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20 May 2011 - Eric Clapton & His Band

Location

Royal Albert Hall London
United Kingdom
Band Lineup: 

Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon - keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals

Support: 
Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders
Set List: 

01. Key To The Highway
02. Tell The Truth
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. Old Love
05. Tearing Us Apart
06. Driftin'
07. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
08. Still Got The Blues (Gary Moore)
09. Same Old Blues (JJ Cale)
10. When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful
11. Layla
12. Badge
13. Wonderful Tonight
14. Before You Accuse Me
15. Little Queen Of Spades
16. Cocaine
17. Crossroads

 

Fan Reviews: 

Review by Nadja Teichert / Bonau Switzerland
Night 3 at the RAH was a very good show. The first plugged-in part was sensational with Tell the Truth coming with great punch and Eric playing himself into a frenzy during Old Love. Tearing us Apart was also delivered with great verve; Still Got the Blues as always is a wonderful tribute to Gary Moore. A grooving Same old Blues, a great Badge and a slightly slowed down Cocaine were other highlights. The second half of the show was a bit more turned down as it seemed Eric had depleated most of his ammo during the first part of the show, but still delivered a very solid performance.


Review by Jordan Darke
I have seen Eric twice before and I have to say that this night was clearly the best performance I have ever seen! I was slightly underwhelmed by reading about the set-list from earlier performances but I'm happy to say EC surpassed all our expectations. After a start which was bang on time EC blasted straight into a familiar yet refreshing version of Key to the Highway, then on to Tell the Truth and charging through Hoochie Coochie Man. Many other favourites such as a brilliant version of Old Love and a fantastic trip back to the 80's with Tearing Us Apart!. The standard sit down acoustic set was thoroughly enjoyable with a heartfelt tribute to the late guitar legend Gary Moore!

After the acoustic set EC thundered through Badge which was definitely one of the highlights of the night along with an amazing solo on Little Queen of Spades, The final two songs were the standard Cocaine and Crossroads, which involved the usual Rush to front, one of which fans was myself. To see the master himself up close and clearly enjoying himself was a experience I will never forget!

There was also a good presence of many ECA fans which brought a sense of comfort to the whole night, EC was definitely on top form and shows that even though he is 66 he can still out play many people half his age. And I certainly have no shame in admitting he is god!


Review by Graeme Styles
As a loyal fan of Eric's for nearly forty years and having seen the great man over thirty times, you never know which Eric is going to turn up on the night. Tonight I felt saw a rather tired Eric. Now don't get me wrong, his playing was sublime and each solo left you blown away and his voice was as good as I ever heard it. However for even a man of very few words there was no real connection with what I thought was a ecstatic crowd for this show and at the end of the night, the band were not brought to the front of the stage to be given any applause. In fact Eric appears to have very little connection with the band at all. Other than the Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon, I didn't hear any of the others receive a mention.

As others have mentioned in their reviews, the inclusion of two keyboard players, for me doesn't work. The lengthy solos they are given on certain numbers, distract from the song. Old Love is truly amazing and Eric's playing brings tears to the eyes, so emotional is it. But then up pops a keyboard from Tim Carmon which I feel just isn't needed.

As for the acoustic numbers, the inclusion of 'When somebody thinks you're wonderful' is disappointing. It's not a strong number and its working tonight bore more of a Chas and Dave feel than ever. OK that's enough negative, something I don't like doing when talking of my ultimate hero. As previously mentioned Eric's playing and vocals were brilliant. Highlights for me were, Tell the truth, Hoochie Coochie Man, Old Love, Badge and Little Queen of Spades. It was also a lovely move to include 'Still Got The Blues' as a tribute to Gary Moore.


Review by Barry Bond
Still basking in the glow of a good night out and some great music. For me, and I've seen EC a few times now.... this was a lovely concert, it had a bit of everything. Its not quite the perfect set list, I would have put together, but I didn’t get asked.

Yes, perhaps Eric is slowing down a wee bit, his solo's are more considered and have lost some of their blistering pace, but his tone and the notes he did plays were sublime. Last night , he looked really good , maybe a few pounds lighter, than last year when I saw him with Winwood at Wembley and the hair trimmed a little bit ... the very long hair look a' la "Clapton" was not my favourite look.

I think this is the first time I've seen EC as the Solo guitarist and it sure puts some pressure on him to sing, play rhythm, fills and lead. No space for a breather other than during a piano or organ solo. On balance I think I prefer a 2nd guitarist, Trucks or Bramhall probably on current form. With Stainton you have a great keyboard player who can play both Piano and make organ sounds on his keyboards. By adding in Tim Carmon, you get a full blown Hammond B3 but more non guitar sounds, (Tim is OK, but he didn't blow me away). Solid band though and nice to see EC give the backing singers a bit of space too, even a few solo lines, which gives a nice contrast.

For Eric , just 2 Guitars, Fender Stratocaster in the Pale blue, mostly on the middle pick up (Not a Gibson in sight even though his tour 'T' Shirts are proudly emblazoned with Les Pauls and ES335's) and his signature Martin 000-28, 3 pedals (one didn't seem to get used at all). One a wah and the other seemed to be a sort of master pedal with 4 wires going in / coming out that seemed to trigger off stage effects, such as chorus. Also when he did use the wah pedal during "Cocaine" he was giving out a wah solo sound having pressed the pedal, but he was not working the pedal , but standing way back from it soloing but still getting a full wah effect ... autowah? I don't know.

Highlights for me, almost too many great numbers to be frank, a standout "Old Love", a really blistering solo that had Eric on tip toes as he squeezed out some of the top notes, he really got into this number. A very solid "Tearing us apart" which I don't think I've heard live before ... spot on! In the sit down set, "Driftin' " was lovely (as always) followed by what might have been best number of the night, "Still Got the Blues" ... just brilliantly done ... and in the final set, "Before you accuse me"

To the several commentators who like to allude to EC of "not giving his all" ... "not being into it " ..."Just going through the motions" ... I would say "Rubbish !!" (or words to that effect!) He doesn't have to tour,he chooses to do so, he chooses his (top notch) musicians for a certain sound and he is as professional as they come. An old master delivering great stuff. This is a solid value gig. Plus, he really gets into his playing and certainly last night seemed to enjoy the whole experience and really appreciate the very warm and very full crowd. We loved him and he paid us back with great music. He brought new twists to old songs: an Acoustic Layla and some new interesting intros to old songs.

If I had any wishes:
1) Not sure that "Little Queen of Spades" fits as the Penultimate song of the set. Gotta be something better to slot in here. I'd have popped in "Its in the way that you Use it" or something off the New album,"Diamonds made from Rain" perhaps?
2) Sit down set probably at least a song too long. Take out JJ Cales "Same Old Blues" ... an average song at best.
3) We won't get it, but just a bit of Eric introducing a song or talking about why put in a certain song, any sort of interaction with the audience would be Fab!
 


Review by Gösta Kylsberg, Stockholm, Sweden

Becoming more and more a tradition, me and my fiancée go from Stockholm to London in May for some days vacation, and our “timing” is usually when Eric plays at RAH. This year was no exception. Last year we also managed to go to O2 for the Together & Apart-concert
with Eric and Jeff Beck. We even attended two concerts this time (20th and 21st of May). This was a new experience and even though most of the songs remained the same, the concerts were indeed different, especially Hoochie Coochie Man, which Eric turned into shuffle-like version on Saturday, great playing, even though I preferred the Friday night version which was astonishing. Tell The Truth and Before You Accuse Me were replaced by Going Down Slow and I Shot The Sheriff on the second night, and Tearing Us Apart was played later in the
show on the second night than the night before.

Needless to say, both concerts were fantastic, but the first part (before the acoustic session) was in my view more intense and more energetic the first night with Key To The Highway, Tell The Truth, Hoochie Coochie Man and Old Love, perhaps I felt like that because I´m a
great fan of Tell The Truth. Old Love was the highlight of both nights, with a somewhat more dramatic rhythm during the keyboard solos. Also it was great to hear Tearing Us Apart again.

In the sit-down, acoustic, session Eric gave a great tribute to Gary Moore and of course Layla got the audience´s great appreciation.

The third part of the concerts started with a superb version of Badge, where Eric almost in a ‘Jeff Beck-way’ turned up the volume and hit his Stratocaster with his hand before using the pedal (Lesley sound?) in the “bridge” part to create a roaring sound. Great effect! Further, in Little Queen of Spades Eric played fantastic solos, but would have preferred only one keyboard solo – either Chris Stainton or Tim Carmon, not both.

All in all, great shows with a great guitarist, and a great band. Pity Eric did not mention or honour Steve Gadd and Willie Weeks at all during the night, being among the best drummers and basists. Also, it’s worth mentioning Andy Fairweather Low. He is a great musician, showing some of his skill before Eric’s concert.


Review by Gilberto R. / Monterey, Mexico
Being at the RAH for my first concert ever of Eric Clapton was a dream come true. I have been following Eric for many years now and since he hasn’t gone to Mexico in 15 years I had the chance to travel to London now that I’m in Europe! So I couldn’t be happier to see him on Sunday. He was into the concert since the first note on “Had To Cry Today” and every solo was deadly perfect and with full sentiment. The highlights for me were (in this order): "Voodoo Chile" (Eric played some of the most amazing solos I have seen from him for some time, he left me just speechless), "Gimme Me Somme Lovin’" (people went off their seats and started dancing!) "Hoochie Coochie Man" (I don’t know about the new arrangement, this night was the same as he has been playing this song since 2009 I’d say, regardless it is just an amazing blues song!), "Georgia" (really nice to see the whole band playing it) and "Still Got The Blues" where you could see Steve wearing glasses to see the notes while they were performing the song, it was nice to see how he nailed the song in the 1st take!. Overall an amazing experience and right there on the number 1 concert of my life, just next to Paul McCartney’s! EC is GOD!