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5 June 2008 - Eric Clapton & His Band

Location

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater Wantagh , NY
United States
New York US
Band Lineup: 

Eric Clapton - guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II - guitar, backing vocals
Chris Stainton - keyboards
Pino Palladino - bass
Ian Thomas - drums
Michelle John - backing vocals
Sharon White - backing vocals

Support: 
Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Special Guest: 

Robert Randolph - pedal steel *

Set List: 

01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. Little Wing
05. Outside Woman Blues
06. Double Trouble
07. Don't Knock My Love
08. Ramling On My Mind
09. Rockin' Chair
10. Motherless Child
11. Travelling Riverside Blues
12. Running On Faith
13. Motherless Children
14. Little Queen of Spades
15. Before You Accuse Me
16. Wonderful Tonight
17. Layla
18. Cocaine
19. I've Got My Mojo Working (encore) *

Show Notes: 

Eric Clapton wrapped his 11 date U.S. / Canada Tour on 5 June with a sold-out oceanside concert. The venue is located on Long Island, 33 miles from New York City. The tour will pick up later in the month with a series of dates in Ireland, England and Europe.

Surprisingly on the last night of this leg, EC changed his solo acoustic song to "Rambling On My Mind" - at the majority of the previous shows, he performed "Driftin''.

Trey Anastasio (Phish) joined Robert Randolph & The Family Band on stage during their opening set.

Fan Reviews: 

Review by J. Blake Fichera / New York City
It was a crisp and cloudy night in Long Island on Thursday night June 5th, but fans still flocked to the outdoor Nikon Theater at Jones Beach to see a living guitar legend.

Clapton took to the stage with a slight limp in his step, but opened the show with a lively rendition of the Dominos classic Tell the Truth. Doyle Bramhall II did a good job of providing slide guitar fills on this opening number, but in my personal opinion it was the over abundance of his guitar work that made this show sub-par.

Starting the tour in 2006, Clapton had the young and extremely talented Derek Trucks playing alongside him. The two appeared to be equally sharing the bulk of the lead work and it was wonderful. Here Clapton seems to be giving Bramhall the same opportunity, but unfortunately the young lefthander lacks the skill and talent of the blonde pony-tailed slide guitar prodigy. Bramhall took a lengthy solo on possibly every song tonight and as a slide player he is more than adequate, but otherwise, he is really just average. His playing just does not hold up against Clapton's and as a spectator who paid good money and sat in hours of traffic to see Ol' Slowhand, it was frustrating to have to sit through his mediocre solo after solo.

The concert was very blues heavy, which is a big plus in my book, but aside from a few moments of real "fire" it seemed rushed and a little lackluster. Clapton's solos seemed really cut short in order to allow Bramhall and keyboardist Chris Stainton their turns. They quickly barreled through most of the songs and ended the show with seemingly short renditions of Wonderful Tonight and Layla and a tired version of Cocaine.

Though this may have been one of the weaker Clapton shows I have seen, it did also have its good and interesting moments. I always find his performances of Little Wing very moving and with tonight's version he introduced a chorus FX pedal. It has been a long time since I've heard Clapton's guitar have any other sound than his regular overdrive.

Though I was hoping for a more "Cream-ish" version of Outside Women Blues, tonight's version was more of an electrified version of the acoustic one they had playing during the "sit down" portion of past shows. Though it was not what I was hoping for it was still very good and interesting. Wilson Pickett's Don't Knock My Love was a nice and welcome addition to the set, as was the mellow song Rockin' Chair.
Though Clapton had been opening the "sit down" portion of these recent shows with a solo acoustic rendition of Driftin, tonight he opted for the Robert Johnson classic Ramblin' On My Mind. It was a wonderful version, but should be noted that he sang the first verse as, "I am driftin', I got ramblin' all on my mind." Did he change his mind last minute? Did he decide on the switch earlier and just forgot for a second? Unfortunately, only he knows.

Motherless Child was also a nice touch, though drummer Ian Thomas' beat seemed a little off to me. Double Trouble is always great when Clapton plays it, but unfortunately this version did not live up to the intense 16+ minute version that he played on the third night of the Winwood show in February. The encore of the Muddy Waters' classic I Got My Mojo Workin' with Robert Randolph on Lap Steel was worth the price of admission in my opinion. I saw them do this song together in 2004 and both times it brought down the house. The only thing that really could've stepped this encore up a notch is if Phish's Trey Anastasio, who had joined Randolph and the Family Band earlier in the evening, also sat in on this driving blues standard.

Overall this was not the best Clapton show I have seen, but it was still very good and a fun experience.

Review by Ken Zagorski / Medford NY
My wife and I attended the Jones Beach show on June 5, 2008. It was the first time ever that we have seen EC in concert. EC is unreal in person. Forget ANY possibility that he is a product of the "studio". It is 100% pure him and his supporting cast of musicians that made the night a wonderful evening out with my wife.

I'm just a little disappointed with EC in regards to him warming up to the crowd. I realize he lets his music speak for him, however, he seems to be un-attached to the crowd. The ironic part is he is so passionate while entertaining and his facial expressions tell us all how deep he is into this music. I guess we can't have everything… for the most part, his dialogue with the audience was "Good Evening" and "Thank You" after every song had completed. Maybe just a bit more on the warm and fuzzy for him on that. Otherwise, what a great time and show. Well worth the money.

Review by Kathleen / Bayport NY
I was so excited to see the set list for this show was so Blues heavy. I have been annoying everyone around me for weeks about how awesome this show was going to be! He is always phenomenal and mesmermizing to watch. I am a huge fan.

Unfortunately, I must say, I feel as the others do who have posted reviews, that his lack of engaging the audience or being personable was (sadly) most lacking on this evening. To me, that is part of the experience when going to see a live show. Maybe he didn't feel well or had something else going on?

He did not speak to the audience, save for Good Evening, This one is for Bo and Thank You after each song. Surprisingly, he didn't introduce the band. And, he barely even smiled - except for once or twice. I must say, when those very few times did come, we were all smiling with him - ear to ear.

Unfortunately, we all also felt that the show was a bit rushed. And maybe the other band members solos went on a little long although they were wonderfully talented musicians as well. But, for the ticket prices, the cost of the babysitter, the gas, the time and the traffic, 'm sorry to say that I was a little disappointed. Mostly, as I said, in the lack of any audience connection. I know that's not what the show is about. It's about the music and the music was amazing. But, I want to feel something more when I leave a show. I am such a huge fan but, out of all the times I've seen him, this was not the best.

Review by Susan Marchman / Macon, Georgia
Dusk was falling on Jones Beach as a burst of applause moved my attention from the sparkle and ripple of the waters of Zach's Bay toward the sound of a long sustained chord, growing ever louder and ending in a fit of feedback, as Eric, in trademark casual stroll, approached the mic. This humble entrance always strikes me as ironic, but it's Eric through and through. Sometimes we get a playful noodling. But tonight it was this simple and seamless ease into the performance that complemented so perfectly the laidback vibe of the seaside landscape.

Clapton's beautiful, melodic tone piercing thru the ocean breeze as the waves undulated just to the left of me was the stuff of magic, and the effect gave the show something of a Zen-like air. It would rock, it would soar, and then it would meander sweetly and poignantly. It was a standard Clapton show: sometimes splendidly subdued; sometimes ablaze like a house on fire. And regardless of Clapton's bent, it was a standout show on this mini-tour of the U.S. and Canada.

From an especially moving to the point of heartbreaking Little Wing, to the unabashed joy that was Got My Mojo Working, Eric seemed to really wear his heart on his sleeve this night.

The always sublime Little Wing, for example, came from somewhere else tonight. In a longer than usual intro, Eric wandered achingly thru twists and turns at a deliberate and slower pace that he maintained throughout. this more thoughtful and meditative amble, along with a vocal that had a wistfulness that was palpable, lent an air of pure melancholy unlike the more than half dozen versions I'd heard in the last year. (["A]nd ridin' with the wind." that Eric has added this line in later years delights me to no end, whether he sings it first refrain as he did on occasion in '07 and at Madison Square Garden a few months ago, or second refrain in these later shows.)

For a little friendly competition and a high old time, Got My Mojo Working always brings out the best in Eric and Robert. And this time, Eric brought out a big gun I've never seen him draw in this brotherly battlefest--with a big grin, he launched into the Layla riff a few times sequentially at a higher speed. Pure joy and rapture!

Other thoughts: Outside Woman Blues has a new arrangement this tour that makes the earlier versions sit up and take notice, but don't tell Jack and Ginger. The extended opening jam on Don't Knock My Love really rocked and endeared me to this one even more so than the first couple times out with this one. The acoustic numbers were a treasure; each and every song a gem. From my seat, clear as a bell, and hearing every note picked cleanly and clearly was a treat after so many arena shows blunting this experience with muddy sound. Rockin' Chair seemed particularly moving tonight and Running on Faith has become even more gorgeous this tour.

The consensus among a few hardcore, multi-show goers was that tonight's version of Wonderful Tonight was especially tender and sweet. If you know what the hardcore usually think about this casual fan favorite, you know what a ringing endorsement this is and against all odds at that.

I understand that many rate a show on a predominance of firepower, and while I get that, I think if that's one's primary focus, one will miss much that is equally transcendent. And yes, if one compares something like the ethereal Double Trouble from the recent Garden shows with tonight's abridged version, one will generally prefer the more expansive workout of the former above the latter, but a Clapton performance is so much more than the essence of firepower and length of solo; there is much nuance and subtlety to consider. Tonight, I think Eric played with a touch of mellow that made the soulful even more profound, and the high points even more exuberant. Gorgeous.

Official Recording: 

 

Bootleg Recording(s): 

Blues Explorer (Mid Valley Sampler - 2 CD)

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