Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar
Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar
Chris Stainton – piano, keyboards
Paul Carrack - organ, keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
01. Hello Old Friend
02. My father's Eyes
03. Tell the Truth
04. Gotta Get Over
05. Black Cat Bone
06. Gotta Get Better
07. Tempted (Paul Carrack)
10. Tears in Heaven
11. Lay Down Sally
12. Wonderful Tonight
14. How Long (Paul Carrack)
15. Stones in my Passway
16. Love in Vain
18 Little Queen of Spades
21. High Time We Went (Paul Carrack)
Review by Rod Nunley / Arlington TX
If, in light of Eric's recent comments, this was his goodbye to us, at least he went out with a fine show. Several times, the mikes picked up laughter and banter among the band members. That's always a good sign. When the band is enjoying themselves, they play well. The band was tight, and the sound was pretty good, except that Willie Weeks' bass needed to be a little stronger in the mix.
First, a word about Doyle Bramhall II. He's a formidable guitarist, but every time I've seen him with EC before, I always felt like he was holding back, maybe afraid to risk upstaging his boss. Finally, this time Doyle let loose and showed some of what he can do. He didn't equal his amazing Arc Angels performance at the 1992 State Fair, but he was excellent nevertheless. EC has always played better with a hot guitarist to push him, so Doyle's performance was doubly welcome.
Before the show I would have preferred Abe Laboriel on drums, but Steve Jordan won me over, especially with his terrific brush work during the semi-acoustic section. Chris Stainton and Willie Weeks were rock solid. Adding a pedal steel was interesting. I like players like Greg Leisz, who refuse to play the same old whiny Nashville licks. Like the playing of other favorites such as Lloyd Maines and the great Rusty Young, Leisz's playing was creative and fit the songs right. The ladies sung very nicely; I never heard a bum note. Paul Carrack was good, but he did seem an odd choice for the band. I like "Tempted" well enough, but it clearly was just a song for Eric to take a break on. "How Long" was another matter, however. I've always loved hearing Eric do fills during verses, and "How Long" is a good song for that. EC delivered some great fills.
Eric has talked about his skills declining, but in my mind it seems to be more a matter of quantity than quality. When I reviewed the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival, I said about B. B. King that he would play in short bursts, then seemed to need time to recover to be able to do it again. EC appeared to follow that path, albeit not as severely as King. The set list seemed specifically constructed to give him breaks by not putting songs that might tax him too much back-to-back. Nothing wrong with that, and there was plenty of great playing. But he did allow others to do much of the heavy lifting for significant periods.
Now, about some of the songs. "Hello Old Friend" is a favorite of mine, so hearing it was a treat. "My Father's Eyes" has always had reggae underpinnings, but EC, who's never been bashful about trying new arrangements, took it even further toward pure reggae. It worked marvelously. The same couldn't be said for a similar treatment of "Tears in Heaven". While not as reggae-fied as "Eyes", the style just didn't work that well with that song. Another good rearrangement was "Wonderful Tonight". Never one of my favorites, I liked the semi-acoustic treatment, and the pedal steel gave it some needed fullness. It was the best rendition of the song I've heard.
"Badge" made it into the lineup for the first time this tour, in the familiar arrangement with the long pause before the bridge, the return of the bridge as a coda, and the "love is my badge" ending. "Got To Get Better In a Little While" featured Eric's most significant wah-wah work of the night. The arrangement was surprisingly close to the Dominos'.
I'm sure the folks from Wichita Falls appreciated the mention in "Black Cat Bone".
For me, the highlight of the night, by far, was "Driftin'". This was the finest exhibition of acoustic guitar playing I've ever heard from EC. The song was the best example of a theme that ran through the whole show: Eric's acoustic work actually was better than his electric. Doing electric guitar moves on an acoustic is very difficult. Easier if you tune a step low, which I think Eric did, but difficult anyway. EC's bends, vibratos (his finger vibrato still is the best ever, by anybody), and runs were electric guitar quality, but on an acoustic. It was spellbinding at times. For those who dislike the acoustic "Layla", you should have heard this performance. It ranks among the best I've heard of this song, either electric or acoustic versions, largely because of the stellar fills and solo work, all done on acoustic.
Despite all the high spirits, Eric did seem to tire by the end of the show. He ended the show clearly happy, but was running out of gas. It had ended at the perfect time. If in fact EC only does one-off shows after this tour, it's highly unlikely we'll ever see him again here. But at least he'll have left us with an excellent parting memory.
Review by Belinda U / Frisco TX
What a show! Hello Old Friend…Eric was on fire all night. Great set list, he covered all the bases--past, present, blues, rock, acoustic, he hit it all! Love that Badge was added and Layla. He even talk to the crowd a little. He seemed very happy to be playing in Dallas - lots of smiles and eye contact with crowd ( more than I have ever seen him do in the past). I almost get the feeling it was his "goodbye Dallas" performance….sure hope I am wrong about that. Definitely not a show to be missed. Also, pick up the program! wow , it lists EVERY performance he has made from beginning to present. It is unbelievable how many performances he has done these past 50 years. Incredible.
Review by David Strickland
We go see Eric again and again and again in hopes of seeing that one performance that makes you go.. WOW! Tonight in Dallas, WOW!
First the set list changed again from the past two performances. He dropped I shot the Sheriff and inserted Badge. The sit-down set started with Drifting. then went to Tears in Heaven then Lay Down Sally (reversed from Austin) followed by Wonderful Tonight and Layla. The electric set resumed with Paul Carrack's How Long (dropped in Austin) followed by the Robert Johnson series of songs. Cocaine ended the set. The encore had Sunshine of your Love and High Time We Went. EC started exactly at 8:40pm ( same time as Houston) played 21 songs and finished at 10:46pm.
Back to the performance. I went to the Houston gig and while the band was tight, EC didn't get rolling until 2/3 of the show with the Little Queen of Spades. Don't get me wrong, he played well just not incredible. The Houston crowd was subdued and that reflected EC's playing.
Dallas was a different show and it may be one of those you will remember for a lifetime. Remarkably, American Airlines Arena was not sold out but it didn't seem to bother Eric. From the moment he strolled on stage to the moment he bowed and exited stage left, he was in great spirits, smiling, laughing and mixing it up with the band and audience. It was the most I have heard him talk outside of the crossroads festival. He was having a good time and so was the band and the audience.
What really got things kicking early was Eric's extended soloing in Got To Get Over. The groove was cooking and EC took control. It was like that for the remainder of the night. Got to Get Better was amazing with Eric starting on the wah-wah and returning to it on the bridge. Doyle finished the song on the wah-wah while Eric soloed. The song sounding more like the Dominoes Live at the Fillmore than anytime in recent memory. At one point Eric thanked the crowd and called Dallas his second home. At another point between songs, some guy in the crowd yells "we love your drummer" referencing Steve Jordan.. Eric laughed and said "thanks, we love him too!" Little Queen of Spades brought the best out of Doyle and Eric before the crowd favorite Cocaine ended the set. Sunshine of Your Love is always a treat to hear that iconic riff and the night ended with a rousing High Time We Went with Paul Carrack on vocals.
All in all a special night especially after seeing Eric play so many times that you hope for that special night when it all comes together. It didn't happen in Houston but man was Dallas a real treat!
Review by Mike Richman
Just home from the Dallas show, phenomenal. Got to attend the Austin show on Sunday and as great as it was, EC's energy was 50% higher tonite. He commented that Dallas was like a second home and that he has many friends here - quite evident in his playing. All credit to Steve Jordan for his over the top, drumming - so animated and such energy - truly incredible. These were my 19th and 20th EC shows and truly rank in the top 5. At 67, the guy is a wonder of nature. Two set changes: Badge (one of my personal faves and featuring 2 mega solos with amazing distortion) replaced Sheriff; and Tears in Heaven flipped with Lay Down Sally. Layla stayed in too.