAH doing FOH sound. He wasn’t the FOH engineer last night, but helped rig the arrays that were there as he’s become one of the most experienced engineers working at the RAH in terms of array design and ‘tuning’ the timing of them (delay lines have to be used when you have multi-arrays in such a venue to help tune out the differences in signal arrival times). The physics and acoustics at the RAH make this a very daunting task and things at their best are not perfect there – there are inevitably some spots in the hall that will suffer worse from some of the acoustic problems. Even so, my son’s friend is not an idiot and when he knew we were attending and where we’d be sitting, assured us things were sounding as sweet as possible in that area of the hall when he’d finished his job in helping getting things set up.
So, to our experience there last night: well quite simply, for the support and first half of the main set it was as though the speaker arrays covering the Choir West area were not on at all. For those who know what this is like, it was just as if you are playing on stage without the stage monitors on – the sound you hear is just a very hollow mush of the spill over from the FOH sound. It really was bad and people around me were commenting on it. Then, suddenly, during the ‘acoustic’ part of the set, it was just as though someone noticed that the mute button was active on the channel for that line of the speaker array controller and pressed it to switch it back on. We could suddenly hear and for the rest of the concert we had the kind of sound that we would expect – not ‘perfect’, but very acceptable given that part of the venue.
For us (and probably for a lot of other people too) the £65 ticket price was not just pocket money. Again, we’re not naïve. We’re aware of the costs involved in staging those kind of concerts and I’m not complaining about appropriate prices and necessary profit margins. As part of the paying audience though, the experience of the sound that we had last night, highlighted by the sudden change in its quality (it was obviously possible for it to have been a lot better for the whole of the concert), whatever the cause, was not worthy of an Eric Clapton concert or any other concert, even in the rather flawed acoustics of the RAH!