Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon - keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
01. Key To The Highway
02. Going Down Slow
03. Hoochie Coochie Man
04. Old Love
05. I Shot The Sheriff
07. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
08. River Runs Deep
09. Rocking Chair
10. Same Old Blues (song by JJ Cale)
11. When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful
14. Wonderful Tonight
15. Before You Accuse Me
16. Little Queen Of Spades
18. Further On Up The Road
Venue name change - formerly General Motors Place
Review by Marilyn Koyanagi / Surrey, BC
An unseasonably cold Vancouver welcomed EC as he kicked off the North American leg of his 2011 World Tour but inside Rogers Arena it was a hot, rousing night of solid gold. The latin blues rock group, Los Lobos, got the crowd warmed up with numbers like "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" and a great medley including "La Bamba" and "Good Lovin’".
Then, EC and company took the stage and immediately had everyone on their feet for an energized "Key To the Highway". EC’s finger work was mesmerizing on "Going Down Slow" and the crowd roared its approval as he launched into Muddy Water’s "Hoochie Coochie Man" followed by a fabulous version of "Old Love" (one of the night’s highlights) and an upbeat "I Shot The Sheriff". This was pure, unadulterated Clapton at his best doing all the guitar duties himself! No Doyle, no Derek and no Andy on rhythm guitar, just Slowhand himself, backed by Willie Weeks on bass, the legendary Steve Gadd on drums, genius keyboardists Tim Carmon and Chris Stainton and Michelle John and Sharon White on backup vocals.
Eric’s voice has never sounded better and his sit down session was like an intimate get together featuring songs like "Driftin’", "Nobody Knows You", "Rocking Chair", "River Runs Deep", "Same Old Blues", "When Somebody Thinks You’re Wonderful", and finishing up with a semi-acoustic "Layla". The tempo picked up again with "Badge" and then slowed going into the obvious crowd favorite, "Wonderful Tonight". The final four numbers had everyone on their feet singing and rocking with "Before You Accuse Me", the always fantastic "Little Queen Of Spades: featuring killer solos from Carmon and Stainton, "Cocaine" and the fast paced encore "Further On Up The Road".
The only thing missing was a solo showcasing Steve Gadd’s power and talent on drums such as "River Of Tears" on the One More Car tour. But it was Eric that Vancouver (and the fellows in front of us from Manitoba and Nunavit) came to see and it was Eric they got for 2 hours of sheer bliss. It just doesn’t get any better than this! To quote the man himself, "THANK YOU!!!"
Review by JC
What a great evening. There was a lot of anticipation in the air and for good reason. We here in Vancouver haven't seen Eric for 4 years and he turned out to be in fine form. Key to the Highway and Goin Down Slow were great openers.
Eric was relaxed and played some nice solos. His guitar rang out nice and loud and had a great tone. He did an excellent version of Hoochie Coochie Man, but the real show stopper of the night was Old Love. Eric sang it well and the guitar playing was unbelievable. He put a lot of emotion into his playing and the way he bent the notes up and made them cry on the way down was almost otherworldly. Tim Carmon did an excellent keyboard solo at the end as the whole rhythm of the song changed. Sheriff was great. Nice guitar intro. In the later guitar solo it sounded like EC landed on the wrong fret at one point, but then redeemed himself with some intense playing. (The next night in Seattle, which I also attended, there were no flubs in the solo and he built it to a nice climax.)
The acoustic portion was enjoyable too. He did a slow version of Drifting, finger picking some clean, simple solos. I enjoyed the solos more at the Seattle concert. After a good “Nobody Knows You”, he brought out an ES335 for the next four songs, three of which were from his latest CD and the fourth being Layla, Nice tone on the ES and some very tasty playing in these quieter songs. EC’s latest CD has some old standards on it and his vocals and guitar work make them “modern” standards. These songs are a departure from the EC stuff most of us really love, but as he gets older it makes sense that he would diversify and play quieter songs that his aging fan base would also enjoy.
He then came back in with Badge, a crowd favorite, which was slightly better in Seattle as EC may have missed a few notes in the solo in Vancouver. Wonderful Tonight was very sweet and even though he has played it many times, he did not seem at all bored with it. He did a good rocking Before You Accuse Me and then Eric and the band moved into their great rendition of Little Queen of Spades. Eric and both keyboardists played great solos, especially Chris Stainton on piano. Both Stainton and Carmon are definitely the “Eric Claptons” of their respective instruments. After that was Cocaine. Eric added a wah wah to his solo in Seattle, and the song reaches an amazing crescendo at the end as Chris Stainton pounds his way up from the bottom to the top of the piano keyboard.
The encore was Further on up the Road, which I think Eric used to do as an encore thirty years ago. As if to close the show on a high note, the last two verses of solos showed Clapton’s great speed, intensity and tasty choice of notes high up on the neck, reminiscent of the Cream days. It was an awesome show. I was wondering if the show would be as good with only a single guitar, compared to past shows with Doyle and sometimes Derek accompanying and pushing EC. No need to worry. Eric was at the top of his game, and with those two great keyboard players along with his excellent rhythm section and back up vocalists, EC concerts just keep getting better.