Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Friday, February 26, 2010

Clapton Comes Alive - Apparantly

My unbiased review of last night’s Clapton Concert.

The Good:

Need someone to find a needle in a haystack? Ask Eric Clapton. If he approaches that task the way he does his music, he won’t stop until he finds it, no matter how long it takes to look. Tom Dowd, the legendary producer of “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, once said about Clapton, “He plays notes that aren’t even on the guitar!” Not sure about that, but I do know if there is a note that has to be played, it gets played. Clapton explores every hiding place in an arrangement, as if say “found ya, mate!” and carves out a soulful lick or stylized bend. His interesting line-up last evening included drums, bass, two keyboard players and back-up singers. The two keyboard players were an interesting combo, adding the orchestration of the classic Hammond B3 with wicked piano chops, popping in and out of songs like ghost crabs at the beach. A song I never really cared for, “I Shot The Sheriff,” was the evenings highlight thanks to the strong, expressive back-up singers.

The Bad:

Simply put, I wasn’t entertained. I don’t need long, rambling soliloquies between songs, but something between Clapton’s silence and “Hey Pittsburgh! Are you ready to rock?” would have been nice. He came, he played, and he walked off stage. I get the feeling he considers himself the elder blues statesman (which he may be) and that his appearance was more of a viewing of his blues virtuosity than an artist engaged with his audience. It left me wanting to say, “Are you even glad we came?” Even the encore was flat. The band trudged back on stage, went through “Crossroads,” and walked off. Cue the house lights. My wife may be right when she said, “He’s old, and I think he wanted to go to sleep.” (This is a complaint which if I could, would tell Eric directly. “You have a very capable band; have the courtesy to introduce them.”)

The Who (Lite)

Roger Daltrey’s vocal chords are not broke. As the opening act, he and his band ran through some great Who songs as well as some of Daltrey’s solo, bluesy stuff, ending with “Baba O’Riley.” Unlike Clapton, Roger looked happy to be onstage…even though relegated to opening the show. I believe, but am not sure, that he is warming this band up for a solo tour. If he comes around, go see him. His band rocked, particularly the drummer who looked like he was trying to beat the heads off of his drums.


Anonymous said...

Really sad you were looking so forward to it being a great concert. So my question to you is would you consider seeing him again?

Dave Meyer said...

Probably would go again if he had a different loine-up...maybe another guitar player? I have a CD of him and Steve Winwood that is crazy good.