Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Robert Cray – guitar / vocals*
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Little Wing
05. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?
07. Outside Woman Blues
08. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
09. Running On Faith
10. Motherless Children
11. Little Queen Of Spades
12. Further On Up The Road
13. Wonderful Tonight
15. Cocaine (encore)
16. Crossroads (encore)*
Review by Bruce Wilson
Saw my second show of the tour last night in Kansas City, 115 in the ongoing series by Where's Eric's count. My first was St. Louis, 41, six months ago, 250 miles away, and a world of difference in performance. In St. Louis, EC performed one of the best concerts ever. EC, Trucks, Jordan, Weeks and Stainton were listening to each other and playing together, and they sounded like a band - a really good band, the best band I've seen with him. Derek was in flamethrower mode, and Eric was not about to play second fiddle to anyone onstage. Eric has always been a creature of his environment and he responded by playing more solos, longer solos, and some of the finest, most inspired, passionate guitar heard from him in any context. Doyle and Carmon stayed out of the way for the most part.
Over to KC: things are off to a promising start; it's great to hear EC tearing into these wonderful Dominos songs. Chris is on tonight; he's even more impressive than in St. Louis. Doyle plays some pretty good slide and is great on the vocal trade-offs with Eric. Little Wing is perfect and the high point of this evening. Eric's guitar and vocal are stunning. A problem is evident early on that continues throughout this concert. Stylistically, what Doyle plays does not go with the songs or with what Eric is playing. His solos are unimaginative, lack fluidity, and sound somewhat rhythmically and melodically challenged. Every time he solos, the proceedings lurch at best, and at worst slam into a wall. Anyway, after a couple gratuitous Doyle solos, I think of the little spare tire we carry around in our cars that has to be used when the real tire is gone; it'll get you there, but it's not a good ride.
Little Queen of Spades is the exemplar for this entire concert: Eric opens with a brilliant solo, Chris plays a gorgeous piano solo, Doyle follows with something disruptively irrelevant, and worst of all, Carmon ends with a solo so remarkably ponderous that I can hardly believe it is happening. Eric is a generous man who encourages his musical collaborators to play what they will. In the company of world class instrumentalists, they play in ways that inspire him to perform at his peak. That's the payoff. But his generosity cuts both ways; this tour, I saw both sides of it.
Review by Harold Berciunas / Olathe KS
Attended the concert at Kemper arena - had a wonderful time. I am a Clapton fan - more now than when I was a teenager. Last nights concert was interesting. I am not as experienced as some of your other reviewers, however, I have been to enough to bring an evaluation.
Granted, in the presence of EC is something to charish, however, I found that I could not make out any of the lyrics - though I am familiar with most of the songs. Was it a sound problem - or a EC vocal style? I easily lost interest in the songs and became very intent on observing guitar solos fingering.
I found Doyle very fascinating - I didn't pay much attention to his solo's relevance to the particular songs. I was mezzmerized by his work. I even enjoyed his vocals better than EC. Between songs 3-4 and 6-7 there appeared to be an exodus of the crowd - (for another beer?) but this is Clapton yet there seemed to be a lull or dullness hat would welcome a fresh drink. The keyboard players were the highlight of the EC concert for me. It seemed that that each time the pianist took off - so did the crowd - and my personal enjoyment - each ending with huge applause. EC's solos were met with the applause due EC, yet not authentic wow applause drawn by the pianist. The organ player also exuded charisma - recieving appropriate wow applause, esp. when he left the keys and the organ kept ringing.
Notice I didn't insert names for keyboards? I don't remember introductions of any of the members. In fact, Eric wasn't even welcomed to the stage. There were occassionaly mumbles of something after some of the solos. The only time we really understood the lyrics were during the encore. Cocaine we understood because everyone in the audience were singing along at full voice esp. at Cocaine. The second song of the encore was also quite intelligible - at least the first verse, because Robert Cray joined the stage and sang sparklingly clear with great emotion.
Which brings me to the highlight of the musical evening. Robert Cray. Although his opening set was not given the attention it deserved by the audience, I personally was mezmerized by the simplicity and authenticity of the quitar work as well as the lyrics. I will pursue a closer relationship with this amazing artist.
Review by Marsha Smitherman
I saw Eric in St. Louis in October. At the time, I didn't know he would be playing in my home town, Kansas City. I'm a huge fan. I decided I could live with hearing the same concert a second time. Except it wasn't the same concert. I have some ideas about what was different. Derek Trucks is a terrific guitar player, but in St. Louis, there were so many terrific guitar players on stage that neither Eric nor Doyle Bramhall II were getting as much play as they did here in Kansas City. An Eric Clapton concert without a lot of Eric Clapton solos is a little disappointing. You wonder . . . is he getting old? Is he getting lazy? Is he being too polite with the other players, what?
The concert in Kansas City was more bluesy in feel, with long, long solos by everyone. Everyone played their balls off, there were balls bouncing all over the stage. Everyone was creative, individual, brilliant. Three-quarters of the way through, I was so thrilled by the quality of everyone's solos that I would have forgiven Eric if he'd chosen not to play Layla. But he did play Layla, in a version that was literally explosive.
Doyle Bramhall is brilliant, by the way. You couldn't tell in St. Louis. In Kansas City, you could tell. Chris Stainton is brilliant, too. You couldn't entirely tell in St. Louis, although he was less overwhelmed by the surplus of guitars than Doyle had been. The bass player, Willie Weeks, is brilliant, though he only played one long solo. I wouldn't have minded another. Tim Carmon is brilliant, and very original. And this may be a small thing, but the video screens featured ALL of the soloists and the backup singers more liberally than they had in St. Louis. The background light show was maybe slightly less distracting. Those things both made the whole thing more enjoyable. Doyle and Chris both brought original material to Layla that contributed to one of the most exciting live versions I've heard. Steve Jordan, the drummer, is great...he's another one I wouldn't mind hearing more from. Best volume, most exciting drum sound of any drummer I've heard play with Clapton on recent live recordings, but again, that wasn't entirely there in St. Louis. What made the difference in Kansas City? Time on the tour together? Maybe, but they'd been playing in Europe and most if not all of them had recorded together. Eric had been sick a night or two earlier when he played St. Louis...did he lean on the other guitarists more? I couldn't tell.
I truly think one of the biggest factors is that Eric had trimmed out most of the oldies, and I think it was a good thing. In Kansas City, he seemed really alive, really energized by the music. I found myself thinking that his live performance really does rival Hendrix. I couldn't detect any of the slowing down that Eric claims he's experienced. He's a better player than he was when I saw him in 1974, and he was a better player in Kansas City than he was in St. Louis last October. No, he's not getting old. No, he's not getting slow. He, and the entire band were stunning, brilliant, amazing. There were literally people in the audience who were overwhelmed, because they were looking for oldies and they simply weren't used to hearing Eric play the kind of lengthy, intense solos he often does on the road. You almost have to practice listening to be able to fully enjoy a Clapton concert--and that may be an effect Eric wouldn't mind. He's big on listening.
I'm sorry I'm not one of the people who managed to get tickets to Crossroads Chicago, but I think I'll make a donation to Crossroads Antigua anyway, go to Chicago another time, and just thank God I got to hear Eric at his best here in Kansas City.
Review by Shelley Slocum
The Eric Clapton and Robert Cray show blew into Kansas City like a spring tornado. Momentum grew as each song was completed to make both sets special and unique. Robert Cray played with great emotion, his set was too short, leaving the crowd wanting more. EC's set was reminiscent of his mid-70's show with his choice of songs. To all the critics of these jewels in the set list, maybe those people should have seen his shows in the 80's & 90's. Our group of Clapton devotees asks ourselves each time we see EC, can he get any better? This same group looks forward to Crossroads Chicago Part 2 with the sizzling hot temps and burning licks that will be made from the current masters of the blues. If Chicago is similar to Crossroads Dallas watch out for the rainstorm and lightning show to blow in the finale.
Review by Jon
I attended my 3rd show of this tour in Kansas City, going on to Detroit and Columbus to say goodbye to what has been a fantastic series of concerts giving by EC and friends. I was fortunate to be able to catch EC and the gang along with DT in Boston and again in Chicago. Of course I was impressed with the young guns that were with EC, but at the same time I was disappointed that EC shared what I thought was too much of the show with DT and DB. Although, it didn't stop him from shining through, I still wanted more EC.
It's amazing how 2 people can go to a concert and have 2 different views. I had to share what I and many SCREAMING others shared that night which was a great time, thanks EC and band. EC was on fire like it was his last show and you could tell by the smiles on the band members faces that they were enjoying listening to him as well as each other. They are definitely a band now with the front man being EC. Please don't get me wrong I LOVE DT but when I pay $150 a piece for 2 tickets I wanna hear EC which this night he made it
all worth any price. Song after song he sang with such maturity and soul that any number of times I held back tears. His playing that night proved why so many people pay year after year to hear him. It was at times heavenly, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was still breathing here on earth.
The band. WOW. Willie and Steve. Are so locked in that you couldn't seperate the groove no matter how hard you tried. Also Willie provided the most amazing bass solo in GTGBIALW that had me wanting another solo from him all night. Doyle, provided that the last time I saw him he was taking a back seat to the situation was the epitome of a rock guitarist. EC would often look at him after taking a solo and nod in approval like a proud father. Chris.. Played beautiful solos all throughout. Tim Carmon played like he went to the school of Billy Preston and at times had his own sound but then at times you had to look twice to make sure it was him playing. Particularly on Queen Of Spades, he got off the organ and it was still playing while he walked to the edge of the stage and that sent the crowd roaring like the voices of many lions. EC and the rest of the band were just smiling away. Sharon and Michelle, sounded like a choir at times, especially when Dolye or Tim joined in with the harmonies. This band is KILLER.
I would say by far the band is where they should've been a year ago with maybe a guest appearance by DT on some shows. EC is still the best. THanks for the AWESOME concert.
Review by David Brown / Lenexa KS
Another great show by EC. This version of his band was supremely talented and tight. We were disapointed to miss out on Derek Trucks, but Doyle's star might have shined just a little bit brighter. Willie Weeks was so solid on the bottom, and Chris Stainton, he was the best guest soloist just super on electric piano, quick with his fingers, melodic with his notes, focused and bluesy all at the same time. It's great EC allows his band to all share in the spotlight...it seems they are having fun onstage as a cohesive unit. I had really anticipated Motherless Children with that great intro riff leading into some power slide guitar, it was great, but the next song, Little Queen of Spades was the show highlight for me...extended solos from nearly the whole band, great heart and blues feeling by all. I really thought the band as a whole was what made the show great. A tight working band, having fun, playing great songs, sharing the lead...it was a super show.
Review by Matt Thorne
Any chance for me to see an Eric Clapton concert is a cherished event. My first was in August of 1990 just hours after Eric had lost his tour manager, body guard and friend Stevie Ray Vaughn. I've been lucky enough to see him several times since then, on each of his major tours. Up until now, my favorite band had been the 24 Nights era band of Nathan East, Greg Phillinganes, and Steve Ferrone, Phil Palmer, Chuck Leavell, Ray Palmer, Katie Kissoon and Tessa Niles. That was the tightest I'd ever heard him and to this day, the live versions of songs on the 24 Nights CD and DVD are, to me, the definitives. That changed on the night of April 2 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.
I knew from tracking the tour what the set list was going to consist of and I was excited to hear it. I was not prepared for what I heard. I would've liked to have seen the version of the band with Derek Trucks, but hey, when daddy's band callsâ€¦.you go. The night opened up with the drums of Steven Jordan laying down a strong, powerful beat that told you this show was going to kick your butt, and it did. The band was tight all night long. It was incredible to see them gather in a tight circle near the drums and just PLAY all night long. You could tell that everyone was having a great time and that they are a tight unit just by the way the appeared to be interacting with each other on stage.
Anyone who goes to a Clapton show looking for a lot of showman ship or interaction from Eric himself is going to be disappointed every time. It's about the music, the passion behind the music and the passion for playing the music. Appreciate it for what it is, a masterful guitar player giving you the opportunity to have a glimpse into his soul as he sings and plays these songs. I love the fact that the show contained only a few hits and looking at the set list again, I love the fact that the newest song on the set was Running on Faith. This is one of my all time favorite Clapton songs and again, the version I heard that night instantly became my new favorite. Motherless Children nearly blew the roof off of Kemper Arena as it is a true rock and roll song through and through. Steve's drumming was amazing and Doyle's slide was on fire, just as it was all night.
By the end of the night, I was spent. I couldn't believe I'd finally seen EC perform some of the things I'd just seen him perform. Songs I never thought I'd get the chance to see live and any hopes or dreams I had about them had been far surpassed thanks to the amazing band he had behind him.
The local review in the paper, like some here was less than glowing but I get the feeling that a lot of the complaints stem from the absence of 'hits." Of course, some people in the crowd didn't recognize some of the older material for what it was anyway. At one point, as the opening to Little Wing was giving me a near religious experience, the guy behind me shouted out, Stevie Ray! I can only hope it was a momentary lapse of brain functions and that the guy knew that, yes, SRV had recorded "Little Wing" but not until many years after Derek and of course, Jimi Hendrix. As a true, loyal, long time, passionate EC fan, I heard plenty of hits that night. I heard 16 of them from the first song to the last. It was the kind of concert that an artist who is out there because he enjoys being out there would put on, not someone who is out to rehash the hits and make a buck puts on. Thanks, Eric.
My only disappointment for the evening was with the Robert Cray set list. The performance was amazing, don't get me wrong, and I know he made a lot of new fans that night, but as a long time fan who was getting his first chance to see Robert Cray, I was hoping for a few older tunes. I know that makes me sound a little hypocritical since I just sung EC's praises for not playing hits, but I've seen EC play his hits, I haven't seen Robert Cray play his. I really wanted to see him play Smoking Gun or Right Next Door but it was still a fantastic opening set. My girlfriend, who was not familiar with Robert, turned to me at one point and asked. Why is someone this good just opening
for Clapton? Overall, a great show, the best band I've seen backing Clapton since the early 90's and I'd pay that much for my Side Stage View tickets again anytime.
Review by Mike Gonzalez / Olathe KS
EC WAS HERE
The great Eric Clapton was here a couple of nights ago. With absolutely nothing new in hand, the bulk of his songs were from the early 70's Derek and the Dominos phase Layla and Other Love Songs album. He and his band started out with a muddled sounding (vocals and leadguitar) Tell the Truth. Possibly, poor off-the-cuff board mixing, but the sound got progressively better from the third song onwards. Hisvoice, which was never great, but passable, is no longer what it used to be and it didn't help the vocals any that he kept rocking his head
from side to side on a number of songs. But then again, that's just an instinctive reaction when you play feel the blues, which was the overwhelming majority genre that evening. On the other hand, maybe the equipment people should have used an omni-directional mike to fixthe problem unless that creates too much feedback.
EC does not much interact with the crowd just a basic Good evening and repetitive thank yous. Doesn't bother to introduce the songs or explain anything about them. He does at least honor, and is very generous to his fellow musicians, by introducing them and letting most of them solo â€“ some repetitively. Another irritating trait to some he turns his back to the audience on 30% of the solos as if rehearsing or jamming with his friends in a studio bereft of any onlookers. However, Clapton has always been like that shy and not much of a showman. He lets his guitar do all the talking.
Another final irritant if they would have just quit having some of the blinding floodlights from hitting the audience, the light show would have been a lot more pleasing. Or am I just getting old. Can't complain about the video screens and other effects, though. Smashing
But enough with the criticism. EC is in an entirely different realm when his guitar talks. His playing is just awesome and easily washes over all the negatives. Nobody, but nobody, plays guitar like Clapton does. He's up there with Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan both his friends and both deceased. One might argue that he's not THE ONE of all time - despite the handwriting on the wall in London some 40 years ago that Clapton is a deity. Easily 65% or more of each song is dominated by extended riffing rather than vocals and one is just mesmerized by the speed, dexterity, sustained string bending acrobatics and seemingly effortless flight his left fingers exert all over the fretboard all magnified on the large screens.
EC was assisted by a young Doyle Bramhall II, who played a pretty good 2nd lead or lead solos at times. A couple of times though, his phrasing didn't seem to have any relation to the current song. Good slide guitar work, emulating the late, great Duane Allman from the Allman Brothers Band, when the latter played on the Layla album. Great voice, too better than Clapton's. Missing from this concert and a few others before it was Derek Trucks, nephew of the Allman's Butch Trucks. The latter was said to have given EC a run for his money. Not really, but even better than Doyle, who apparently had to stay on the sidelines more during the earlier concerts.
Two other really good bandmates on this tour: keyboardist Tim Carmon and pianist Chris Stainton were magnificent on the keys, especially during their allotted solos. The majority of this band, including the rhythm section, but especially the strings and the keys, were clearly improvisatory. Tight, yet given free rein by EC to roam wherever they wanted to, but easily get in sync again after they ran out of ideas.
Key to the Highway another great Clapton blues number Wow. No adjectives can describe the way this song was played. Next Jimi Hendrix' and covered by SRV Little Wing. Then, on to another blues-rock classic from his days with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends Why Does Love Got to be So Sad.
In the middle, Eric plays a set of acoustic songs, the first one a bluesy Driftin' by himself and three others assisted by his bandmates. Running on Faith, the last of the four, was brilliant both from precise note-for-note playing on a jangly steel-stringed acoustic axe and from clear, soulful vocals.
Then, back to the electric Stratos with Further on Up the Road. He used 4 or 5 different ones that night, including the usual high-trebled maple necks and the mellower rosewoods. No effect pedals were used at all not even the ubiquitous wah-wah. On to a romantic Wonderful Tonight that had its usual effect on the audience, especially the females. However, it seemed prematurely cut short without the expected, live version extended wail from one of the girl back-up singers at the end of the song. No longer the ones he used in his '86 EC and Friends and later tours. Then, one of the greatest rock love masterpieces of all time Layla. The original, electric versio; not the soft, acoustic one.
When the opening ta-da-da-da-da-da-dum riff hits the speakers, the audience explodes.
A quick break and EC and his band were back for the encore a snorting Cocaine, which really pumped the crowd up again with some wafts of Mary Jane, to boot and then the finale Crossroads, where Eric was joined by the opening act, good friend Robert Cray. Almost two hours of powerful, mesmerizing music: 16 songs averaging almost 7 minutes each. And at least one of them the soloing special Little Queen of Spades running about 15 minutes.
One sidelight. Unfortunately for some in the audience, they didn't really know who Eric Clapton is. That he came up the ranks via the blues route, which is what he stuck to on this tour. Or know any of his 60's 70's material with Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominoes. Or that his classic material are songs to be listened to, to get high on and not to be danced to. Or that you have to be able to appreciate instrumental ingenuity and improvisation enough, like the audience that watched the Cream reunion gigs in London and New York. Or they came perhaps to hear some of Eric's schmalty pop songs and ballads from the 80's and 90's. So they got bored. They didn't and
still don't know that EC is a musician's musician. A hard blues and rock guitarist non-pareil.
When I bought the ticket months ago, I thought Gosh, what a big drain. However, the other night: Worth every single minute and dollar of it and more! Ain't nobody like Clapton. It's a great pleasure to be within hearing distance even if it's from a couple of hundred of feet away. Like his live mid-70's album the very best live album from him, in my opinion, EC, one of the greatest blues-rock guitarists of all time, Was Here.