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1987 to 1996: Eric Clapton Band History and Lineups

The years between 1987 and 1996 represent the most diversity in Eric Clapton’s career in terms of the number of musicians he has worked with. The 10-year period would result in several soundtracks, two studio albums, two live albums recorded with SIX different band line-ups, annual residencies at London’s Royal Albert Hall (which sometimes featured four different band line-ups in one run), extensive world tours, blockbuster singles and industry accolades.

1987 began with three dates at the Royal Albert Hall with a Four Piece Band. These dates started a tradition that would grow in scope. For the next nine years, concerts at “The Albert” would become an annual event in the lives his fans. Eric Clapton toured consistently during 1987 and 1988. In 1988, he celebrated his 25th year in the music business. Clapton's third Albert Hall residency took place in early 1989. In the following months, he recorded “Journeyman”. Released in October 1989 it employed no less than 21 musicians.

Clapton began 1990 with 18 nights at the Royal Albert Hall employing four different bands: a Four Piece, Thirteen Piece, Blues Band and a Full Orchestra. These dates were filmed and recorded for a live album and video. But, Clapton was unhappy with the tapes and would try again the following year. In 1990 also went on a mammoth world tour to support Journeyman. In June, Eric Clapton and his band, along with some all-star guests, made an appearance at Knebworth, a 12-hour concert that raised money for the Nordoff-Robbins Foundation. Following a concert on 26 August 1990 during Clapton's U.S. Tour, Stevie Ray Vaughan - who had opened that night for Eric - and members of Clapton’s touring staff were killed in a tragic helicopter accident.

A record 24 nights at the Albert Hall by Eric Clapton kicked off 1991. The shows were again divided into four different configurations: Four Piece, Nine Piece, Blues Band and a Full Orchestra. Like the previous year, these shows were filmed and recorded. The resulting double live album and video released in 1992, 24 Nights, combined performances from both years and several different band lineups.

Eric Clapton planned to spend the bulk of 1991 with his young son, Conor. Tragically, Conor died in March 1991 when he fell from a window of his mother’s Manhattan apartment. After several months, Clapton returned to work composing music for the film “Rush”. These sessions produced the massive hit single “Tears In Heaven”, which was a poignant tribute to Conor. In December 1991, Eric Clapton and his group of touring musicians acted as “the band” for George Harrison’s first tour since 1974. The George Harrison / Eric Clapton Rock Legends Tour took place in Japan. The shows were recorded and released as a double live album the following year.  Eric Clapton’s four solo songs, performed as part of the set, were omitted from the official release. In more recent years, film from these concerts has been released on a number of George Harrison re-issues as "bonus tracks".

A watershed date in Eric Clapton’s career occurred on 16 January 1992. On that date, Clapton filmed an episode of the MTV Show, Unplugged, at London’s Bray Studios. The tv broadcast and subsequent home video and CD would usher in his greatest period of popularity. The companion CD is Eric Clapton’s biggest selling album. “Layla” - transformed into an acoustic shuffle - became a huge worldwide hit for the second time. The album and its smash single garnered three Grammy Awards at ceremonies in Los Angeles in 1993. Additionally, "Tears In Heaven" from the Rush soundtrack, received three Grammy Awards at the same ceremony.

After the 1992 Albert Hall residency, Clapton embarked on a brief U.S. tour in the spring. In the summer, Clapton toured Europe and the U.S. and did several joint concerts with Elton John at large outdoor stadiums. At several of these shows, the Clapton and John performed "Runaway Train"; a single they had recorded earlier in the year which was currently on the charts. A video for it was filmed at Wembley Stadium.

By 1993, Eric Clapton had finally reached a point in his career where he was comfortable enough to return to "Nothing But The Blues". His 1993 Albert Hall season was an all-blues show that introduced a brand new Clapton band lineup that would remain fairly stable up until 1996.

The 1994 Albert Hall residency was an all-blues show as well. Later in the year, Eric Clapton entered the studio to record an all-blues album, From The Cradle made up of blues standards by Eric’s musical heroes. In May 1994, Clapton performed a solo acoustic concert at New York’s Lincoln Center to benefit the T.J. Martell Foundation. He then hit the road playing all-blues shows around the world, including a number of small club dates in America. Clapton's blues tour continued through 1995.

The 1996 Albert Hall dates would be his final annual residency at the venue although Clapton would return on his own for the occasional one-off charity concert. The 1996 concerts featured a combination of blues and hits. In June, Eric Clapton appeared for the first time in over 25 years in London’s Hyde Park for The Masters of Music Concert that benefited the Princes’ Trust.

The band lineups and the dates of Eric Clapton’s participation are as follows:

1987 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums). Special guests were Mark Knopfler (guitar � all 6 shows), Phil Collins (drums � last two shows), Steve Winwood (8 January 1987), and Sting (8 January 1987)

1988 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Mark Knopfler (guitar), Alan Clark (keyboards), Ray Cooper (percussion), Tessa Niles (vocals), and Katie Kissoon (vocals)

1988 25th ANNIVERSARY TOUR
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Mark Knopfler (guitar), Alan Clark (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Tessa Niles (vocals - entire tour), Tracy Ackerman (vocals - Japan only) and Katie Kissoon (vocals - all dates except Japan). Elton John joined the band for several dates in Japan.

1989 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
FOUR PIECE: Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), and Phil Collins (drums)
BIG BAND: Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Alan Clark (keyboards), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Tessa Niles (vocals). Special guests were Mark Knopfler (guitar) and Carole King (vocals).

1989 TOUR (August - October)
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Alan Clark (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Phil Palmer (guitar), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Tessa Niles (vocals)

1990 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
FOUR PIECE: Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), and special guest Phil Collins on 24 January 1990
THIRTEEN PIECE: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Phil Palmer (guitar), Nathan East (bass), Steve Ferrone (drums), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Alan Clark (keyboards), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), Tessa Niles (vocals), Ronnie Cuber (horns), Randy Brecker (horns), Alan Rubin (horns), and Louis Marini (horns)
BLUES NIGHTS: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Robert Cray (guitar / vocals), Buddy Guy (guitar / vocals), Johnnie Johnson (piano), Jamie Oldaker (drums), and Robert Cousins (bass)
ORCHESTRA NIGHTS: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Alan Clark (keyboards), Phil Palmer (guitar), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), Tessa Niles (vocals), and the National Philharmonic Orchestra with Michael Kamen, conducting

1990 JOURNEYMAN TOUR (February - November)
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Alan Clark (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Phil Palmer (guitar), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Tessa Niles (vocals)

1991 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
FOUR PIECE: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), and Steve Ferrone (drums)
NINE PIECE: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Phil Palmer (guitar), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Tessa Niles (vocals)
BLUES NIGHTS: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Robert Cray (guitar / vocals), Buddy Guy (guitar / vocals), Jimmie Vaughan (guitar), Albert Collins (guitar), Johnnie Johnson (piano), Jamie Oldaker (drums), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), and Joey Spampinato (bass)
ORCHESTRA NIGHTS: Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Nathan East (bass), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Phil Palmer (guitar), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), Tessa Niles (vocals), National Philharmonic Orchestra with Michael Kamen, conducting

ROCK LEGENDS JAPAN TOUR (December 1991)
George Harrison (guitar / vocals), Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Nathan East (bass / vocals), Greg Phillinganes (keyboards), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Steve Ferrone (drums), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Ray Cooper (percussion), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Tessa Niles (vocals)

THE UNPLUGGED BAND (16 January 1992) and 1992 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Nathan East (bass), Steve Ferrone (drums), Ray Cooper (percussion), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Tessa Niles (vocals)

1992 TOUR
Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Nathan East (bass), Steve Ferrone (drums), Ray Cooper (percussion), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Gina Foster (vocals)

1993 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Andy Fairweather Low (guitar), Donald “Duck” Dunn (bass), Richie Hayward (drums), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), The Kickhorns - Roddy Lorimer (trumpet), Simon Clarke (baritone sax), and Tim Sanders (tenor sax). Special guests were Buddy Guy (guitar), and Jimmie Vaughan (guitar).

1993 TOUR
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Nathan East (bass), Richie Hayward (drums), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Maggie Ryder (vocals), and Katie Kissoon (vocals)

1994 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Dave Bronze (bass), Richie Hayward (drums), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Maggie Ryder (vocals), and Katie Kissoon (vocals)

FROM THE CRADLE SESSIONS
Eric Clapton (guitar/vocals), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Dave Bronze (bass), Jim Keltner (drums), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Chris Stainton (keyboards), The Kickhorns � Roddy Lorimer (trumpet), Simon Clarke (baritone saxophone), and Tim Sanders (tenor saxophone)

1994 US TOUR
Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Dave Bronze (bass), Andy Newmark (drums), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Chris Stainton (keyboards), and The Kickhorns � Roddy Lorimer (trumpet), Simon Clarke (baritone saxophone), and Tim Sanders (tenor saxophone)

1995 ROYAL ALBERT HALL and 1995 TOUR
Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Dave Bronze (bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Chris Stainton (keyboards), and The Kickhorns � Roddy Lorimer (trumpet), Simon Clarke (baritone saxophone), and Tim Sanders (tenor saxophone)

1996 ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Eric Clapton (guitar / vocals), Dave Bronze (bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Andy Fairweather-Low (guitar), Jerry Portnoy (harmonica), Chris Stainton (keyboards), and The Kickhorns � Roddy Lorimer (trumpet), Simon Clarke (baritone saxophone), and Tim Sanders (tenor saxophone), Katie Kissoon (vocals), and Tessa Niles (vocals)

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