Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Andy Fairweather Low – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton– keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
01. Going Down Slow
02. Anything For Your Love
03. Key To The Highway
04. Old Love
05. I Shot The Sheriff
07. Lay Down Sally
08. Not Dark Yet
09. Anytime For You
10. Somewhere Over The Rainbow
12. Little Queen of Spades
13. Before You Accuse Me
14. Wonderful Tonight
16. Crossroads (encore)
MEN Arena = Manchester Evening News Arena
Review by Matt Walmsley / Manchester
Following a tight performance from the Arc Angels, Eric's favourite Manchester MC, Peter Kay, stepped forward to introduce the man himself: "Give me an E..." he called after likening Clapton to Liam Gallagher due to his mic setup!
Given the fan reviews for Liverpool, Eric Clapton must have had an epiphany on the M62 motorway to Manchester because he arrived at the MEN Arena firing on all cylinders. I did notice Eric taking what were probably throat sweets towards the end, as the voice began to struggle, but his fingers were in perfect health throughout.
My initial reservations over a mediocre setlist, were blown away by his continuing ability to make some fairly old songs continue to sound fresh and resonate with an appreciative audience. "Going Down Slow" was a good opener with stong uninhibited soloing from the start, which was a sign of things to come as we made our way to the sit down set with a crushing finale to "I Shot the Sheriff."
A little disappointed to get the acoustic "Layla", but I particularly liked the two new set entries, delivered on an equally beautiful blonde Gibson L5. Then it seemed that everything was "turned up to eleven" as "Badge" and "Little Queen of Spades" became the perfect vehicles for virtuoso performances by Eric and then Chris Stainton, and we finally got some WahWah out of Eric and Andy during a big "Cocaine" finish. The "Crossroads" encore seemed to be the weekest song of the night, but I can forgive him that after giving so much for two hours.
Even Tim Carmon's twiddling didn't bother me and Eric seems to enjoy it, so that's good enough for me.
Judging from this performance and Eric's obvious enjoyment of it, the future for Clapton fans is "Not Dark Yet."
Review by Mike Sawin / Somewhere around Bushy Park
After the anticlimax that was Liverpool, Eric put on a fine gig at Manchester's MEN Arena on the 3rd night of his UK tour. At the begining of the show comedian Peter Kay walked on with a guitar case, hinting he had stolen Eric's guitar and our man wouldn't be able to play that night. He got the audience in the right mood with laughter and indeed must have had the same effect on our man. Eric sauntered onstage with a huge smile and played an admirable set.
It's strange - the song list was identical to the previous night yet the playing was light years better. Of special note was a LONG solo on "Old Love" and a tremendous one on "Little Queen of Spades" (which the audience didn't respond to!).
There were still some weak points - the interpretation of "Anything For Your Love" and "Key To The Highway", the solos by Andy and Tim, the rather unusual setlist. But the good far outweighed the bad. And no audience participation during "Over The Rainbow!"
Regular readers of this site must have thought I was being a bit mean regarding the Liverpool show. It's not that the audience didn't like or appreciate Eric - if anything they were more vocal than most UK shows I've seen. It's just that the band's approach was below par.
Anyways, it's on to the run at RAH. I'm really hoping he pulls out all the stops. I'm sure he will.
Review by Gareth J / Wiggan
After many years of listening to his CDs, I was really looking forward to my first (and hopefully not last) EC concert at the MEN. After reading a couple of reviews of the Liverpool show, I was a bit wary of how the show and audience reaction would be. But I am pleased to say it was better than I hoped for. I agree with other reviews that the songs could have been played in a different order to keep some pace and momentum going with the fans but after reading the programme, I guess the aim was to keep it steady as Eric did say "sit back, relax and enjoy."