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
The Kick Horns (Simon Clarke – baritone saxophone, Roddy Lorimer – trumpet, Tim Sanders – tenor saxophone)
02. So Tired
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Lost And Found
05. I Shot The Sheriff
07. Back Home
08. I Am Yours
09. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
10. Milkcow’s Calf Blues
11. Running On Faith
12. After Midnight
13. Little Queen Of Spades
14. Everybody Oughta Make A Change
15. Motherless Children
16. Wonderful Tonight
19. Crossroads (encore)
Review by Faye B. / Sheffield
Some call him 'God', some call him 'Slowhand', and other people call him Eric Clapton. If you've come to a concert for techno wizardry and Spinal Tap-esq sets, you'll be disappointed, but if you've come along to a concert for sheer musical genius and an awe inspiring performance, Eric Clapton live is the gig for you.
Making his appearance on stage dressed casually in blue shirt and jeans, EC looked amazing and as good looking as ever speaking as a female fan! Within seconds of being on stage, the band launched into 'Pretending', the crowd went wild and you knew you were in the presence of a true legend. Without pausing for a second, the band raced straight into 'So Tired' from his current album 'Back Home'. The influence of the song is Eric's family, which I think is very touching. In my opinion, family life suits him and I am pleased he has found happiness. Next, Eric and the band took us back to the Dominos era with 'Got to Get Better in a Little While', then back to the present album with 'Lost and Found' - complete with its abrupt ending. Next back to his early solo career, with the favourite 'I Shot the Sheriff' then back once more to the Dominos with 'Anyday'.
It was time to slow the tempo a little, with an acoustic set, starting with the very poignant and heartfelt 'Back Home'. The next song was the romantic 'I Am Yours'. Next up was Bessie Smiths 'Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out'. Eric put down his acoustic guitar and picked up his faithful strat and 'slid' into 'Milk Cow Blues' Still in the mood for slide saw Doyle Bramhall take the lead guitar for 'Running on Faith' whilst Eric took a back seat with his acoustic.
Time to speed up the tempo and get the crowd grooving with the low down and funky (as Robert Cray would say) 'After Midnight'. There were some truly awesome solos from Eric, Doyle and the young Derek Trucks on 'Little Queen of Spades'. Effortlessly moving on into a blistering rendition of 'Motherless Children'. The next song was the first of two of Eric's most recognised songs. Love it of loathe it, 'Wonderful Tonight' is always a well received crowd pleaser - especially from we ladies in the audience! 'Cocaine' saw some members of the audience take to their feet and lose themselves in the music. No Eric Clapton performance would be complete without hearing the absolute power that is 'Layla'.
The band put down the instruments, waved to the crowd and exited the stage. Speaking for myself I felt I had to hear more, it couldn't end! Myself and 12,000 others were not disappointed as after a few minutes that seemed like a lifetime, Eric and the band returned to the stage for the encore which was 'Crossroads' that got the whole of the Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield on their feet and enchanted by the music. Sadly, the show had to end. Eric left the stage after a tremendous standing ovation, raptures applause and cheers.
Thank you Eric and the band for an evening of the best music I'll ever hear - until next time!
Review by Paul Johnson / Wakefield
Just got back from Sheffield, and I have to say I was impressed. To say this was only the bands fifth show, they were tight.
The evening started off well with The Robert Cray Band. They were very good, playing some old stuff and some new stuff off his cracking new album Twenty. To say they were playing with the supporting bands PA system it was very good. Robert had a thing for saying everything was "low down and funky". And it certainly was!
After a short break came the main event. EC came on the stage and they opened up with Pretending. The sound was a touch harsh at first but it soon improved. The first few numbers were mainly dominated by Derek Trucks and his outstanding slide play. Doyle also had a few solos, and credit to him he tried to make his contribution different to that of EC and DT.
A good rendition of So Tired was up next and things were sounding good. Got to get better in a little while was played with conviction.
Lost and Found came up next and EC really started to get into his stride taking control of the song and the solos.
I was really pleased when I heard the opening line of "Sheriff". It was played with and emphasised reggae drum beat from Steve Jordon, who was tight all night. The solo from EC was typical in the way that it built up gradually, although it wasn't his best effort ever.
When they started Anyday the hairs stood up on the back of my neck.
The acoustic set of Back Home, I am Yours and Nobody Knows You quickly followed. I am yours was amazing, with slide work from DT to rival the best. The audience recognised Nobody.... straight away and the atmosphere was starting to improve. Sheffield is normally a sober affair.
Milkcow was played with conviction, but the highlight of the night for me was a great version of Running on Faith. EC played acoustic and did not solo. But don't worry DT played an awesome piece on slide that gave me a shiver.
By this time I was immersed in the music and the rest of the evening went very quickly.
After Midnight was fiery with storming solos from everyone and it went straight into Little Queen Of Spades. For those of you sad to see HYELAW removed from the set list, fear not! Queen is a carbon copy. Played in "C" and at the same tempo as HYELAW. I think it is refreshing to have some different lyrics but the quality solos remain in place. This was the first time I had heard a keyboard all night, Chris played a geat solo but Tim kept quiet. It was only Cocaine at the end on which he soloed, and that wasn't great.
The lowlight was Everybody ought to make a change. Not that it was in anyway performed badly. It just doesn't seem to sit with the rest of the set.
We then had an amazing (fast tempo) version of Motherless Children. Three slide guitars banging out that riff...WOW!
Once I heard the opening bar of Wonderful Tonight I new I was in the home stretch. It was a short version and was impressive as the solo remained fresh.
Layla and Cocaine finished of the standard set list. Crossroads was the encore and it was all over. Robert Cray did not come on for the encore. I suppose three guitars is enough!
In all it was a great night. The band was in top form and seemed to enjoy it. The keyboards, backing vocals and Kickhorns were low in the mix but this worked and all your attention was focused on the three front men. I suspect one of them (DT) will be getting more praise as this tour progresses.
Review by Mike Turner
It sounds a little over-dramatic but I feel so grateful to have Eric's music in my life. The sheer diversity of his recorded music and the intensity of his live shows has, for me, provided three decades worth of fantastic entertainment. However, it was almost with a sense of dismay that I approached this particular concert. The omens weren't good. Early reports suggested the band weren't quite 'together', Eric was still messing with the set list, 'Back Home' was at best a mediocre album and ( strangest of all ) there were even stories of hard core fans giving their tickets away in anticipation of a lacklustre show. Having now witnessed the show for myself I have a message for those fans... you need to find a way of getting your tickets back !
A quick mention of Robert Cray. Some reviewers are reporting that his set leaves them "completely cold". His playing is somewhat crisp and clinical but I really enjoyed his set and it reminded me of why I liked him in his early "Bad Influence" period. The sound at Sheffield was (unusually for that venue) very good and his vocals were silky-smooth and wonderfully expressive... so much so that my wife declared she's now in love with him !
House security were announcing to everyone, on entry, that "Eric will be on stage at 8.45pm prompt". I found this slightly unusual but, true to their word, he strolled on stage at exactly that time. The band literally ambled on to stage, drawing a strangely muted welcome from the Sheffield audience. I couldn't help thinking "Oh no, here we go, Eric really is 'so tired' and the reports are all true". Any worries were quickly dispelled, with the opening "Pretending" being, quite literally, ferocious. The mix on Derek Truck's guitar wasn't quite right for the first minute or two of the song but I was immediately blown away by this guy.
I won't get carried away with a song-by-song analysis of the show. Suffice to say that I've seen Eric live over eighty times and I can, hand on heart, say that this was the most enjoyable show I've ever attended. On the downside, the audience never really picked up from the muted opening and Eric seemed almost dismayed at the total lack of response when it came to the traditional closing shout of "Cocaine". Also, the backing singers, horn sections and Tim Carmon's keyboards were all well down in the sound mix. The band also gave off an extremely serious 'vibe', so intense that I struggled to spot any of them smiling ( bring back Billy Preston ! ). But there were so many upsides.
Highlight of the show for me was the version of Milkcow Blues. Three amazing electric slide guitarists sitting and trading licks as if they were jamming in Eric's living room ! To me, Derek Trucks appears to be Duane Allman reincarnated and I can fully appreciate why he's part of the current Allman Brothers line up. Eric was in great form for this show but, on so many songs, it was Derek that stole the show. If Eric continues to tour in future years I truly hope that he retains Derek in the line-up.
The set list was wonderfully varied and, I'd like to think, had something for everyone. For an ageing fanatic like myself, who came to Eric's music in the mid-seventies & missed many of the great EC bands, it was simply a genuine privilege to hear the Dominoes-period 'Anyday' and 'I Am Yours' being performed so passionately and authentically.
I can't recall ever walking away with a sense of disappointment from a live Clapton show. True, there have been times when the choice of band members and set lists seemed to be prone to repetition. However, Eric always manages to pull something out of his 'bag of tricks' that leaves you gasping at his genious. For the 2006 tour you've got his best line-up ever, a fantastic set list and Eric defying his age and newly acquired 'so tired' reputation to deliver some blazing solos. It doesn't matter if you're a die-hard devotee or just a casual fan... just don't miss this tour.
Review By Kevin Scollick Chesterfield
This is my first gig 'up north' and I was apprehensive having only ever seen Clapton at stadiums or in the intimacy of the front room in the Albert Hall. It all seemed so sterile. If you signed up for a VIP credit card you could go 'Backstage' to the aptly named 'Whiteroom' whilst Robert Cray played - and this we did. If you wanted to listen to good music whilst sipping a pre-show beer this was the place to be. Albeit it sounded better but you could not see the stage.
I saw Eric last in 2004 at the RAH when he and Melia gave my wife and I tickets to watch him. He has done a lot for our son who has Down's Syndrome and this was a concert so close to home I could not afford to miss it. At 8.30 we took our seats - Row 11 block C, and this was almost smack bang in front of the mic stand that Eric would use all night - Wow!
On he strolled and banged into 'Pretending' - I can't recall the last time he played this when I saw him..I think I have to cast my mind back to the 1992 'Eric and Elton' tour. The show just got better and better and 'So Tired' really got the aisles tapping their feet (a really subdued audience though in comparison to the rockers I have sat next to in the past). I had memorised the set list so I was really sitting back and letting the music wash over me. Contrary to all the criticism I thought it sounded great- better than Robert Cray before the switch around - although you could hear a slight delay as it reached the back of the arena and if you looked at the big screen from time to time it looked like eric was lip synching, which of course he wasn't.
I thought that Doyle had been given a pedestal by Eric in the 2004 gigs and it looked like he had had it whipped away this time around with Derek Trucks being given the opportunity to shine. There was just so much talent on this stage last night with the creme de la creme of guitarists that it was difficult to see who was the current 'God'. Doyle hit a dodgy chord towards the end of the show and Eric gave him a stare from the right and Tim gave him a stare from the left - Doyle just smiled. He had proven himself all night and I think he is a great guitarist but I didn't think he came out in as quite a good a light this time alongside Derek Trucks - He and Clapton really stole the show for me.
'Nobody Knows You' was met with massive hand-clapping and whistling and you could see Eric give the band a wry smile - he knew this was going to be a crowd pleaser and it was. For me the highlight of the show was 'Cocaine' when all the guitarists got an opportunity to sign their signatures..Eric led, then Trucks, then back to Eric. I heard him say "Go On" to Doyle in between the vocals and off he went. Eric was really getting into it - head back and eyes closed - so much so that he forgot to come back in for the vocals. Doyle walked towards him and gestured - Up stood Eric quick as a flash and came back in with the vocals. Him and Doyle exchanged smiles but he had missed the first 2 bars. It raised a smile in our aisle too, but was so magical to see...had it been anyone else it would have been a mistake - here it was musical comedy for a split second..pure genius!
I think 'Got to Get Better in a little while' was fantastic early on and so was the soloing in 'Sheriff' in the middle section, but I feel they would have sat better towards the end of the gig alongside the classics.I felt the audience were being brought up and down a bit too much...almost crying to Wonderful Tonight and then rocking to Layla - a shame as the gig didnt get going until 2 songs from the end. I wonder if a rip roaring finale of 4/5 classics in a row would have got the place pumping - or at least livened up the security guy sat in the aisle to prevent 'surgers'. He was falling asleep and when I told him "I'd love to have your job" he just raised his eyes. I don't think he would know what a great night out was if it came and smacked him in the face...GOOD LUCK - It's Girls Aloud there next!
All in all a wonderful experience and the 2nd best concert I have ever been to (nothing ever beats your first) The man is a genius and I hope he arrives back safe and sound after this tour so we may be honoured enough to see him again. (The talk on the way out was that this tour 'is' it! YOU ARE FAR TOO ABLE TO GIVE IT UP YET ERIC..YOU GIVE US TOO MUCH PLEASURE!!
Review by Tony Ward / Lightwater, Surrey
Travelled from Surrey. This was well worth it. This was Eric getting back to the blues. The choice of Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II on guitar was inspired. The jamming was so tight. The choice of material so varied. Last saw Eric in Edinburgh mid eighties - this performance @ Sheffield is so much more polished, subtle and yet very low down and dirty !!
I Am Yours (ARMS 63/64PR – 2 CD)