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
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
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 Mat Wennergren - Salt Lake City, Utah
This was the second time I've seen Clapton and this show blew the first one away completely. The entire band worked so well together, every note played by every player had a purpose and elevated the music to a new level. I'm a huge fan of Derek Trucks and tonight he once again had an incredible night. His solo in little queen of spades was some of the finest blues guitar soloing I've heard in a long time and I've been playing guitar for 16 years so I've heard a lot of those solos. Clapton proved that he's still got it and I thought his playing was much more inspired than I've heard recently. His licks were clean, fast and full of lots of fire and soul. Doyle Bramhall II was great also, adding fantastic vocals and rhythm work to some of the best of the Dominos catalog. Although this was an Eric Clapton concert, what kept striking me over and over was how much of the spotlight the rest of the band received. In fact the first tune, Tell The Truth, did not even feature a solo by Clapton. Instead Clapton gave the solo time over to Trucks for the entire tune. By sharing the spotlight, Clapton elevated the concert from just an Eric Clapton show to a showcase of incredible musicianship from many different players, including the opening act Robert Cray. Overall this show simply proved why Clapton is still able to sell out 15,000+ arenas still without breaking a sweat. He is a master and always will be and the level of musicianship he brings to the stage, both in his playing and the musicians he chooses to bring his songs to life, is rarely matched in today's music scene.
Review by Drew Williams - Springville, Utah
In the land of "Zion," or the "Crossroads of the West," as the locals like to refer to this place, the most "legendary" musical talent is the Sunday Morning recording of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (you know, those folks that do the "Halleluia" chorus better than anyone George Fredric Handel could ever have dreamed of.
But once in awhile (and I stress "awhile"), someone comes along and reminds this little isolated state in the mountains, what it's like to shake the foundations of God's Country. I heard it when Steven Tyler and Company came to town with those four dudes in make-up and platform soles, back in 2003. I heard it when the good Mr. Page and Mr. Plant showed up (twice) years before.
But then "HE" showed up. Eric Clapton. Slow Hand himself. And he brought Layla with him.
What could possibly compare to one of the five greatest guitar players of the 20th century--perhaps of all time--when he launches into a sonic phalanx of blues and riffs so embedded into the souls of air guitarists the world over?
When I was catching my city bus ride from outside the late Mr. Handel's house on London's Brook Street, to Victoria Station in early May 2006, I saw this huge line forming outside Royal Albert Hall. "Oh yeah," said the driver. "Cream is reuiniting tonight." I begged, conned, smiled a lot, even promised to strip naked and jump around like a monkey--just for the chance to see "THE Man" in that historic performance. But nobody was planning on missing that night.
"What would be the odds of this guy coming to Utah?" I asked myself.
I could pray, I thought.
And then, on Thursday night, it happened. With all of the fire becoming of a sixties-era Rock. . .um. . ."Pioneer," with a powerful voice that one might consider what a 1959 Harley Davidson Panhead might sound like if it could sing (it doesn't?) and with a cadre of artists who would rival the Yardbirds themselves, The Good Mr. Clapton demonstrated to this modestly moderate crowd of mostly middle-aged conservatives what it was like to REALLY ROCK.
No Screamo, no whining young guys with black nail polish and a penchant for dysfunctional pinings--nope. Just the ultimate rock-cum-blues guitar god himself, along with a few of his archangels.
And--thankfully--there were no tears in Heaven this night.
I wish just one of the MoTab would have been there to "feel" the spirit of the Crossroads. Sunday morning might have a bit more bite in the Spoken Word.
Review by Don Porter - West Point, UT
Two words sum up the Salt Lake show: guitar extravaganza. Six years after his last SLC date, EC returned with a new style, new attitude and the sort of guitar gymnastics I'd wager we've never seen 'round these parts. The thing I liked most: It was rockin' and bluesy beyond belief. While Clapton's shows have always had that technically pristine quality -- a byproduct of assembling the very best musicians -- this one had a little extra gut to it.
I loved the way the band ripped through "Tell the Truth" and "Key to the Highway" (the latter a personal favorite), then jumped right into "Got to Get Better in a Little While" with nary a pause. The crowd was jumpin' and I even saw EC and Doyle II trading a couple of grins.
I loved the way EC reached back into the catalogue for some Cream and Derek tunes, and the sit-down set was another mind-blower, since Clapton always seems to reinvent these songs you assumed were as good as they could be. "Driftin'," especially, was a revelation. And then the energy built steadily from that solo EC number right up through "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" to "Running on Faith." It was the perfect foundation for a blistering, slide-fest between EC and DerekTrucks on "Motherless Children"; my eardrums will take days to recover, but the ringing's worth it.
I gotta say, too, that the rhythmic transformation of Robert Johnson's "Little Queen of Spades" was just plain fun -- turned the arena into a little ol' juke joint for a few minutes. And, hey, it got even better from there: "Layla,"Cocaine" and a number I thought I'd never get to see EC play live, "Crossroads," with some great vocal and guitar soloing by Robert Cray.
I'm with everyone else who's been offering their two bits about the shows: Derek Trucks is the real deal. I'd add that Steve Jordan's drumming was, as I anticipated, as good as everything else he does. (Will he be back with the X-Pensive Winos anytime soon, I wonder?)
To be honest, Doyle II seemed a bit off tonight -- vocally, if not on the bass-ackwards Strat. I know he's perpetually sullen onstage, but he seemed almost disinterested at times tonight. And I sure missed Bill Preston on the Hammond. But those are quibbles. I loved the free-flowing jam-band-esque quality of some of the numbers, and the energy was high all night. I'm just hoping we'll see EC back in the city of salt before another six years roll by.
Review by Bruce Mathews, Salt Lake City, Utah
Eric Clapton played last night in Salt Lake City (3/8/07) to a nearly sold out Energy Solutions Arena. It's always seemed when rating as good as it gets that there truly is a bifurcation,i.e., comparing an Eric Clapton concert with any other blues concert and comparing an Eric Clapton concert with other Eric Clapton concerts. Reviews I've read of the night before (3/7/07) in Denver the reviewers effused enthusiasm for the show, the song selections and the accompanying musicians. I wasn't there but my gut impression is that Denver surpassed Salt Lake City's gig. I have never found an Eric Clapton concert not to be worth the price of admission and I'll be brief simply because different people measure concerts from different standards. So it's only my opinion but I have found Eric Clapton concerts to be best the fewer other musicians playing with him. Hence, no reason to justify my rating except to say that 9 people on stage permit, as another reviewer noted at an earlier concert, the other guitarists to do most of the "heavy lifting". This leaves me wishing Eric Clapton had been provided more solo time, more amazing riffs and inimitable stylish blues progressions - instead of less. It occurred to me he was in some ways distracted by something that had nothing to do with the show. I've seen many Eric Clapton shows and his 'distraction', if that's even the right word, was noticeable by his leaving the stage, for example, prior to coming back for the encore. His acknowledgement of the crowd and bonding just seemed missing. The concert moving its way around the country is definitely not one to miss but don't be surprised if you're left hungry for more Eric Clapton. The man still has what it takes to be as good as it gets. The song set was the same as the night before in Denver and it was pleasantly refreshing and different to hear a jazzier rendition of "Key To The Highway"; also noticeable was the pace to "Further On Up The Road" being slower. At one point during "Layla" the band appeared to lose its way or someone was miss-cued. Small quibbles that can hardly be of consequence or value against a fine mixture of blues guitarists. So when all has been said and done, for about 100 minutes at the 100th show, Eric Clapton had reasserted his brilliance as a headliner, and as a judge of talent when forming his band to push him into being even better than the best.
Review by Jason Russell, Spanish Fork, Utah
Ever since I bought the Crossroads box set as a wide-eyed 17-year-old in 1989, I have imagined what it would be like to see Eric Clapton in concert. I built up an ideal of what such a concert would look like and sound like. As often happens, the reality falls short of the dream. In the case of Eric Clapton in Salt Lake City, this was indeed the caseâ€¦but it didn't fall too far from the dream.
I won tickets on the radio on Dec. 1. I often flip tickets I win on ebay, but this was a special chance to see a true icon, a rock god. No way was I selling these. So, my anticipation has been building for three months. For me, in the upper bowl, the sound seemed just a bit off. Never mind the generally bad acoustics; Trucks in particular sounded like he needed to turn the volume up on his guitar; he was definitely not on 11. But enough of my yakkin', let's boogie!
Robert Cray played for just 30 minutes. I have to admit I haven't kept up with his career, but he was terrific. Good enough that I'll have to check out his material on iTunes.
After 30 minutes, with his band in place, EC strolled onto the stage with his Fender strapped and ripping off the first riff of "Tell the Truth" and we were underway. Derek Trucks set the bar high on the solo, but overall I think it was a weak opener. "Key to the Highway" also felt a little off.
"Got to Get Better in a Little While" was superb. I've loved this song ever since discovering it on Crossroads Disc 3, and I never thought I'd see/hear it live in a million years. It was crazy good. Ironically, it sounded very similar to a Derek and the Dominos version from 1970 I discovered just last week on Wolfgang's Vault. How ironic.
The follow-up of "Little Wing" was also perfection, and these two songs represent the highlight of the show for me. Wow. On just about every song, EC, Trucks, and Bramhall would trade solos. I'd have to say with Don Porter that Bramhall didn't seem to be on. Except for "Little Queen of Spades," his solos lacked fire and originality. But, I'll add my voice to those singing the praises of Derek Trucks. I've been an Allman Brother's fan for many years, and it's clear this kid (what a baby face!) will be around for many, many years to come. He made it look so easy - he just stands there and moves his fingers and these amazing songs come out of his Gibson SG. I'll have to find out when the Allmans will be in Utah.
I don't know if EC usually engages the audience, but he only said "thank you" a few times and "Derek Trucks" once, after a solo. I was surprised he didn't say more. If it weren't for this website, I'm not sure if I'd know who was in the band, because he didn't introduce them. They were very, very good. "Well-oiled machine" is a phrase that comes to mind. As I heard it, Eric was a little weak of voice; but his playing was spot on. How could it be anything less?
The sit-down set was especially good. In fact, this part of the show probably did reach the ideal that I had always imagined. It harkened back to the glory days of Unplugged but with some real soul and a blues backbone to make it all the more memorable.
As for the last five tracks of the regular set, "Motherless Children" was fun with EC and Trucks on "synchronized" slide guitar. I've never been a huge fan of this song, but the band put a lot into it. "Little Queen of Spades" was really a treat. Overall, probably the best solos of the night. "Wonderful Tonight" was soft and delicate and just the way you'd want it. I'm glad EC didn't embellish this song too much, as less really can be more at times.
"Layla," my favorite EC song, was a feast for the ears, and I was so thrilled to hear the extended coda. I had assumed that Trucks would make it possible to do the coda, and he did his best Duane Allman (R.I.P.) impersonation. And of course, EC was fantastic as well. If only the acoustics of the arena had allowed me to better soak in the texture and nuance of this historic song. But, now I can say, "I saw Eric Clapton play 'Layla'." Quite an experience.
"Cocaine" was a little funked out and definitely got the crowd on it's feet for the encores. "Crossroads" wasn't presented how I expected, but it was a rousing conclusion to a very memorable night, and who could argue with four supremely talented guitarists? I've been entertaining the idea of learning guitar for awhile now, and after all these guys made it look so easy, I'm more excited to do so, once graduate school is done.
There were a lot of songs I would have liked to have heard, but it's hard to argue with what I saw. I'll never forget it.