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3 February 2007 - Eric Clapton & His Band

Location

Rod Laver Arena Melbourne
Australia
AU
Band Lineup: 

Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar / vocals
Derek Trucks – guitar
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals

Support: 
Mia Dyson
Set List: 

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??
06. Driftin’
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
14. Layla
15. Cocaine (encore)
16. Crossroads (encore)

Fan Reviews: 

Review by John Woolford
Tonight I had the pleasure of taking my 14 year old son Alexander a "Clapton" nutter to Rod Laver arena to see Eric and his amazing band in concert. I knew about half the songs, Alexander all but two. The show was excellent. From the opening number Tell the Truth, Derek Trucks was truly quite remarkable. The quality of his playing was like nothing I have ever seen before and whilst Alexander acknowledged he was awesome in his eyes Clapton was still king.

The whole band all had their fifteen minutes of fame during the show, even the old guy on the piano had a couple of solos and the guitar parts were shared although the master did take control towards the end leading Wonderful Tonight, Layla, Cocaine and Crossroads into their cresendo's. That was after all the band, except the backing singers!, had a ovation after signing off their part of Little Queen of Spades.

The interesting part for me, being not a Clapton or a guitar person as such is that I could quite easily have taken the eight songs out of the show I didn't know and replace them with Bell Bottom Blues, Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman, My Father's Eyes, Sunshine of Your Love, It's in the Way That You Use It, After Midnight, I Shot the Sherriff and Badge. Anyway who cares, we had a great time and Alexander'll remember it for the rest of his life. Thanks Eric.


Review by Darren Senn
GOD does exist and he was at the Rod Laver Arena last night. What and awesome experience to see Eric in full flight surrounded by 2 of the best young guitarist I have seen in a long time. I saw Eric last time he was in Australia 17 years ago and I have to say this concert was by far the best I have ever seen. Great Song choices, although I thought that maybe White Room or Sunshine of your Love might have made the set list.

Highlights of the night for me were Little Wing and Layla. Eric sounding better than he ever has and I thought he play off very well against Doyle Bramble II and Derek Trucks. It was heaven for guitar enthusiast and I was lucky enough to experience one of rocks influence musicians share the stage with two future legends. Eric maybe sixty one years old but he is still playing with the soul and passion that I fell in love with 30 years ago - Thanks Eric you have made this fan very happy.


Review by Phil Browne
Last night I got to live the dream by seeing EC in concert at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Did I enjoy it? Not really. My partner actually went to sleep during part of the show. The other couple we shared the experience with were equally as unimpressed, and we are all EC fans from way back. Is this a harsh comment? Some absolute die-hard believers will say so but there is a distinct feeling in our group opinion.

We all went hoping to see a concert of songs that we knew and loved. Half of the tunes performed were unknown to us. I have read people commenting on how much the current concert has pulled references from the Derek era but we would have preferred a stronger Cream influence. Some people would argue that if we wanted a predictable performance we should invest in some DVDs and stay home. But what we expected was at least a larger number of familiar songs.

As for the performance and the band it seems that Eric has surrounded himself with a number of very talented individuals but they do not perform as a unified band. There were too many extended solos. Eric gave us the impression that he was/is tired after a long season of touring and was letting the others carry the load. As for the backing singers, how I missed Tess and Katie. The current pair either were not allowed or able to really participate.


Review by Claire Brown
What an amazing night last night was - having never seen Clapton live before, I was completely blown away! Thoroughly worth every dollar for the tickets - I wish I was going to the concert tonight too! The set listing was brilliant - so many of my favourite Clapton songs... when he sang Wonderful Tonight, I even shed a few tears.... After hearing that song live my night was complete. Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II were amazing, but Clapton stole the show - truly a master of the guitar. Let's hope he comes back to Australia again soon, and doesn't leave it another 17 years before he returns!


Review by Stephen Cattenazzi
Um...Wow!

That's all I can say. Clapton was one of my earliest influences in playing, and have followed him through thick & thin. Last night's show was one of the best I've ever seen. It had a great mix of old (revamped) and new songs. Of course there's a lot more songs that could have easily fit in there, but the show can only last so long. Highlights for me were Motherless Children which saw all three guitarists playing the slide sections together, Little Wing was beautiful, and an old favourite of mine Running On Faith and Tell The Truth.

I have known about Doyle II since the early 90's, and believe he should get more solo credit that he does outside of the Clapton band. I am just as big a fan of him as I am with EC. His voice, tone, song-writing, etc. I look forward to hearing and hopefully seeing more from him in the future. It was a true pleasure and honour finally getting to see him play live. Although having known of Derek Trucks only by reputation, I became an instant fan after seeing him last night. He is such an amazing and inspirational player. He plays like a true old bluesman. Hard to believe he's only 27. Hopefully Derek can do a tour with wife Susan Tedeschi in the future here. That would be a show to see. Thank you Eric and band. Look forward to seeing you again tonight. Hope you enjoy your stay here in Australia, and hopefully inspire you to come back before another 17 years go by.


Review by Wayne Powell
What can I say, Slowhand has done it again! Wowed the Melbourne audience. As expected the set list was the same as his previous concerts on this tour, but hey, I can now say that I've seen him play some songs I've never seen him play before. Motherless children was a stand out, with the three guitarists going for broke on the lead on this song. Eric was in fine voice and to be frank I don't think I've ever heard him sing badly live or on DVD. Doyle and Dereck were fantastic but to be honest I think Derek stole the show, with brilliant slide guitar and also conventional lead work. On further on up the road Eric took the last lead break and Derek had just finished, Eric must have been inspired by what Derek played as he ripped out an awe inspiring lead break. I've seen Eric the last two times he visited Australia and he didn't let us down. One can only hope he returns again soon, maybe with Jack & Ginger in tow.


Review by Ray Wilkins
It was the first time I had seen Eric since Melbourne 1975. That was during the dark times and from a fan's perspective was extremely disappointing. I was lucky enough to have seen Eric during the early days in the UK, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Rainbow Concert etc and my respect for him has never died. Being essentially a blues lover I was happy Eric devoted a large chunk of last nights concert to that genre and although it would have been impossible to fit all the songs I wanted into a 2 hour set, the ones he played were excellent. Layla blew me away as did the encore of Cocaine and Crossroads. The band was tight but Eric allowed them to express their individuality with some great solos. Thanks you Eric for allowing me to see the real you once more, good tight playing and amazing solos just like before.


Review by Chris D
This was my 6th EC in concert experience and after a night of reflection - the best in regards to performance, energy and set list. To start with the band - they are very good! The rhythm section of Jordan and Weeks just keeps the sound moving and the guitar support from Derek Trucks was fantastic. It was great to have such a different style of support guitarist - his sound and slide playing is unique and provided a diversity within the music.

From the opening "Tell the Truth" through to the closing "Cocaine" and "Crossroads" the band was energetic and playing together. Eric's guitar playing was wonderful tonight (!) - he had feeling and energy and is such a generous leader very happy to share the spotlight with his impressive colleagues. His guitar sound was at its best for "Little Wing" and the clean sound of "Wonderful Tonight".

I had my two sons aged 20 & 16 and on the way out of the stadium my 16 year old said "Well that is the standard for guitar players!" - and it is amazing that EC has been the standard for 40 years!! And now has a new generation of fans coming through. Thanks EC and hope you get back to the land down under in the future.


Review by Iain Harvey
Living in New Zealand I was lucky enough to be visiting London in May 2006 and see Eric and the band at the Royal Albert Hall. Even though he had Robert Cray on the bill then the show in essence (and in stage setting) was the same. However 8 months is a long time and my how the tightness of the band had improved, and of course the quality of sound between the 2 venues. It was a wonderful show in everyway. Eric has done a great job in allowing the young guys to shine through. Chris Stanton was also in stunning form. The only strange part was how a number of the audience, just like people in Hawkes Bay New Zealand, expected Eric to talk to them between numbers. This just proves that these people really had no idea who they were listening to! Eric did talk to them all night- through his fantastic playing.

My first experience of seeing Eric was at the Ricky-Tick club in Windsor UK. I saw him with John Mayall as well as the first show of Cream at the Windsor Rythym and Blues festival in '66. Last night he was on form just like then.


Review by Michael Lane
Being a big Clapton fan I was on cloud nine last night in Rod Laver Area seeing my idol perform live. Eric is always fantastic on the records and videos but live, nothing captures his mastery, how ever good a live album can be. I went along with my father, who saw Eric live back in 75' when he was supporting his "There's One In Every Crowd LP", this was his first time in Australia and his show suffered as he was still supporting his addictions. It wasn't hard to convince the old man to take me to see the in form Clapton. In form is an understatement, his chops were "red hot" as were the support of the two younger guitarists Doyle Bramhall II, Derek Trucks and the rest of the band. Clapton performed a number of his hits to a very supportive packed Rod Laver.

The set list was good and having collected all but a few of his albums though out his career, I knew every song he played in the 15 song, 2 hour and 3 min set. I expected to see more blues standards, although when he did Driftin' Blues just by himself it was a blues lover's bliss. He played three Robert Johnson songs and everyone was played with the passion that a Robert Johnson needs. I would of loved to see him do Bell Bottom Blues and Have You Ever Loved a Woman but then I wasn't expecting to see the Jimi Hendrix classic Little Wing and as many other Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs.

Having never heard Trucks play I was astonished to see how much he played and sounded like his mentor Duane Allman, (the legend that appeared on the classic "Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs"). That dueling guitars featured on that album was replicated to perfection by Trucks with that glass bottle. I'm sure Duane would be very happy with his replacement of Allman Brothers and Clapton's band.
I have seen much of Doyle Bramhall II at Clapton's side providing great support for the master and he did just that last night, although he took his turn in the spot light with some nice solos. As for the rest of the band they had all mastered there instruments providing a tight band all taking a solo or two. Clapton shared the guitar parts around but dominated very strongly. Clapton did basically all the lead vocals and he did it exceptionally well. Clapton proved to the predominately balding audience that he had in fact not lost the vigor that had earned him the status of God so early in his career and the reputation as one of the greatest guitarist ever.


Review by Andrew Power
I had the pleasure of attending Rod Laver Arena to see EC play and had a fantastic night. I became an EC fan in about '91, yes a year after he last toured here! So when this tour was announced, I wasn't going to miss out. I shelled out BIG to get there (front row!) but it was well worth it. Eric was in great form. I wasn't initially that keen on the big band idea, but they did it pretty well. Doyle Bramhall is great, like Eric he's happy to be in the background, and unlike one review, he didn't yawn once that I saw! Derek Trucks - WOW! I found myself occasionally fixed on the others... the rhythm section is terrific.... Willie Weeks has a great groove and feel, and Steve Jordan is so energetic...

I would have liked some more "well-known" songs too, but to see what these musicians create on stage was the best! After the Cream reunion shows, it would be kind of hard I imagine, for Eric to try and do those songs with other musicians...Loved the acoustic set, particularly "Driftin'" and "Nobody Knows You" Would have liked to see Nathan East and Andy Fairweather-Low but hey, you couldn't complain about the quality of these guys... they were great!

Crowd seemed very polite... only when Layla began did we get up to the security rail..as for those who complained EC looked tired - He's 61 years old for God's sake! And he's never really been a chatty performer onstage...so get off his case... I was glad to be there!


Review by Del Thomas
I couldn't get tickets for the New Zealand gig (thanks to all the touts who grabbed them and then sold them at massive profit on the net!! I refuse to give someone double the face price for a ticket - even for EC!). So, having always said I would travel to Australia if he ever came this way I grabbed tickets for the first Melbourne gig when it was announced.

The concert made a fantastic highlight to a great Oz holiday for my wife, 10 year old son and myself. My only gripe was that a $200 seat was still a long way back from the stage - thank goodness for the screens at each side of the stage!

I've read a few reviews which have commented on the choice of material on this tour but I think it's a great selection highlighting the older Dominos material. And let's face it, with a slide player like Derek Trucks in the band why wouldn't they play that stuff? He is surely every bit as good as Duane Allman ever was.

I really hope that they produce a DVD of this tour as it would make a great addition to the Hyde Park set and the other DVD's which tend to have very similar setlists on them.

It was good to see all three guitarists swapping solos and the interplay they had with Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon. Some have said that they wanted to hear more of EC playing but I think it's good to see him as a member of a band and slotting in with the other players. After all, that was the reason he chose to play with Delaney and Bonnie and then form Blind Faith and the Dominos all these years ago. He is still clearly the band leader and main focus of the show without dominating it.

And for the folk who say that that he doesn't interact with the audience much, well presumably they've never watched any of the other DVD's or been to one of his gigs before. That's just the way he is. If you want to have someone chat to you between songs or crack jokes then, go see a comedy show!

Having waited 15 years since I last saw him, I was not disappointed in any way. Neither were my wife or son who is still in awe of the fact that he was even in the same place as one of his heroes (my fault, I've probably brainwashed him since birth!!). I was just sad that it all came to an end too quickly. I only hope that EC continues to tour for many years to come and doesn't leave it so long before he returns to Australia again.


Review Chet O'Connell - Auckland, New Zealand.
I am surprised at the amount of negative reviews coming in from the current tour. The one that stand out was from the February 3rd show in Melbourne. I saw the show in New Zealand and thought it was fantastic. People need to understand Eric is a fantastic guitarist and vocalist. He has a huge back catalogue of music and has every right to play whatever set list he chooses. He has spent the past 30 - 40 years touring and playing certain songs and I thought it was great that he was re-visiting some of his early work. He has two other guitarists on stage and it is his choice to feature them. His playing is still brilliant and full of passion and if people can't see that they need to get a grip on reality. You go to a concert to listen to great music and watch a band. He isn't there to talk and tell stories, he's there to play music and I loved the fact that he played and didn't waste concert time talking. If people can't go to show and enjoy it for what it is they must lead pretty sad lives.


Review by Sue Robinson
We were fortunate to get great seats (3rd row) for this long-awaited return by the maestro and were gobsmacked by the great playing by all the band. What a treat it was to hear the Derek and the Dominoes songs played with such passion and brilliance, particularly loved Derek Trucks on these. His slide playing was sublime, he really got inside the music, 'in the zone' except when Doyle intruded with what looked like random chatter.

Our highlights: Tell the Truth, Little Wing, Layla and Cocaine both to die for, but the biggest blast was the triple-guitar attack of Motherless Children. Eric still stands above all other guitarists in the purity of tone and depth of emotion he wrings from his guitar.
Of course we too would have loved to hear more solos from him, maybe next time.....but it was great to see him enjoying the music played by his band. And as for talking, he doesn't need to, he communicates everything through his music.

Those who went expecting a similar setup to EC's last visit may have been disappointed, but these days the information on current tour setlists/performers etc. is readily available and keeping up to date with these things helps you get maximum value for your concert dollar.
Amazing to think that there was no internet last time EC was here, please Eric don't leave it so long between tours again!


Review by Sue Davies, Hororata, Canterbury, New Zealand
I first heard Eric Clapton when I was a 15 year old school girl in Taranaki NZ. 35 years later I finally saw him in concert, I missed getting tickets to his Hawkes Bay concert, so Melbourne was the next best thing. What a concert it was! I didn't go to have a conversation with him, I wanted him to sang to me, and he did just that, Every song was perfect his band amazing, Eric is the man, I probably won't see him again, but I don't mind, I have lived to see a legend. thanks Eric.


Review by Dave Hollands
Was it the best concert I have ever seen? Very high probability, I'm having trouble naming a better one, but it is still so fresh in my mind. Eric started with Tell the Truth and Key to the Highway and I was thinking that this is pretty good. But when he hit Little Wing, I was blown away. This is surely the best version of Little Wing I have ever heard. The guitar tone, the band tightness, the solos, the power chords, it was magic.

I saw Eric Clapton in Adelaide somewhere around 1975 and it was clearly the worst concert I have ever heard. I felt like Eric owed me one and he has now paid the debt in spades. In 75 he was so out of it that he was playing in different keys to the band and out of time. It was horrible. There was a blissful time when he dropped his guitar and was unable to pick it up. He left the stage for 20 minutes and the band played some beautiful music without him. It says something about the man that he returned to the stage in a vain attempt to continue.
I have seen enough DVDs (Concert for George, Crossroads, the new Cream) to know that I must have been one of the very few people on Earth never to have seen a great Clapton concert. Now I believe that I have seen the best. Any number of songs were the best versions I have heard.

Derek Trucks was amazing. I had the feeling that Eric was introducing the next generation to us. There was a beautiful moment when the band dropped the volume and Trucks was able to demonstrate his mastery of tone on that slide. I don't know what the song was, but his sound was truly beautiful. The name Trucks rang a bell and I recalled Butch Trucks. I was pleased to find the link to the old Allman Brothers band. Driftin Blues was superb, perfectly clean acoustic blues from the master, Motherless children was a standout, Wonderful Tonight showed Eric's sensitive vocals, and of course there was "Layla". I had the feeling that Eric is still trying to perfect this epic. With Trucks faithfully playing the Allman solos, Eric was trying to add even more harmonic complexity behind it, sometimes succeeding fantastically, and sometimes he had Trucks looking on as if to say "where are you going now". Layla was always a complex piece and I had the feeling that in the latter half, the Allman solos tended to lose the power and surety of the earlier half. Eric is trying to fix that, and I wonder if he will totally succeed by the end of the tour. It is still an epic, and I was there to see it, some 30 plus years after that miserable experience in Adelaide. Hey, I want to buy a DVD of the show.