Event Host – Bill Murray
Set List: Gloria (Bill Murray with Eric Clapton)
US Actor / Comedian Bill Murray served as the event’s emcee. He greeted the crowd shortly before noon. For those who had already made their way to their seats or spots on the field at that early hour, they heard Eric Clapton jam on “Gloria” with Bill (who said it’s the only song he knows how to play on guitar!)
Set 1 : Sonny Landreth (5 songs)
Set List: Port of Calling / Promised Land / Native Stepson / Uberesso / Hell At Home (with Eric Clapton)
Set 2: John McLaughlin (3 songs)
Set List: Five Peace Band / Maharina / Senor C.S.
Set 3: Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas (6 songs)
Band Lineup: Alison Krauss (vocals / fiddle), Barry Bales (bass / vocals), Ron Block (banjo / guitar / vocals), Jerry Douglas (dobro), Dan Tyminski (guitar / mandolin)
Set List: Every Time You Say Goodbye / This Sad Song / Far Side Bank Of The Jordan (?) / Simple Love / Away Down The River / Oh Atlanta
Set 4: Doyle Bramhall II (4 songs)
Set List: Rosie / Oh Death / Early In The Morning / Outside Woman Blues
Set 5: The Derek Trucks Band with Johnny Winter (5 songs)
Band Lineup: Derek Trucks (guitar), Todd Smallie (bass / vocals), Yonrico Scott (drums / percussion / vocals), Kofi Burbridge (keyboards / flute / vocals), Mike Mattison (vocals), Count M’butu (congas / percussion), Susan Tedeschi (guest vocals / guitar) with special guest, Johnny Winter (guitar)
Set List: Sahib Teri Bandi - Maki Madni - Sahib Teri Bandi / I Wish I Knew / Little by LIttle (with Susan Tedeschi) / Anyday (with Susan Tedeschi) / Highway 61 (with Johnny Winter)
Set 6: Robert Randolph & The Family Band (3 songs)
Band Lineup: Robert Randolph (vocals / steel guitar), Marcus Randolph (drums), Danyel Morgan (bass / vocals), Jason Crosby (hammond organ / piano)
Set List: The March / Nobody / Soul Refreshing
Set 7: Robert Cray Band with Jimmie Vaughan, Hubert Sumlin and B.B. King (14 songs)
Band Lineup: Robert Cray (vocals / guitar), Kevin Hayes (drums), Jim Pugh (keyboards), Karl Sevareid (bass) with special guests Jimmie Vaughan (vocals / guitar), Hubert Sumlin (vocals / guitar), B.B. King (vocals, guitar)
Set List: Poor Johnny / Twenty / I’m Walking / Roll Roll Roll (with Jimmie Vaughan) / Crossroads(with Jimmie Vaughan) / Six Strings Down (with Jimmie Vaughan) / Killing Floor (with Hubert Sumlin) / Sitting On Top Of The World (with Hubert Sumlin) / Paying The Cost To Be The Boss (with B.B. King) / Rock Me Baby (with B.B. King) / The Thrill Is Gone (with B.B. King)
B.B. King’s words between songs about Eric Clapton were particularly moving. B.B. said, “I’ll probably embarrass him, but I just need to do it, Eric,” King said, lifting his red plastic cup of water. “I’ve been around the world, I’ve met kings and queens. But I’ve never met a better man, a more gracious man - my friend Eric Clapton. May I live forever, but may you live forever and a day. Because I don’t want to be here if you’re not around.”
Set 8: Guitar Center’s King of the Blues Contest Winner Aaron Loesch
Set 9: John Mayer (5 songs)
Set List: Waiting On The World To Change / Belief / Vulture / I Don’t Need No Doctor / Gravity
Set 10: Vince Gill with Albert Lee, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson (12 songs)
Set List: Liza Jane / Cowboy Up / Rhythm of the Pouring Rain / Sweet Thing / Tear It Up (with Albert Lee) / Country Boy (with Albert Lee) / If It Makes You Happy (with Sheryl Crow) / Strong Enough (with Sheryl Crow and Allison Krauss) / Tulsa Time (with EC, Sheryl Crow) / Funny How Time Slips Away - Crazy - Nightlife Medley (with Willie Nelson) / Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain (with Willie Nelson) / On The Road Again (with Willie Nelson)
Set 11: Los Lobos (5 songs)
Band Lineup: David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Conrad Lozano, Cesar Rojas, Steve Berlin
Set List: Don’t Worry Baby / Chuco’s Cumbia / Georgia Stop / Chains of Love / Mas y Mas
Set 12: Jeff Beck (11 songs)
Band Lineup: Jeff Beck (guitar), Tal Wilkenfeld (bass), Jason Rebello (keyboards), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums)
Set List: Resolution / Eternity’s Breath / You Never Know / ‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers / Stratus / Behind The Veil / Nadia / Led Boots / Angel (Footsteps) / Big Block / Good Bye Pork Pie Hat - Brush With The Blues / A Day In The Life
Set 13: Eric Clapton with Robbie Robertson and Steve Winwood (15 songs)
Band Lineup: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Doyle Bramhall II (guitar / backing vocals), Derek Trucks (guitar), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Tim Carmon (keyboards), Willie Weeks (bass), Ian Thomas (drums), Steve Jordan (drums), Sharon White (backing vocals), Michelle John (backing vocals) and special guests Robbie Robertson (guitar / vocals) and Steve Winwood (hammond organ / guitar / vocals)
Set List: Tell The Truth / Key To The Highway / Got To Get Better In A Little While / Isn’t It A Pity / Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad / Little Queen Of Spades / Who Do You Love (with Robbie Robertson) / Further On Up The Road (with Robbie Robertson) / Pearly Queen (with Steve Winwood) / Presence Of The Lord (with Steve Winwood) / Can’t Find My Way Home (with Steve Winwood) / Had To Cry Today (with Steve Winwood) / Dear Mr. Fantasy (Steve Winwood solo, Eric left the stage for this song) / Cocaine / Crossroads
Set 14: Buddy Guy with EC and Special Guests (6 songs)
Set List: Mary Had A Little Lamb / Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues / Hoochie Coochie Man (with EC) / Sweet Home Chicago (with EC, Johnny Winter, John Mayer, Huber Sumlin, more) / Stone Crazy (with EC, Johnny Winter, John Mayer, Huber Sumlin, more) / She’s 19 Years Old (with EC, Johnny Winter, John Mayer, Huber Sumlin, more)
This single-day event served as a fundraising endowment for Crossroads Centre Antigua, a drugs / alcohol rehabilitation clinic, founded by Eric Clapton. It was broadcast in its entirety as an internet video stream. Highlights were later released officially on DVD.
Review by Sam Saunders
This Saturday (28 July 2007) I had the absolute pleasure of attending Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival located here in Chicago (or more specifically the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview). The night prior to the fest I attended a party thrown by Warner Bros for Clapton fan club members at the Hilton. The party was attended by people from all over the country, all over the world really, and it was a thrill meeting so many of the folks I've chatted with online at the old Cream2005 message boards and the ecaccess site (Clapton's official fanclub) over the last couple years. At the end of the event Clapton's management team sent over a box of Crossroads programs that were quite literally hot off the presses for all who had rsvp'd. A very nice touch!
The next day I met up with a fellow club member at the Hilton and we boarded a limo to the fest. We got there a little before three and after scoping the place out for a bit I took my seat in time for Robert Cray's set. Before long he brought out Jimmie Vaughan and legendary Howlin' Wolf sideman Hubert Sumlin and the three jammed on the Howlin' Wolf classic "Killing Floor" (famously appropriated by Led Zeppelin for "The Lemon Song"). B.B. King was the next to appear and he filled the stadium with his rich, trademark tone and stinging vibrato during "Rock Me Baby". An early highlight was his lengthy and very emotional speech honoring Clapton prior to "The Thrill Is Gone", as Clapton watched from the side of the stage.
John Mayer followed and while I'm not much of a fan of his, I will admit he did deliver some pretty scorching guitar toward the end of his set. Not long after that came another one of the fest's early highlights when Sheryl Crow took the stage and performed "If It Makes You Happy" backed by Vince Gill and former Clapton sideman Albert Lee. I've always liked that song and she sure sang the hell out of it Saturday! A couple songs later she was joined by Clapton for a joyous rendition of Don Williams' "Tulsa Time" (which he recorded for his 1978 album "Backless"). Willie Nelson was next and he delivered a short but sweet set featuring his standards "Crazy" and "On The Road Again" for which he was joined by Crow.
After an appearance by Los Lobos came time for the heavy hitters, the first of which was legendary guitar god Jeff Beck. Beck was phenomenal as was his very young (and very cute) bass player Tal Wilkenfield, but after a forty minute plus set featuring nothing but his legendary guitar pyrotechnics I found myself getting a bit restless for Clapton's set and trust other members of the crowd were as well. Still, there's no denying his instrumental rendition of The Beatles' "A Day In The Life" brought the house down.
After the sun started to set master of ceremonies Bill Murray sauntered up to the mic dressed in Cream-era Clapton garb and you knew it was time for the man himself to take the stage. He did not dissapoint launching into the Derek and The Dominos' classics "Tell The Truth", "Key To The Highway" and "Got To Get Better In A Little While" backed by his most recent touring band which includes Doyle Bramhall and Derek Trucks on guitars, Willie Weeks on bass, Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on keys, Steve Jordan on drums and this time around a second drummer, Ian Thomas. After these first three songs Clapton addressed the crowd, dedicating the next song to "somebody who couldn't be here tonight but I know he's here anyway" and with that introduction came the instantly recognizable chords to George Harrison's magnificent ballad "Isn't It A Pity", a most unexpected surprise! The performance of this song was epic in it's scope with slide master Derek Trucks echoing the crystalline tone of Harrison's original slide solo, all the while inserting some gorgeous flourishes of his own.
Another Derek and The Dominos classic followed in the form of "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad" featuring some transcendent guitar interplay between Trucks and Clapton standing shoulder to shoulder at the song's end, guitars seemingly soaring to the heavens above! The Robert Johnson penned "Little Queen Of Spades" came next featuring some of Clapton's most inspired guitar work of the night. There he stood in classic Clapton style- head tilted back, eyes closed, face wrenched in concentration and out came the sublime phrasing and sheer emotional intensity that the name Eric Clapton has been synonymous with for four decades.
It was at this point that Clapton brought out his first special guest, The Band's notoriously reclusive visionary Robbie Robertson. A huge influence on Clapton's own playing post-Cream. The pair jammed on Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" before launching into "Further On Up The Road", the song they famously duetted on in Martin Scorcese's 1976 film "The Last Waltz". Witnessing Clapton and Robertson trading licks again after all these years would normally be a pretty hard concert experience to top but the best was yet to come!
It was then that Stevie Winwood joined Clapton and company, first performing the Traffic classic "Pearly Queen" (another rather unexpected surprise) before beginning the heavily anticipated stretch of Blind Faith classics. "Presence Of The Lord" was up first (the very first song Clapton penned entirely on his own and a personal favorite of yours truly) with Winwood and Clapton sharing the lead vocal. "Can't Find My Way Home" came next with much of the throngs in attendance singing along and Winwood's vocals sounding exactly like those of the almost forty year old recording. This was goosebump worthy stuff! For the psychedelic tinged "Had To Cry Today" the two men stood side by side trading delicious lick after lick, just as they had on the original recording, with the band behind them pounding out a ferocious foundation!
Clapton left the stage while Winwood performed another Traffic classic "Dear Mr. Fantasty", long a highlight of his own concerts. It seemed many of those in attendance were taken back by what an impressive guitarist Winwood (who's probably best known for his organ work) is in his own right, but this was something I was well aware of myself, having seen Winwood perform this song previously. Clapton rejoined the band for jam happy renditions of "Cocaine" and "Crossroads" with Winwood staying on and that was that. No "Layla" this time around, but the Blind Faith classics sounded so impressive I'm not sure anyone really missed it.
Clapton made the very classy move of giving our hometown hero Buddy Guy the closing set. I saw a lot of people heading to the exits prior to Buddy's set, but those of us who stayed on couldn't have cared less. Buddy was most definitely "on", launching into a furious take on his classic arrangement of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" before performing his signature tune "Damn Right I've Got The Blues" which featured some of the most jaw dropping guitar work of the entire festival. At this point Clapton (who was all smiles) came back out for Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man". Then came the completely predictable but thoroughly enjoyable all-star jam on "Sweet Home Chicago" featuring Buddy, E.C., Johnny Winters, Robert Cray, John Mayer, Jimmie Vaughan and Hubert Sumlin. One last hurrah followed, another Muddy Waters standard "She's Nineteen Years Old", before the entire cast took their final bow and the rest of us began our journey home.
All in all, it was a pretty incredible concert experience filled with all sorts of highlights, but it was the Clapton/Winwood renditions of "Presence Of The Lord", "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Had To Cry Today" that really put it all over the top. My only complaint would be that there was some minor problems with the sound throughout the day. This was particularly annoying during the beginning of Clapton's set as it seemed quite a bit quieter than the previous performance by Jeff Beck, but thankfully they seemed to have that sorted out by the time he brought Winwood on.
I saw camera crews roaming around filming for a forthcoming DVD and I've just learned that a release date for early November has been set. Also set for release this fall is Clapton's autobiography and a just announced, two disc, career spanning greatest hits set.
Review by Richard Sutton
I attended the recent Crossroads 2007 Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, Illinois and was, like everyone else in attendance, blown away by the experience and the level of talent on display. While every musician added greatly to the overall, especially BB and Steve Winwood, the day and night still belonged to EC. Nobody else could have assembled this number of extraordinary musicians and nobody else has the ability to consistently perform at such a high level. Jeff Beck might be fast as hell and a virtuoso guitarist but his music lacks soul. Derek Trucks might be a great slide guitarist but he plays without emotion or passion. Eric Clapton is still the man. I can't wait for the next opportunity to see him in concert. He is the leader of the greatest band in the world and continues to show why he will go down as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Read a book about him some day and you will be amazed at his historical impact on rock and blues music. From the days when he played with Hendrix and the Beatles to his time with Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominoes he continuesto evolve and amaze. EC is God and don't you forget it.
Review by Bob
I have seen Eric many times over the years starting with the tour he did with Muddy Waters, which was I believe 78 or 79. It has always been a great musical experience. Up until I attended the Crossroads Fest last weekend, my 2 favorite shows were that show with Eric, Muddy and Johnny Winter all together for an all star jam and the From the Cradle tour, where Eric played so many blues classics.
But after last week, I can't say that anymore. Eric's performance last Saturday was so hot that it should be in the dictionary under incendiary. He was on fire. This was obviously one of those nights where everything clicked and Eric was at his fiery best. I can't wait for the dvd.
Review by Geri Saar
Awesome.. they played their hearts out for us on a perfect Chicago day. Eric and Steve Winwood playing the Blind Faith portfolio were better than they were the first time. Jeff Beck was truly fine. I could have traveled for 20 years to 90 countries and never seen the performances I saw on July 28th. It was an amazing day with so much talent and amazing music - a wide spectrum of amazing performers who graced us with their art.
Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007 (DVD)
Crossroads Guitar Festival (ARMS 139/140/141PR – 3 CD)