Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Steve Winwood – vocals / Hammond B3 / piano / guitar
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Abe Laboriel, Jr. – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
01. Had To Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence of The Lord
05. Sleeping in the Ground
07. Well Alright
08. Tough Luck Blues
09. Pearly Queen
10. There's A River
11. Forever Man
12. Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
14. How Long Blues
16. Can't Find My Way Home
17. Split Decision
18. Voodoo Chile
19. Cocaine (encore)
20. Dear Mr. Fantasy (encore)
Steve Winwood continues to tweak "his" songs ... "Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" was back and "There's A River" was performed for the third night in a row.
Review by Paul Robitaille / Las Vegas NV
Many many people have stated that EC prefers to play the sideman in a band situation rather than being in the limelight as it gives him time to really consider, and focus, on his playing. For night 12, I cannot agree with those people more.
OMG! From the opening notes of "Had To Cry Today", the near sell-out crowd of mostly over, say 45 years, was totally captured by the mesmerizing duet of two legendary performers for this outstanding 2 hour 12 minute show on a Hot Las Vegas Night.
EC greeted the audience with a smiling "Good Evening", immediately launching in to "Had To Cry Today", with EC and SW trading off solos and feeding off one another in an amazing display of guitarmanship. SW took the lead vocals, the one low point coming from the backing vocals of Michelle John and Sharon White (they seemed to drown out SW's vocals at points) though to be fair, this initial problem seemed to clear up later on during the show. Next up to the plate was "Low Down", where the trend continued with more amazing solos by both.
Moving into "After Midnight", EC took the lead vocals and the solos. Both looked very relaxed and extremely comfortable with each other and their bandmates. It's pure magic watching these two perform and even better hearing them. "Presence Of The Lord" was inspiring, with EC providing the majority of the vocals and another outstanding and inspired solo. The standing ovation was greeted by a smiling "thank you" from EC to the crowd.
The next three numbers, "Sleeping In the Ground", "Glad" (amazing performance by SW), and "Well Alright" were proof positive that things do get better with age! More outstanding vocal work by mostly SW and amazing showmanship by both performers and their entire band. It should be noted that the drumming provided by Abe Laboriel, Jr, during the entire show, seemed far superior to that of last year's MSG tour where Ian Thomas was performing at that position. I don't know if that is because Abe and Willie Weeks just seem to "click" better or if it is simply that Abe is a better drummer.
On "Tough Luck Blues" an absolutely kick ass solo soared! We were really getting our moneys worth already - no doubt about it! SW shined, as has been noted by others on "Pearly Queen", followed by EC on "There's A River". "Forever Man" was up next and believe me when I tell you that this was yet another show stopper. I cannot begin to explain to anyone that has not witnessed this dynamic duo on tour, the magic that is being created onstage. Eric just seems so relaxed and damn happy just to be on stage doing his thing, not being the lynch pin, but instead, being the sidekick. As stated by me and many others before, he really seems to have taken his playing to yet another level on this tour ... more relaxed equals better concentration on his playing? You do the math.
How lucky we were to have seen Mr. Winwood (solo) on the next number, "Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys". Replacing for the evening "Georgia On My Mind", this was one of those songs that literally had the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck standing up. WOW! Standing ovations galore!
At this point, we are nearly wiped out with emotions. This concert has to be the best we have ever seen and it's not even over yet. Next up was an acoustic number with "Driftin", "How Long Blues" (nice shared vocals) and "Layla" (acoustic), during which SW took the revered solo over EC. Now THAT is confidence and friendship. "Can't Find My Way Home" was another acoustic duet that really shined. My oh my! What the heck can they pull off next?
"Split Decision" was a return to the Electric set and was true to form, with great vocals by SW and soaring guitar work by the master himself. Now just when you don't think it's possible to get any better, "Voodoo Chile" starts up with Eric's sustain on overdrive. Holy moley! Where is the hat he keeps pulling this stuff out of? Eric, quite simply, let loose every sonic note possible in this bombastic guitar salute to Hendrix! Easily the most "GUITAR GOD" rendering of the evening, with his Strat withstanding every assault possible, and that finished off their set.
After a two or three minute overwhelming standing ovation, the band returned for a two song encore. First up "Cocaine" which, of course, got every one dancing. This was followed by "Dear Mr. Fantasy", during which Mr. Winwood, once again shined. With this song finished, the house lights came on and the band left the stage for the final time.
Now, to be completely fair, what you must also know is that throughout the evening, the other band mates consisting of Chris Stainton - Keyboards, Willie Weeks - Bass, Abe Laboriel, Jr. - Drums, and Ms. John and Ms. White - Backing Vocals, provided the perfect situation in which to perform. They each were given the opportunity to shine themselves, and pulled it off too! Amazing bass lines, solid drumming, outstanding solos on keyboards and HUGE support on backing vocals is really what allowed Steve and Eric to do what they do best. Without them, it would have been a great show, but with them, it was simply EXTRAORDINARY!
Review by Quinton Cannon / Salt Lake City UT
This show was amazing. Clapton and Winwood got on stage right away and got down to business. Right from the first lick of "Had To Cry Today" I was freaking out ... laughing and applauding every chance I got. The two of them exchanged riffs while soloing, each playing off the other, which is incredibly difficult and awesome if done correctly. They just demolished any recording I have heard of the tune. Incredible work, not only by the headliners, but by the entire band. And they stayed that way the whole night. They just kept building momentum the whole night, and never let down!
"Can't Find My Way Home" and "Presence of the Lord" are two of my very favorite tunes. And the band put their souls into both of these songs in a way I cannot describe. I was overcome with emotion. It was beautiful, man. I have never seen such a display of emotion through music in person. That is, until they played Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile." I never thought anybody would come even close to Hendrix's spooky recording ... I was wrong. They came as close as anybody ever will. They played it in a way that can only be described as magical. Stevie sounded as crisp on that organ as he did in the original recording on Electric Ladyland. It was incredible.
Needless to say, I was on my feet cheering after every song! I have never been to a concert like that and never will again. I saw Clapton play with Trucks and Bramhall back in '07 and that show was incredible. But this show blew that one out of the water. Which is something that is not easily done. Thank you guys for getting together and going on tour. I will never forget this show.
Review by Jon C. Dupee
I caught my third and final show of the Clapton / Winwood tour at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night. (I also caught the first 2 shows of the tour, the review is posted in the entry for the Philadelphia show on this website). The MGM is probably the smallest venue they played this tour and I had a particularly sweet sounding seat location to observe the show from.
The Vegas show was awesome, with great sound throughout the show and great jamming even during the more contemporary stuff like Split Decision.
Some minor complaints about the show. I don't know why they dropped Little Wing from the set as this song soared to higher and higher heights at all of the previous Winwood Clapton shows I have seen and was played to perfection at the Allman Brothers shows at New York's Beacon Theater [Eric C guested with the band on 19 and 20 March 2009 during their annual run at the venue]. I was really stoked to here Winwood do Low Spark though I think Clapton should have played on this number as well. Also, I believe Layla should not be played acoustically. They should have done electric versions of this song along with Can't Find My Way Home at at least some of the concerts on this tour.
All in all though this was an outstanding performance in Las Vegas, a town not known for its rock audiences. I was concerned they might mail it in for this one; they certainly did not.