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7 March 2007 - Eric Clapton & His Band

Location

Pepsi Center Denver , CO
United States
Colorado US
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: 
Robert Cray Band
Special Guest: 

Robert Cray – guitar / vocals*

Set List: 

01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Little Wing
05. Anyday
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)

Show Notes: 

 

Fan Reviews: 

Review by Tony Harp from Fort Collins, Colorado
Tonight's show in Denver was amazing! I had been waiting for this night ever since Clapton kicked off this tour last May 2006. And, I was anything but disappointed. I knew the show was going to be good but I was completely amazed with how incredible it all was. EC played better than I have heard him play on anything before; his musical vocabulary just gets larger and larger. This band was the definition of a well oiled machine. Nothing out of place and everything tight and right where it belonged. Stunning musicianship all around. Derek Trucks lived up to all of the reviews, as I knew he would. I have never seen him have a bad show and tonight was absolutely no different. Doyle Bramhall provided excellent vocals along with the 2 great back-up vocalists. And when Doyle stepped up for guitar work he paid homage to the late great Albert King in his own Texas way.

It was much more than just an Eric Clapton show, it was like going to church and leaving with the spirit. Tonight's version of Layla was absolutely impeccable. I was happy to hear "Anyday" which is one I hoped he would pull out since he hadn't done it in a few shows. The funkier version of "Got To Get Better In A Little While" was so full of groove that you couldn't help but move and "Little Wing" was magical. Great stuff from the master. Clapton may not be a god but he sure played like one tonight.
I could go on for pages about this show but will end with a gigantic thank you to Eric and his fine band for a show like no other I have ever seen, and hope to be privileged to experience again. Kudos and cheers Eric, see you on the next tour.

Review by Rick Gillespie, Superior, Colorado
This was the second time I've seen Clapton perform live. The first was 3 years ago when he last came through Denver. This time, though, we had our 2 teenage daughters in tow. Once again, Eric showed why he is "The Master". The set list was back to the same as in Dallas, with "Anyday" replacing "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad" from the previous 3 concerts.

The crowd was on their feet as soon as Clapton hit the stage, and stayed there until the sit-down set. His work on Driftin' Blues/Outside Woman Blues was fantastic. I can't imagine sitting on a stage exposed like that! The highlight, naturally, was "Layla" (my favourite song for 30-some years now); that was the song that finally got the audience back on their feet and rockin' out.
Perhaps it was just the area where I was sitting, but I felt like the audience just wasn't into it. The crowd spent more than half the concert sitting, and attempts to just get them clapping along didn't succeed very well. I don't know if it was unfamiliarity with the songs (if not for "whereseric.com" I wouldn't have heard Driftin' Blues before) or what. My wife wished he would address, and connect with, the audience more. As great as the concert was, I still prefer the 2004 show.

Review by William Marlow, Denver
I've seen eric many many times over the years and that totals probably 22 plus shows. I saw the show last night in denver and was not disappointed. For me, Clapton shows tend to fall into 'what he thinks people wnt to hear' so...he tends to play a lot of the same tunes year after year. I could go on and on about all of the tunes eric has written or recorded that I would love to hear him tackle live. Oh well. Having said that I must say the show last night was very good. To hear 'Anyday' was awesome and Eric did a beautiful version of 'Little wing'. Having been following the set list latley I was dissappointed that he did not play 'why does love got to be so sad" during the domino's set. I think eric's solo on this tune from 'Derek and the Dominos in concert' is what drew me closer to his music after cream when I was a Kid. At any rate eric is playing with some intense and selective ferosity now.

Review by GP Anderson, Denver, CO
As soon as I heard that Eric Clapton has been playing big chunks of his old Derek and the Dominoes material on his current tour, I started reminiscing about Derek and the Dominos, In Concert, one of the greatest live albums of the classic rock era (right up there with Live at the Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers). The Dominos' 1973 release got played so much while I was in college, it's single handedly responsible for wearing out more than one phonograph needle, hearing loss, significant amounts of spilt beer, possible carpel tunnel syndrome from too much air guitar and probably several pieces of broken furniture. It's a double album with only 8 songs (for the math challenged, that's two per side). The album has more jams than Smuckers; and tastier too. A few years later, Clapton put out another double live album with a different band called Just One Night recorded in 1979. If Derek and the Dominos, In Concert is like skiing Aspen with two feet of new snow, Just One Night is like strapping on your skis in Harlingen, Texas; flat, dull, pointless. For years it was a mystery how one Eric Clapton album could be the height of rock nirvana and another, recorded only a few years later could be such a flop.

The answer came in 1990 with the release of a three CD version of the Layla album. The first CD contained the original double Layla album, the second CD was alternate versions and out-takes and the third was simply entitled, The Jams. The liner notes describe how the band went into the studio and simply jammed for days on end; most of the time with the tape rolling. With that kind of practice, they turned into one cohesive, organic unit. A recent back to back listening of 1973 Derek and 1979 Eric revealed a big discrepancy with the rhythm section. Dominoes Carl Radle on bass and Jim Gordon on drums bore a significant responsibility for the energy of In Concert. Radle is up and down the fretboard relentlessly, Gordon is all over the drum kit, spending much of his time on the ride cymbal and generally laying down all sorts of poly rhythms. In contrast, Henry Spinetti and Dave Markee on drums and bass in the Just One Night band are little more than mere time keepers.

Last night, Eric 2007 came close to 1973 Dominoes. Whereas Derek and the Dominoes In Concert was a quartet, Clapton has more than doubled that size with his touring nine piece band. The result is a different sound from either of those 70s concert albums. Drummer Steve Jordon and bassist Willie Weeks didn't quite live up to the Radle/Gordon combo. Typical of a large venue, the bass was muddy and so it was tough to tell exactly what Weeks was doing. The exception was the funky bass jam in the middle of Got to Get Better in a Little While. That was some fun. Michelle John and Sharon White on backing vocals added some interest and spice to the veteran tunes. Both a piano and the classic Hammond B-3 organ sound great with this type of music and in the Dominoes, Bobby Whitfield switched back and forth. Well, it's now the 21st Century; why compromise? Last night Clapton had two keyboard players, Chris Stainton on piano (mainly) and Tim Carmon on organ. The dual keyboards added to the complexity of the sound and helped with the rearrangements of the classic songs.

However, the most obvious difference between 1973 and 2007 was the guitar-force front line. EC was joined by his usual backup guitarist of the last few years, Doyle Bramhall II, but most notably, Derek Trucks as well. Trucks has his own band (The Derek Trucks Band) and he's also a member of the Allman Brothers and he (along with Warren Haynes) has been a significant factor in the revitalization of that band. Still in his 20s, he's widely considered one of the top guitarists around today and his addition to Clapton's band added a whole new dimension. Not only is it appropriate for Derek Trucks to be in the band that is playing Derek and the Dominoes material simply because of his name, it's also appropriate because the late Duane Allman was a significant contributor to the original Layla album. Full circle.

Clapton allowed his guitar compatriots plenty of opportunities to fire off their own licks. Some critics of the current tour have complained that Clapton has been giving the other guys too much room to solo and EC wasn't doing enough. For my money, I thought it was great fun. Each guitarist has his own distinctive style. Bramall tends toward sharp, biting riffs. Trucks played slide most of the time laying down smooth, melodic lines punctuated by a growl when he drops the slide to the far end of the neck for a couple nanoseconds, then goes back up top. Clapton, of course, has been in a class by himself since practically the middle of the last century. Last night his soloing was right on. Not all flash all the time, but the speed was there when he wanted to put the hammer down. Having the two younger fellas in the band pushes him keep on growin' and reaching out. On the slow blues tunes in particular, he didn't just play melodies, he poured out emotion in a cathartic release (for him and the audience).

The first five tunes of the evening were classic Derek and the Dominoes fare. Key to the Highway was in a strange time signature that I couldn't quite figure out, but it was fun to hear that old chestnut turned around. Little Wing was much more Hendrixesque than the version on the Layla album. For this one, Clapton went with a pure guitar tone, much like Jimi's version on Axis: Bold As Love. Driftin' Blues was the beginning of the sit down set with Clapton and his acoustic guitar going solo. One guy with one guitar, sitting center stage in a sold out basketball arena and he had the audience enraptured. There's a mark of a world class performer. Back with the full band and everybody standing up, Little Queen of Spades was a real highlight. This one, more than most of the rest, featured extended solos by everybody including long time Clapton collaborator Stainton on piano. Here the contrasting styles of the guitarists (and Stainton, too, for that matter) were most prominent.

Wonderful Tonight has been a Clapton concert staple for years and its best use is as a contrast with Layla as the following tune. That one, of course, always pushes the crowd to a frenzy. The coda provides the dramatic ending. One downside on the Layla coda was Stainton's pounding on the piano. That's a great barrelhouse style for solos on slow blues tunes like Little Queen of Spades, but a lighter touch is called for on the Layla finale. Cocaine, the first tune of the encore is always another crowd pleaser and it was great to hear Crossroads to wrap things up. Opener Robert Cray came on stage for this one and sang the opening chorus, played some guitar and sang in duet with Clapton for another chorus. A four guitar front line; what a great way to end.

The last time Clapton was through Denver was July 2004. He worked in a lot of hits in that show too, but he only repeated four tunes last night from that prior show. Certainly that shows his depth of material. It's no wonder though, having been at this for over 40 years now. I don't know about his finances, but I'll guess that he really doesn't have to tour to make ends meet. I'm just glad he's still out there and still playing. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix and Ray Charles are no longer touring. Clapton still is and I'll be there for all the rest of his Denver shows.

Review by Jeff Wilson
What an awesome talent. Eric was absolutely on fire and effortlessly displayed why God put him on this Earth last night. After a nice warm up from the Robert Cray Band, the lights dimmed promptly at 8:30. The band took their places and Eric casually strolled out already strumming the opening riffs of "Tell The Truth". This was a pleasure to see he had changed the set list from earlier in the tour when he was opening with "Pretending". He is much more into the Derek & the Dominoes material currently, and the entire first part of the show reflects it. Eric's voice has really gotten better with age. He can groan the blues like the masters and belt out the lyrics with depth and feeling. He is letting the band do their job providing him a solid backing while he gets warmed up with some punctual solos. Eric stretches out as long as he likes then turns and nods to Doyall to have a go. Doyall has many different guitars during the evening and it is interesting to watch him play. Being left handed and stringing his guitars upside down (from years playing with Doyall senior's guitars) it is evident he has a couple favorites. It is also evident that he means business with his stage gear. In fact, every time he takes a solo Derek put earplugs in!

Then the spotlight focus is on Derek Trucks. What an amazing talent. He has such depth, tone control and feeling that it is amazing he has only been on tour since the age on 9. He looks as if he was born on stage. He plays slide and lead (without slide) with equal virtuosity. Many times during the evening he would quote Duane directly, but often he would nod to him just enough and go in a completely new, but relevant direction. Each guitarist taking his own solo, the tune then returns to Eric and he shows all why he is the boss. Every time he came due he delivered a more intense barrage of guitar assault than before. It was unbelievable how he could keep topping himself time after time.
Next up the go into an updated "Key to the Highway". A long time favorite of Eric's, it has a new tempo and the night is geared towards the blues. More trading of licks all around and the tune winds up squarely on Eric's able shoulders. Without a break they transition into the Dominoes' staple "Got to Get Better in a Little While". This is a booty shakin upbeat number that hasn't been trotted out since the day, but on this tour it sounds better than ever. It gets stretched in so many different directions and even gets an early drum break from Steve Jordan. It is funny the way the song seems to wrap up and people think it is over, applauding wildly- only to have Eric revisit the entire melody again to finish the lyrics and draw it to it's proper conclusion.

We finally get a breather and Eric says "Good Evening!" Then with the first few notes of the Hendrix classic "Little Wing" Eric lifts the entire arena to the heavens as Jimi's spirit is evoked with loving testimony. As the crows begins to realize the magnitude of this event there are audible gasps of disbelief. What a majestic tune! Such hippy, trippy lyrics with visions of butterflies and zebras and the open confession of love. Fly on little wing, After that if you are not stunned and blown to the four winds, you are not alive.

Then comes one on my absolutely favorite Derek & the Dominoes tunes of all time "Anyday". I just can't believe my good luck in getting the dream set. When I first saw he was performing this tune at the beginning of the tour in London (and he didn't show a Denver date on tour yet), I knew I had to fly away to see it. I didn't get it together for the east coast, and he had already dropped it most shows. Then in Japan he put it back in and he still hadn't announced another American leg. When it finally was announced I was so relieved to see the set evolve into the present form. If my luck holds out I'll get "Why Does Love Got to be So Sad" in Vegas. I just hope Willie Weeks can prove that bass line is as solid as it should be. That is what really drives that tune. Well, I can't go on much more other than to say the triple slide guitar in "Motherless Children" is stunning. The blending of Derek & Eric in "Layla" is poetry and the encores are just good time fun rocking.
I really enjoyed sitting up that close and having actual eye contact with the band. They really enjoyed Denver and were smiling and joking quite a bit. There were 2 young stoner dudes in the second row that were cracking up Derek and Doyall. At the end of the night Derek stole several picks off of Doyall's mike stand and threw them at these two. When Doyall saw that he picked up Derek's Gibson SG and pretended to toss it off the stage to them. You should have seen his face. Priceless.

Review by Michael Barrow
What can one say, the adjectives seem to be trite after a while. Eric and band made their visit to Denver last night and all were treated to guitar brilliance. I had those words to say about EC's visit to Denver during the "Nothing but the Blues" Tour. Mr Clapton has settled into a comfortable pattern. No longer the tortured artist, he's the shining star that most of us look to for soaring electric guitar. While Eric looks to Robert Johnson, we look to him and when he flashes his stuff, it's scary, incredible, and breathtaking. No longer the uneven performer that we saw in the 70's, EC creates a comfortable schedule to balance his life with performing, and surrounds himself with incredible talent to perform feats of sonic wonder on a consistent basis.

Last night's show was no exception. Bringing along Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall is infusing has spark into the next generation, much like Muddy Waters took a shine to EC back in the day. The setlist suited the lineup quite well. Little Wing just soared and Motherless Children was a slide guitar orgasm.... I thought I needed a cigarette afterward! In my opinion, the only downtick of the evening was Wonderful Tonight, but even that performance was impeccable. I've just tired of it. I believe EC is aware of the legacy he has created and is sprinkling the world with his spark into those that will follow.... I am grateful for the opportunities he gives us to experience the real thing and hope that many more opportunities will come. And if there's a DVD beign produced from this tour, sign me up!

Next show for me is in Kansas City, Derek will be gone and I expect a very different show! I hope EC can get John Mayer to tour with him sometime soon. Now that would be interesting!

Review by Brenda - Berthoud,CO
There are no words to describe such an evening. I have been waiting all my life to see Mr. Clapton. My friend and I walked out of the Pepsi Center with our mouths wide open, all we could say to each other was "Wow."

Thank you Mr. Clapton and crew. Anyone reading this is probably already a fan and understands what kind of legend/master walks out on stage when Eric Clapton performs. You already have an appreciation for the man and his music; the grasp of what he has contributed to the world of music; so many types/forms of music.

He has surrounded himself with musicians that have passion, talent and love of what they do. Everyone could feel it last night. You gave us more than a hundred percent.

After following Mr. Clapton's career for about 30 years and anticipating the moment when I would be able to see him perform, I was not disappointed. In fact I am still floating on a cloud this morning. Thank you Mr. Clapton!

Official Recording: 

 

Bootleg Recording(s):