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25 May 2017 - Eric Clapton & His Band

Location

Royal Albert Hall London
United Kingdom
Band Lineup: 

Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals
Chris Stainton – piano, keyboards
Paul Carrack - organ, keyboards, vocals
Nathan East – bass
Steve Gadd – drums
Sharlotte Gibson – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals

Support: 
Doyle Bramhall II
Special Guest: 

Doyle Bramhall II - guitar

Set List: 

Somebody Knocking
Key To The Highway
Hoochie Coochie Man
I Shot The Sheriff
Driftin'
Layla
Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
Tears In Heaven
Badge
Wonderful Tonight
Crossroads
Little Queen Of Spades - with Doyle Bramhall II
Cocaine - with Doyle Bramhall II
Sunshine Of Your Love (Encore) - with Doyle Bramhall II
High Time We Went (Encore) - with Doyle Bramhall II

Show Notes: 

Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, conferred the medal of the Commandeur in l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres on Eric Clapton in a ceremony backstage before the show. France's Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as  people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. Membership is not limited to French nationals; recipients include numerous foreign luminaries of which Eric Clapton is the most recent. More information can be found here.

Fan Reviews: 

Review by John and Maxine Kegg
Having seen Eric at least 8 times at the RAH, we both agreed that the mix of musicians this time was the best we'd heard . A really superb balance of skills, with a special meeting of minds between Chris Stainton and Eric. Loved it. Many thanks for a superb performance.

Review by Jussi Torvinen
Apart from other nights the set list also included Sunshine Of Your Love as 2nd last number. Other highlights were I Shot The Sheriff, which Started out with Eric's skillful solo before going full to the song. Badge was slower and featured nice new riffs by Eric. Crowd was into it all the way wirh standing ovations.

Review by Kenneth Duffin
Monday night was a good show, with a lovely version of Bell Bottom Blues on acoustic guitar. However there were a couple of errors, ie a pause in Little Queen Of Spades when Doyle's solo ended but nobody seemed to know what to do next.

Wednesday was also good, however Eric seemed a bit tired, especially towards the end of the night. Eric also seemed to decide at the last moment not to play Bell Bottom Blues.

Thursday, though, was a magnificent show, Everybody had more energy and the Solo's in Sheriff, Badge, Crossroads & Little Queen were brilliant. The crowd was much more responsive as well, with singing during Nobody Knows You and Wonderful Tonight. Then to crown off a brilliant show Eric played one of the best versions of Sunshine Of Your Love I've seen for a long time.

Eric also made a short announcement regarding it appearing that he had spent his life growing up at the RAH.

I hope this will not be he last, but if so he went out with a bang!

Review by Ann Crick
I was almost beside myself when the ticket sales were announced back in September as I was abroad on holiday.  Fortunately my son was able to get tickets for us both any my friend – and he got front row seats, though at £200 each was a bit of a shock (many of Eric’s fans are approaching, or have reached retirement and finding that amount for a ticket isn’t easy for some of us) but money well spent.  We started the day with a midday behind the scenes tour, which gave a fascinating insight to the workings of the Royal Albert Hall, and highly recommended. 

I’ve now lost count of how many times I have seen Eric play live, must be 50 plus, and this concert certainly didn’t disappoint.  Eric’s guitar playing and voice are still as good as ever.

Doyle Bramhall II was a great start to the evening, playing some tracks from his new album and a Beatles number.  Unfortunately the sound could have been better, but that may be a problem with our seats being in the front row as sometimes you don’t get the best sound there.  During the interval the hall was buzzing and the excitement erupted when Eric and his band walked onto the stage to a deafening roar from the audience and he launched into Somebody Knocking.  The band line-up works so well, and Sharlotte Gibson, the replacement for the lovely Michelle John, fitted in well and did a brilliant job alongside Sharon White.  Sharlotte’s joy and enthusiasm at being there was infectious.

Eric was on top form and it was a privilege to be there to see and hear such a memorable concert.  The highlight numbers for me were, as usual, I Shot the Sheriff (during which Eric performed an absolutely breathtaking solo that had the audience on their feet cheering at the end), Crossroads, Little Queen of Spades, and Sunshine of Your Love.  Doyle came back on stage for the last four numbers and that was the icing on the cake, Doyle and Eric work so well together.  I would still love to hear the electric version of Layla again.

The super security staff at the Royal Albert Hall (they must be the politest in the country) kindly and quietly advised those of us in the front row that if we wanted to be at the front of the stage before the customary stampede, to be ready on the first note of Cocaine.  Unfortunately it seems to have been the worst kept secret as the stampede began at the end of Little Queen of Spades.  My son and I just about made it, but my friend was shoved out of the way by a very determined fan.  We noticed some of the audience were not as polite as in the past, and unfortunately when we returned to our seats found our programmes had been stolen.  The only disappointment of the evening was that we were instructed not to take photos, particularly at Eric’s eye level, and I can appreciate the reason why after once standing next to a young girl at the front of the stage who stood with her back to Eric and took selfies (really!).  It’s a shame people who overstep the mark spoil things for those who are more discreet.

The show was over all too quickly, it was a fabulous evening and I don’t know who enjoyed it more, the band or the audience.  I’m keeping fingers crossed that Eric will still play at the Royal Albert Hall again, though I’d better start saving now.  Thanks Eric, the rest of the band and Doyle, you never disappoint and Clapton is still God.

Review by Norrie & Grace Fleming
My wife and I were back to see Eric Clapton again at the Royal Albert Hall. We were last there in 2015 thinking that it would be the last time we see him live as he stated he was retiring at 70 years old. It was a great surprise when it was announced he was doing short tours this year including three nights at the RAH and we managed to get tickets for the last night.

There was an anxious period when we learned he was ill and had to cancel a gig in the USA two months before coming to London. All was well though and it was great to see him walking out at the start looking good albeit a bit slimmer than previously.

The set list was similar from two years ago, with the usual acoustic part in the middle. The band members were the same apart from one of the backing singers. His singing was strong and guitar playing great, the crowd seem to lift him even higher at times. My favourites were (funny enough) the Cream standards - Badge, Crossroads and Sunshine of Your Love (the first of two encores, which is unusual for him in recent years). Listening to Wonderful Tonight always creates a special atmosphere in the Albert Hall too.

Overall, we had a great night and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Eric oncemore at this great venue. If this is the last time, so be it as we’ve had the pleasure of seeing him there many times with so many great musicians. Thanks Eric!!

Review by Jim Jackson
To any fan of rock and roll, and Eric Clapton specifically, the Royal Albert Hall is the Holy Grail.  Eric Clapton has performed here on many occasions and his iconic 24 Nights album from this iconic venue is a classic.  Every serious Clapton fan has this one in their music collection.

As an immense fan of the great Eric Clapton it has been on my so-called bucket list to see him perform at this shrine of musicdom.  Although having seen him in the States on numerous occasions going back to the days of Blind Faith, my dream has always been to see him at the Royal Albert Hall.  However, along with finances (or rather lack of them), marriage, children, jobs and no free time, this dream was never realized until last night.  The final night of Eric Clapton’s three-night stand at the RAH.

In the past getting tickets to music events was a tedious affair; in the US you would queue up very early at some record store, usually it seemed that it was a Sunday morning.  Then just before the anointed time, someone would hand you a numbered rubber band to tie onto your wrist.  A number was selected lottery-style and more often than not, your place in the queue was now much farther back, which subsequently meant that your seats in the venue were farther back.  Not so with procuring tickets at the Royal Albert Hall these days.  The RAH opened their ticket box offices at about 1:00am California time.  I had set my alarm and was waiting at my computer, in my pajamas, until they exact hour when they opened.  I was number 3,335 in the queue but considering that people all over the world were purchasing tickets, it was not too bad.  The numbers ahead of me dropped quickly and within a relatively short time my number came up, I selected two tickets and was rewarded with seats 115 and 116 in row 1 of the west choir section.  When I checked the Royal Albert Hall’s virtual seats I was beyond ecstatic when I discovered that there was no one in front of me except Mr. Clapton and his band! 

On the evening of May 25, my wife and I walked the few blocks to the RAH from our hotel in Kensington.  The evening was delightful and the walk pleasant, almost refreshing, especially so with the high level of anticipation.   My giddiness to see EC at the RAH was at an almost childlike level at Christmas Eve and my overall spirits were greatly enlivened.  When we arrived, we were let into the complex, although the arena wouldn’t open for another 30 minutes.  We took the opportunity to wander the mighty hall that surrounds the arena, observing the many photos on the walls and of course purchasing two very cool tee-shirts.

The show started after what seemed like an eternity with Doyle Bramhall II as the opening act.  He had played lead guitar in one of Eric’s bands that we had seen in the States.  His band was tight and they sounded great (except for a short portion where they did some improv-jazz-fusion which I dislike very much).  Then the stage was set for EC’s performance and just to watch the goings on from the choir rail looking down from just a few feet away was an amazing treat.  The stage crew removed the equipment from Doyle Bramhall II’s band and uncovered the equipment of Clapton’s band. The anticipation grew until I knew that at any moment Clapton would appear.  It grew very quiet and from the catacombs just below us out walked EC in a light shroud of fog.  The house lights were out and he walked center stage, gave the crowd a wave as his team emerged to take their places alongside their instruments. Cell phone cameras went off from every direction including mine, purchased specifically for taking a few photos of this wonderful occasion.  The poor guard that stood along our row tried in vain to get people to stop using their camera phones but to no avail.  I was even warned once, but after a time he just gave up and enjoyed the show like the rest of us.

Many of us knew a great gentleman, Minoru Tsubota, who passed away from our lives much too soon.  I couldn’t help but think about throughout this show and I hoped that he was in the RAH enjoying the show as much as I was.  Minoru dedicated much of his life to music and to spreading the joy that is Eric Clapton through his wonderful magazine, Mr. Slowhand. 

Before I knew, the band had already performed their finall encore, High Time We Went and the show ended much, much too soon.  I wanted this experience to last longer, even if it was just a little bit longer.  The wife and I walked from our seats next to the front of the stage where that friendly security man allowed us to stand, taking it all in.  The crew was already taking the stage set down and I heard the security man say, “Lady, please don’t lean over that rail.”  Then a man hands up a piece of paper to her and I’m thinking “damn, that woman got a set list!”  When I looked back, it was my wife who had gotten the set list!  I know it’s just a piece of paper, but for that matter Stonehenge is just a pile of rocks.  Her and I were beyond giddy at her good fortune and we laughed and giggled our way home, missing our street because we were chattering so much about the great show!

Review by Dave Robinson
I have been numerous times to RAH and I am still never disappointed with the arena and Eric. l must say that the band members played a big part on the night with great solos. Also, Eric's playing was sharp and crisp stand out numbers for me was I shot the sheriff, little queen of spades,cocaine,crossroads and sunshine of your love. We even had a small speech from Eric and the audience was in good form, I hope that more concerts will be played in the future. Thanks Eric.

Review by Gary Cunningham
Well, Its another trip to Albert’s Place for us…having seen Mr C here a number of times over the last 25 years. First, I was extremely disappointed with the setlist, being almost identical to the shows two years ago…I know he is “slowing down” a bit, but would have appreciated a bit more thought from Eric regarding song selection. We had just come fresh off a John Mayer show at the O2, where he changed songs every night! It may sound a little harsh, but he seems to be on auto pilot with the songs, especially Layla where he persists in doing the acoustic version! He seems to have lost a bit of the fire he once had. Of course his guitar playing is matchless, It was Eric who inspired my to pick up a guitar 30 years ago, and am now in a blues band and church worship band playing Strats and Martins. “Badge" was superb, along with “Sunshine” and he had great interplay with Doyle on “Queen of Spades”. I will continue to go see Eric as he has had such a huge influence on my life guitar wise and can never thank him enough…maybe I should just accept that even he has to “slow (hand) down” a bit!

Review by Hiroshi M
The final night. The show went down in much the same way as the second night, but in way-overheated responses from the crowd, as hot as the current almost summer-like London weather outside. Standing ovations occurred one after another through the entire show. Eric and the band, in turn, responded with an inspired playing, probably near the best as an artist reaching beyond the age of seventy as can achieve. Smiles all over his face from time to time, not a common sight that happens to the man known for his meagre interaction with the audience. He started the encore with Sunshine, which was not on the set list -- apparently an on-the-spot choice and a pleasant surprise. Three bows and then they left the stage. Set list aside, I got the impression that he did his best at this moment of his life. The RAH 2017 final night will be fondly remembered by fans for sure.

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