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Blog // Creativity
February 22, 2011

Eric Clapton

Friday night was a chance to see Eric Clapton live in concert. He toured Hong Kong a few years ago, with guitarists Doyle Bramhall III and Derek Trucks joining him on guitar. This time Eric was the only guitarist and it was a more straightforward, greatest hits oriented show (here’s the only other local blog […]

Friday night was a chance to see Eric Clapton live in concert. He toured Hong Kong a few years ago, with guitarists Doyle Bramhall III and Derek Trucks joining him on guitar. This time Eric was the only guitarist and it was a more straightforward, greatest hits oriented show (here’s the only other local blog review I could find). After a tough week (my father in hospital and problems on a couple of projects) I was in the mood for some good music.

Eric was joined again by Chris Stainton on electric piano, Tim Carmon on organ and keyboards and the legendary Willie Weeks on bass. The big treat was seeing the always amazing Steve Gadd on drums. Gadd is one of those players whose brilliance doesn’t steal the limelight, but lifts every song he plays on (and, as you can see on his discography, he’s played on a lot of songs!).

The opening tunes were solid, with a groove that evoked Eric’s mid-70s bands (his last tour was more oriented towards his late 60s sound and feel). In particular, there were solid versions of Hoochie Coochie Man, Old Love and I Shot The Sheriff. Then Eric sat down for an acoustic set (with Weeks joining him on acoustic bass). Eric plated Driftin’ and Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out on a Martin acoustic before switching to a Gibson ES-335 for five more tunes, including the acoustic version of Layla. This was a nice move as Clapton’s acoustic arrangements worked well with the fat overdriven tone from the 335. Badge opened the final group of songs, and there was one encore with Cocaine and Further On Up The Road.

Highlights for me (apart from Gadd’s awesome grooves) were Goin’ Down Slow (slightly different arrangement and some Carlton/Ford flourishes in the solos) and Old Love (a master lesson in great band-craft). But, perhaps the greatest highlight is just seeing the man again in concert. Back in 2006 I wrote a list of guitarists who inspired me and Clapton was right there on the top of the list. He’s one of the guys I tried to emulate when I first picked up an electric guitar and I always keep being motivated to play better, more clearly and with more conviction when I hear him today.

Thank you Eric!

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