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24 September 2006 - Eric Clapton & His Band

Location

Air Canada Center Toronto , ON
Canada
Band Lineup: 

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

Support: 
Robert Cray Band
Special Guest(s): 

Robert Cray – guitar / vocals*

Set List: 

01. Pretending
02. I Shot The Sheriff
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Old Love*
05. Everybody Oughta Make A Change
06. Motherless Children
07. Back Home
08. I Am Yours
09. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
10. Running On Faith
11. After Midnight
12. Little Queen Of Spades
13. Further On Up The Road
14. Wonderful Tonight
15. Layla
16. Cocaine
17. Crossroads (encore)*

Show Notes: 

Just one night after postponing a concert in Auburn Hills, Michigan due to illness, Eric and his band travelled north of the US border to perform the first of two shows in Canada.

Fan Reviews: 

Review by Jason Hickox
I've once again been fortunate enough to attend a performance by Eric Clapton in Toronto. I look forward to his return with every new album. I have had the privilege of seeing him in concert 6 or 7 times over the past 20 years. I had yet to experience a disappointing concert until tonight.While I certainly wouldn't rate tonight as a bad experience, it certainly wasn't one of his more stellar efforts.

Initially there was some concern that Eric would have to cancel his Toronto concert as he had done in Auburn Hills on Saturday night. We were glued to the local classic rock station for any news on Sunday's performance. Lucky for us, everything was a go. Four friends and myself loaded up the cars and drove to Toronto to enjoy tonight's performance. For the first time in several Clapton concerts we were able to hear the opening act. Usually we would arrive in time to hear Eric's first number.

Robert Cray's band put on a great show. I haven't seen Robert perform in many years and found his performance tonight to be well worth the wait. I have not kept current on his material, so much of it was heard for the first time. Robert is a fine guitar player and his style of the Blues is refreshing. There were a few numbers I recognized from over the years. Overall it was fun. Robert is not a loud player. He keeps the volume down which adds to the listening enjoyment. His guitar work and singing were superb. I would definitely see Robert in concert again.

It was with bated breath we awaited the arrival of Eric on stage. I will not bother to recount the set list as it was the same as the Chicago show. We were concerned that Eric's sore throat might have hampered his performance. We really didn't have much to worry about. His voice was strong and sure. Eric is one of the few performers whose voice has actually gotten better with age. He has more power and strength now than he did 20 years ago. I did feel he might have been favouring his voice a little as he seemed to present Derek and Doyle with more than enough opportunities to showcase their guitar playing prowess. Herein lies the disappointment.

Doyle Bramhall has never been one of my favourite guitar players. He tends to rely on a lot of volume and flash for his style. He seems at odds with Eric who is such a seasoned and refined player. Bramhall sounds crude in comparison. Tonight he seemed to have his guitar volume turned to the maximum. His playing actually on occasion drowned out the other musicians. Doyle is playing with some real legends in the music industry here, and on his solos he seems to be showing the masters the latest flash he picked up at the local music store. On a peculiar note, he spent most of the evening facing his amplifier with his back to the audience. A bit of advice for Eric to consider when selecting musicians for his next album/tour, leave Bramhall at home. He really isn't as refined as Andy Fairweather Low, whom I missed on this tour.

Derek Trucks on the other hand was a great addition to Eric's band. I have a great appreciation for Derek's playing after listening to The Allman Brother's Band Hitting The Note album. Derek has great potential in the music industry. Watching him play guitar, especially slide, brings me back to the Derek & The Dominoes classic Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs. You can definitely tell by Derek's playing that he is a protege of the late great Duane Allman. The quality of guitar work is frightening to say the least. If you were to close your eyes and listen, you'd swear it was Duane up there. However, there was one problem with Derek's performance as well. His guitar volume was too high as well. At times his volume drowned out that of Eric And Willie Weeks.

As for the rest of the band, the veterans definitely get the nod for keeping everything tight. Willie Weeks is one of the greatest bass players alive and his attention to detail shows. The only disappointment being he was given only one brief segment to showcase his talent. Given the amount of soloing time given to Derek and Doyle, I feel a little more attention could have been given to Weeks. Perhaps one of the most entertaining aspects of the night's performance was that of the drummer Steve Jordan. On several occasions stage hands had to come out to help Steve readjust his drum kit. Such is the man's energy while playing. Steve is a truly great drummer. Chris Stainton is always reliable on keyboards. I have had the privilege of hearing Chris' playing on several occasions now and he fits the performances quite nicely. He was especially spirited during his playing on both Cocaine and Layla. Overall, he's good fun. Both Tim Carmon and the background singers appear to be having fun as well. Everyone was enjoying themselves and it was apparent in the performance.

Overall, another fine performance by my favourite guitarist. Eric Clapton ranks amongst my favourite musicians of any style. I am continually amazed that every album he releases gets better than the one before. I attribute tonight's deficiency's to Eric's concern over his voice, issues with the sound technicians in regard to guitar volume, and a little too much focus on the other guitar players abilities. At points I felt Eric would like to stand back and let the young guns do the talking. While both Doyle and Derek are certainly great guitarists in their own right, they're certainly not Eric Clapton.

Review by Matthew
Clapton Rocks TO! It was a special night as I took my younger brother to his first EC show (Hi Michael!) And what a show it was! Clapton was on fire from the opening number. A couple times he gave a pained expression when swallowing but a part from this and the pills he took to soo the his throat, you wouldn't know he'd cancelled the previous nights show. Highlights included a fantastic version of I Shot the Sheriff (the best version I've personally heard live), Got to Get Better in a Littlle While, Old Love, and Little Queen of Spades. Clapton has assembled a stellar band and the night was better for it. His two younger guitarists spurred Clapton on and there were many smiles shared - everyone having a good time. Doyle Bramhall appeared to have some difficulties with his guiitar during the opening few numbers and it was not until he switched to a Gibson Les Paul that his playing improved (no fault of his own). Derek Trucks was a wonder to beyond, a truly gifted slide player whose bottleneck left strains of Duane Allman drifting through the Air Canada Centre. This version of Layla, with Trucks haunting slide, sounded as close to the original as I've ever heard live. All in all, a great night that was over far too soon. Don't miss this tour. P.S.: Let's hope for a DVD - it's that good.

Review by Bob
My family went to Toronto last night to see the Eric Clapton show. I have not seen Eric live since the mid 70's. Over the years since, I have still enjoyed his music, but felt he had lost some of his drive. Last night has changed that.

Eric has put together a stellar band of musicians. Of course when you put a talent, the likes of Eric's on stage, anything short of perfection will seem off. But each of these members are capable of adding exactly what they have been brought on to provide. I was amazed at how well Eric got over the reported sore throat from the night before. Maybe it was just a precaution as there was no sign of any ill effects.
Willie Weeks and Steve Jordan may be one of the best touring rhythmsections in the business. Their change pace and slick drive bottom lays down the perfect ground work for an ensemble this size. Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon present fine examples of how to play behind a guitar legend and how to step it up when the time came. Two stellar solos were provided by both as well as some well time licks in several numbers.I will try not to spend to much time reviewing Derek Trucks playing. As a long time follower, and friend, I could get very bias, but I believe more people are finding out want a hidden talent Derek truly is. I know Eric knows. Derek's is capable of taking any song from a stand still to a fever pitch in a moments notice as he showed a couple of time last night.

Doyle Bramhall is an excellent player. His playing is exactly what Eric wants him to do. It is gritty and powerful, with all the Texas shearing sound he grew up with. His powerful rhythm chops gives Eric more than enough chance to lay the fine lines of the songs. His solo work is the in your face style we love so many Texans for.
Eric Clapton proved me wrong last night. This man has the drive to flat out right play still. There has never been any question of talent. Each time one of his young stalwarts stepped up and delivered, Eric answered back. He took me on a roller coaster ride of my past. Lifted us to the top and lay us back down softly. These are the things I have enjoyed so much from Eric over the years. I truly believe we are not only witnessing the Eric of old, but maybe the best he has ever been.

Review by Dan Hinde
It was the night of the guitar solo in Toronto Sept. 24. As the old adage goes, "If you've got it, flaunt it." And Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II have got it in spades.

It was the first Canadian show of Eric Clapton's 2006/2007 World Tour and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto has not seen guitar prowess the likes of this foursome in a long time. It may never be repeated, and that thought did cross this reviewer's mind several times during the two-hour plus show.

From the opening, "Pretending" to the closing bars "Crossroads", each song was an excuse to showcase the incredible chops of the heralded performers. And that they did! Clapton, despite having postponed the previous night's show in Detroit due to a sore throat, played brilliantly throughout the night. He is a class act and there is no doubt that he has already earned hs place in rock history. Decades of it. But he still loves to play, and with his weighty list of hits and FM-Radio classics, there is a wealth to draw upon, and Clapton seemed to enjoy himself. The presence of young guns Trucks and Bramhall has taken Clapton's guitar work in new directions and he is as willing to lend the spotlight to his capable sidemen as he is to dare them to "follow that". That's how guitar duals work.

Trucks was up for the challenge. Easily one of the best blues slide guitarists on this planet. He's got his hands full with Allman Brothers material already! I would dare say he has eclipsed Duane Allman, who played with EC in Derek and the Dominos several decades back, in that free form southern rock slide style. What a perfect addition to showcase the classic songs Layla and Got to Get Better in a Little While. Trucks explored these songs like someone decades his senior, and his bottleneck blues lines soared through the ACC, an uncanny representation of the late Allman brother's style, mixed with Truck's own interpretation of blues rock.

Bramhall, whose style is steeped in the Texas tradition of blues guitar, has earned every right to be on that stage with EC. As a youth his father played in bands with none other than the late Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother Jimmie, undisputed heavyweights in modern blues guitar, and he was exposed to the booming Texas scene at a pivotal time. His early career was as a member of the Arc Angels and more recently he was hired gun for the Roger Waters' In The Flesh tour, just as scary for a touring guitarist as is Allman Brothers material. Bramhall's unorthodox / southpaw guitar style, in which his guitar is strung high-to-low ala Hendrix, didn't stand out as much as Trucks', but it was certainly an interesting showcase of muscular Texas blues riffs and unique voicings.

The Robert Cray band opened the night with a 30 minute set, and Cray later joined Clapton on stage to complete the foursome in Crossroads and Old Love. Cray can play the blues and he is notoriously more likely to tear out guitar solos live as he is on his recorded works. While we were hoping Cray would pull out Time Makes Two, which he didn't, Cray instead gave us a reminder that he is an incredible songwriter, whose style goes beyond blues at times, and he was easily the best vocalist of the night.

Bassist Willie Weeks was a solid choice to replace Clapton's long time reliable sidekick, Nathan East, on this tour. Weeks was given the spotlight at one point and delivered a funky, out-there bass solo that earned great cheers. The entire backing band were outstanding.

Clapton's throat troubles were a non-factor to the listening audience, and they were every bit glad that Clapton performed like a trooper despite his virus. He was very short with words, but incredibly generous with his guitar work, taking himself to new heights with the young guitar phenoms standing at his side. He was able to revisit some old material that has not been included in Clapton's modern day set lists. Motherless Children and Littlle Queen of Spades were stand-outs. I Shot the Sheriff and After Midnight are absolute classics for a live venue.

Review by Derek Gaspar / Toronto

I have not seen Eric Clapton live in 20 years and realized last night that it has been way too long. Robert Cray opened the show and was at the top of his game and his band sounded fantastic (what a seasoned pro he is) although his set was a little short only 35-40 min. Eric and his band took the stage about 8:30pm and with a band that included Derek Trucks on slide guitar (What a talent) I knew we were in for a night of great playing. EC and company played for about two hours solid and everyone I talked to after the show was blown away by the show and his band (Clapton is God).

Review by David
I was at the Toronto show last night and Eric was in absolutely top form. It was great to hear some different songs live such as Motherless Children and After Midnight. There is a graceful confidence with Eric now and I trust it has to do with a happy life. Highlights were Back Home, Nobody, Old Love, Queenie and as always, Layla. The addition of Trucks and his slide complement Eric delightfully with his smooth style. Listening to Eric play Back Home and listening to the words make one wonder if this will be a final tour. Let's hope he still feels that energy playing live. Well done Eric - looking forward to having you in the Nation's Capital tomorrow night mate!

Review by Dan Mackrill
Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall and Derek Trucks! An evening of fine guitar!
Clapton is known as a laid back performer at least from a stage presence and audience participation perspective. Musical performance-wise his approach is far from laid back. It's an interesting juxtaposition of traits – blindfolded a listener could easily conjure up images of a sweat drenched, posturing, guitar showman working the crowd. Conversely, if a Clapton concert were to be viewed with no sound the only indication of passion and fire would be his 'guitar face' displayed while soloing. Otherwise, the viewer could be lulled into a false sense of serenity and perhaps even boredom. Even more interesting is that the awesome array of guitarists on stage at this concert all fit the same categorization reserved individuals that show little affinity for the crowd, but who happen to be blazing instrumentalists whose passion and musical ability propel the collective performance to greatness. With the weight of guitar talent on stage Clapton knowingly allowed it to be fully displayed … often. Many songs were extended in duration because all three guitarists took solos. Some of only one or two choruses, some extended improvisational journeys.

Make no mistake, Clapton is the bandleader and takes the most solos, but he shared the spotlight with Bramhall and Trucks on virtuallyevery song. And the crowd was better off for it. Not that listening to Clapton isn't fulfilling, but the different styles of the players and all three are very different made for a sonic mix of tasteful and fiery guitar that is not to be missed. See Clapton on this tour if you're in any way interested in the guitar!

On to the performance. Clapton always surrounds himself with top musicians. On this tour, in addition to the aforementioned guitarists, the sidemen include the legendary A-list rock band session cat Willie Weeks on bass, Steve Jordan of Letterman Band fame on drums, long time Clapton sideman Chris Stainton on piano and R&B phenom Tim Carmon on organ, piano and synth. Nice line up!

The gig started with the up-tempo, rather light, pop tune Pretending. Not bad, everybody got the kinks out and warmed up. The next tune jumped right into the fireworks with a burning hot rendition of I Shot The Sheriff. This song was a fav in each of the last two Clapton concerts. It didn't fail to deliver this time too. Heavy, heavy groove and intense playing by all set up a truly great, even classic EC solo. Easily the best Clapton solo of the night and only the second song! Clapton is a master at building a solo from a base of simple lines and phrases then adding layers of complexity on his way to an incendiary finish. He proved here that he can still paint a solo picture filled with drama and emotion!

The next song, the Derek and The Dominos classic Got To Get Better In A Little While, was the second best song of the night. Perhaps the set list should be revised to save the peak for later! Here we were presented with the three-guitar onslaught in earnest. First Clapton, then Bramhall fired off fine solos. Next Trucks was handed the baton. With no outward sign that he was any more or less engaged in the goings on around him, DT proceeded to play a non-slide, fingers only solo that ripped the faces off his 6 string mates. It was short in duration, but outrageous in its melodicism, technical prowess and soul. Ouch!

From there the songs flowed. Robert Cray, whose band opened, played a juicy solo on Old Love. Motherless Children was a surprise from the 461 Ocean Boulevard album. Great groove.

The acoustic set was enjoyable. Terrific acoustic guitar tone. Trucks played acoustic with EC on a couple of tunes adding tasty fills. Then Bramhall joined Trucks in adding electric fills. But, us guitar junkies were biding our time until the electric tunes came back! After Midnight woke up the crowd. The remainder of the set rocked on, the band's intensity building - although playing Wondeful Tonight three songs from the end messed with the tempo - most songs featuring multiple guitar solos. The main set ended with Layla and a rocking Cocaine that left the crowd hollering and stamping for more.

The encore was a rather less than burning version of Crossroads.Cray joined the band and sang as well as played a nice solo. Other than EC constantly popping throat lozenges, Cray's encore vocalizing was the only hint that the previous gig in Detroit had been canceled due to EC being ill.

Fine playing, good songs, near flawless performances by all. Not a concert for the ages, but a fine evening of music. It'll keep the faithful coming back if EC tours again. I know I'll be there!

Now for all you gear heads - EC: Strats, of course, played through his 100-watt tweed Fender Twins. His boosted mid-range sound was thankfully absent. Nice Strat tones of all types. Bramhall: Mostly Strats with the exception of what appeared to be a shiny new sunburst Les Paul Standard (sweet!). Marshall head, Savage Marshall-clone combo (damn, a competitor!), Fender tweed of some sort. Not sure what the Marshall head was playing through. May have been routed through the Savage cab's speakers???? Trucks: His simple, trademark set up. Gibson SG plugged straight into two black face Fender Super Reverbs. All he had to do to change tone was adjust his guitar volume. I like it!

Review by Mark Phillips / Prince Edward Island
Its finally happened I have seen my first Eric Clapton concert. I am only young but it seemed like its been an eternity of waiting. I handed over all my money to Eric Clapton and the city of Toronto and yet I could not be a happier man. For anyone who has not seen a Clapton show yet why wait, you will not regret going no matter what the cost. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, I do not know how it compared to other shows, and not to be rude, but I don't care. To me it was perfect. Every note Clapton played was amazing and if I could even begin to describe it, it probably wouldn't be so special. Highlights were the extended solos in I shot the sheriff, got to get better in a little while, and old love. I really enjoyed the guitar and slide duel between clapton and trucks in everybody ought to make a change. But to be honest every song just blew me away from little queen of spades to nobody knows you when your down and out, further one up the road to the encore crossroads . And of course nothing can compare to hearing layla live for the first time. Every song made me smile from ear to ear, and that is no simple task. I guess if I tried to name the highlights I would just basically be naming the set list. No recording or bootleg will ever capture the experience of being there. I have been trying so hard to remember every little detail that it just seems like a blur, it went by way to quick. I thought this concert would cure my need to see a clapton concert before it is too late, but now it has just left me wanting more.

Aside from Clapton Robert Cray was an amazing opener, and joining Clapton made it even more special. Trucks was unreal, a little more restrained then recordings I have heard but he really added to the show. Clapton left little sign that his throat was sore, although I spotted him taking a pill of some sort. His voice seemed sore when he tried to really stretch it out for "if I am guilty I will pay" but other then that it had no effect (to me) on the show. No one can make the guitar as powerful, beautiful, and emotional (to me) as Eric Clapton and to be there and watch the magic take place is a memory I will hold dear for the rest of my life. It is late and Im still in a daze from the concert so forgive me for any errors and poor description

Review by Derek / Toronto
I was at the Clapton concert in Toronto on Sunday. Man, what a great show. If he had a cold (as the local papers reported) you wouldn't have known it. The show was packed with fantastic guitar work by Mr. Clapton and his crew of young and talented players. Derek Trucks was amazing on that slide guitar. The entire band and singers were first rate, and it was nice to see it in Toronto, where we don't always get the best concerts. Robert Cray and his band were excellent as well playing a set to warm it up. The only downside to the show was the half-asleep audience, however that is to be expected in the ACC, where the suits are abundant and the real rockers usually unable to afford the hefty prices. The crowd did get going as the show progressed. Great job all around and thanks for the memories.

Review by Greg Simms / Newfoundland
After flying from Newfoundland Canada to catch the EC show at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, it was well worth the money and the jet leg. I'm not going to get into every detail but my expectation of the concert was met as soon as Clapton took the stage,I had cold shivers from the first note until the lights came on at the end of the show. I attended the concert with my brother you is also a huge Clapton fan and we both feel that it was the best concert we have ever seen. Having watched every dvd and listing to every album the man as recorded we new what to expect, but seeing the man in person was overwhelming. Clapton seems to hold back time and sounds better as the years go bye. I would definitely spend the time and money to see it all over again.

Review by David Di Paola
Just to let you know that the concert in Toronto was fantastic although I would have liked to see 1 or 2 more songs in the encore instead of just the 1, maybe Eric's throat was getting sore. This was my first Eric Clapton concert and I would like to know if he is at all personable to his audience, because he did not address the crowd at all, just a thank you after a song or two. I hope to see another concert 1 day.

Official Recording: 

 

Bootleg Recording(s):