Eric Clapton – guitar / vocals
Doyle Bramhall II – guitar / vocals
Chris Stainton – keyboards
Tim Carmon – keyboards
Willie Weeks – bass
Steve Jordan – drums
Michelle John – backing vocals
Sharon White – backing vocals
Robert Cray – guitar / vocals*
01. Tell The Truth
02. Key To The Highway
03. Got To Get Better In A Little While
04. Little Wing
05. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?
07. Outside Woman Blues
08. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
09. Running On Faith
10. Motherless Children
11. Little Queen Of Spades
12. Further On Up The Road
13. Wonderful Tonight
15. Cocaine (encore)
16. Crossroads (encore)*
Review by Matt Janzen
Fifteen years ago I picked up a Fender Stratocaster, determined to learn how to play like Eric Clapton. I learned some songs, copped some riffs, but tonightâ€”seeing him live for the first timeâ€”I learned something: nobody plays like Clapton. Opening with Tell the Truth, Eric set the tone for the evening and the intensity never let up. Many of the songs were old Derek & the Dominos tunes and they received a truly inspiring workout tonight. One highlight of the first set was the infectiously funky Got to Get Better, punctuated by a wicked Willie Weeks bass solo. Little Wing was a showcase for Ericâ€™s emotional, lyrical phrasing while Why Does Love - replacing Let It Rain, the one change from Calgarys setlist - again provided ample opportunity for band members to take the spotlight. They did not disappoint. Everybody seemed to be on top of his game. Special recognition goes to the incredibly tight rhythm section of Steve Jordan and the aforementioned Willie Weeks who consistently provided the foundation upon which the others were given freedom to explore the boundaries of musical expression.
The sit-down set was solid with an impressive rendition of Driftinâ€™ kicking things off. Eric, accompanied only by Steve, effortlessly delivered a textbook reading of electric blues guitar; the kind of playing that frustrates every aspiring guitarist sitting in his room trying to figure out how to make the sound of pain, suffering, and redemption come out of a guitar. An impassioned Nobody Knows You closed the set. Its easy to forget how good Eric is but, as he played the intro on his Martin acoustic, it became clear that, when it comes to communicating feeling and emotion through six metal strings, he has no peer. The increasing intensity of the song culminated in a striking solo from Doyle Bramhall II who impressed throughout the show. I was reminded of some of his fantastic work with the Arc Angels as he ably took on occasional lead vocals or harmonized beautifully with Eric. His guitar playing is also worthy of mention. Playing on a left-handed Strat or Les Paul strung upside down, he pulled off uniquely phrased solo lines again and again. He does not look at all uncomfortable next to the master.
The only disappointment for me was that Derek Trucks is not playing on this leg of the tour. He was missed tonight; especially in the coda of Layla where his unbelievable slide playing might have challenged the late great Duane Allman's magical studio version. To me, it felt as though something was missing. Derek would have been the icing but, as it was, we had our cake and we ate it too. And it was delicious.
In the end, the third set and encore simply confirmed what I'd known from the beginning: Eric is inimitable. As he performed songs and solos that he's played, in the case of Crossroads, for almost forty years, I could feel what he feltâ€”real or imagined, it doesn't really matter to me. Ultimately, what struck me about Eric is this: He doesn't just play guitar; he communicates emotion. He exudes pure, unadulterated joy or crushing sorrow as he wrings every last note out of his faithful Strat. He rips through minor pentatonic phrases that boggle the mind. He bends soul-stirring lines that rip out the heart. He speaks more clearly through his guitar than most people ever could with words. The man feels it. Tonight, so did I.
Review by Dave Brundrit
As expected Eric Clapton was absolutley bang on, not a note out of place. From his non chalant entrance right into Tell the truth to the finale of Crossroads he was absolutley brilliant.There are few musicans of his caliber,as a veteran of many concerts over my lifetime i would have to rank this as the second best show i have ever seen behind Jethro Tulls light and dark tour.There are two complaints I have with the show though,the first being that it was very mechanical, it was almost as though you were pearing into a well polished rehersal.There was very little interaction between the band members and even less between the band and the audience, allthough everyone in the arena was mesmerized by the quality of the music.The second complaint being how can you revisit such a classic album as Layla and other assorted love songs and leave out Bell bottom blues???I am very happy that he pulled out so many gems from that album,as the highlights of the show for me all came from there.Little wing was stunning, Tell the truth, Key to the highway and Nobody knows you when your down and out all being the brightest spots in the show for me.But no Bell bottom blues I just don't get that.I had checked out previous set lists so i knew it was very unlikley things would change as the setlists for the whole tour have been almost identicle.But i still held out hope that maybe somehow it would get pulled out here in winnipeg,is it just me or is that not one of the best songs in Eric's cataloge. In all of music for that matter.Oh well,you can't always get what you want,but i did get what i needed and that was a perfectly executed show with some of the best musicans around.Bravo Mr. Clapton very well done.And as for Robert cray allthough too short for my liking his set was was awesome as well,a perfect compliment to a Clapton show. All things considered I am very glad i had the chance to attend and give full marks to all of the musicans.Being a long time fan of the Arc angels it was great having the chance to see Doyle Bramhall work his magic live.Also the Tour program is great,be sure to pick one up as a memento of one of the best show's you'll have the chance to see.
Review by Dave
I went to Eric's show in Winnipeg tonight, and for the most part was very disappointed. Yes he is a great guitarist, we all know that, but why doesn't a guy with so many hits, only play a few at the end of the show. So many songs were left out, such as Lay Down Sally, Tears in heaven, after midnight, I shot the sheriff, my fathers eyes, white room, just to name a few. I understand a guy like Clapton has so many songs to choose from that he may leave a couple big ones out, but all these top selling songs? Why? When I shell out $100 bucks a ticket, get a sitter, take my wife, I do expect a few songs that made me a fan...I don't get it. On a side note, he did not say one word to the crowd, except the odd thank you after a song. Too bad, I really like his music, I just wish he played more of the popular songs.
Review by Tony Wolfe
What can I say? This was the most unbelievable experience of my life. I waited my whole life to see Clapton in concert and last night at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg I finally got my chance. Watching Clapton play is an experience in itself. The jamming was incredible and the sound system was phenomenal. Eric was asked recently what he would like to accomplish now that he was turning 60. He said, in all seriousness, "to become a better guitar player." Incredible! It doesn't get any better than what I saw last night. Eric-you are the king. Thank you for an awesome concert!
Review by Jody
Wow. Is there really anymore needed to be said? When Eric walked out on stage, the place erupted. No words were necessary as he just started into making his guitar do the talking. This was truly a concert for the true fans, not just the - Oh I know him, doesn't he do Layla? - crowd.
I truly enjoyed Motherless Children and Driftin', and my daughters favourite was Running on Faith. The guitar solos and extended jam sessions were a real treat. The sound was crystal clear which was wonderful to hear Eric's guitar sing and send shivers down your spine. The energy absolutely exploded when the first riffs of Layla were played. Crossroads with Robert Cray was fantastic and I have not been able to get that song out of my head for days. Bramhall was magnificent, what an artist. His guitar ability is superb. I enjoyed the big screens that were up so we could watch the hands do what they were born to do, ignite a guitar on fire. Thank you Eric and all the performers for a great evening that will soon not be forgotten.