Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Clapton Live

No, Clapton is not God; however, for a sixty-five-year-old man who partied and lived really hard for most of the first sixty or so years, he is still alive, and he still has some chops.

For our Christmas present last year, we got tickets to his show in Portland, which was last night. Opened by Los Lobos, the show ran a little over three hours, and the house was full.

Clapton looks beat-up, like a blues player should. Came out in baggy jeans, a green plaid shirt, a week's worth of beard stubble. But the man can play them guitars ....

It was loud–Lord, it was loud, save for Clapton's few acoustic numbers. And he mostly stayed with his blues catalogue–stared with "Key to the Highway," did "Hoochie-Coochie Man," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," "Going Down Slow," like that. 

I'd have been perfectly happy to sit and listen to him by himself on the acoustic guitar for as long as he wanted to play, but he had a keyboardist, an organist, bass, drums, and two backup singers, and they were all outstanding. Very tight, some nice solos, and they meshed like fine watch gears.

He was all business. Came out, cranked it up, said "Thank You!" for the applause after each number, then rolled right into the next one. 

"I Shot the Sheriff," "Wonderful Tonight," "Layla," and  ended with "Cocaine." Sixteen or eighteen songs. The single encore was "Crossroads."

We had a fine time. As one of the guys who brought the blues back from obscurity as part of the British Invasion of the sixties, we always wanted to see Clapton onstage and letting it roll. Last night, we did. Got our money's worth and then some. 


Shady_Grady said...

Steve, have you ever listened to either Roy Buchanan or Luther Allison?

steve-vh said...

keep forgetting to tell you, i've been jamming with some guys on Friday nights (yes, you got me thinking and I found them on craigslist). All guys closer to your era than mine so we're doing alot of this type of blues! It's all fun for me, my tastes run pretty wide. I'll blog something about it some day.

Steve Perry said...

Buchanan, yeah, Telecaster and pinch-harmonics, I liked his version of "Green Onions."

Luther, all I can remember is "Cherry Red Wine."

I think they were both with Alligator Records, back in the day, but they've been gone a long time.

Steve --

Glad to hear you are working with some musicians. It stretches you -- some of the stuff I'm playing comes from the 1920's, standards I never would have thought I'd get into.

Tiel Aisha Ansari said...

You should pick up the Roy Buchanan Deluxe album from Alligator. It's bluesier than I understand his stuff mostly was, and it's awesome.

Luther Allison was good too. There's something about him-- he isn't necessarily my favorite, but I can pick a Luther Allison track out of a mix much more easily than I can most blues guys.

Shady_Grady said...

Folks here's some Roy

Some Allison from his early 70's albums

And some Allison with Otis Rush and Eric Clapton

steve-vh said...

Steve, the guys I'm playing with, oldest is 61, yeah I'm the youngest at 45 but I'm familiar with most of the tunes they like so we cover a wide range of stuff.
Great to hear their stories. the one guy saw the Who perform "Who's Next" the day before release. Just too funny for me.
and they have an electric kit so i only need to show up with sticks!!

Ted said...


I've been fortunate to see Clapton twice here in NY in past 3 years at MSG. First time he was opened by the Robert Cray Band--Cray is an amazing blues guitarist) and Derek Truks was playing with Clapton's band.

2nd time was the concert with Steve Winword.

I'm a geezer (63) so I grew up with this stuff. Just wish I could catch John Mayall.