Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood Concert Review

Surprisingly, I’ve had several people eagerly awaiting my review.  Therefore, here it is!

The last time I had gone to a Clapton concert, I made sure to blog about it right away.  This time, it’s taken me a week to write this.  But, here it is!

The concert itself was on June 17th.  While it’s been a few days, the details have definitely stuck in my mind, as it was quite the concert!  It was my third time seeing Eric Clapton (and my first for Steve Winwood), but for a friend that came with us, it was his first Clapton experience.  This concert was probably definitely a great way to introduce him to a live Clapton concert!

At 8:15pm, the lights were turned off.  The crowd on the floor and most of the 100 level got up as  the band came out on stage.  A simple “good evening” was enough to get a large cheer from the audience.  Seconds later, the band went into Had to Cry Today.  While I couldn’t hear the crowd, as Eric went into his first solo, I knew this would be a great evening.

The immediately went into Low Down.  It’s not a song I think I have heard before.  Still, for the evening, it was Eric’s first time behind the mic.  Given the blues-ish feel to the song, it’s no surprise on that.

Immediately after that was After Midnight.  After hearing him play that live during his last tour, I was glad it was played again.  It’s such a fun song when live.  I don’t know why I think that.  And as they ended the song, they went straight into Presence of The Lord.  This is the first concert I’ve been to where it was played, and it definitely is another great song.  (I should stop calling them great songs, as most of them were).

Sleeping in the Ground and Glad followed.  Sleeping in the Ground isn’t one of my favorite songs, but it was still good live.  Glad was a good song that, for sure, I’d like to see if I can get my band to learn.  The song that I quickly liked, though, was the following, Well Alright.  Eric’s opening riff caught my eye as a guitar player.  Since then, I’ve tried to recreate it… I’m still working on it.

When Tough Luck Blues started, it reminded me of the past concerts I’ve seen.  The way this one was started made me think of Little Queen of Spades and Have You Ever Loved a Woman.  I guess those blues songs in C all can start in similar ways.  Nothing wrong with that, of course!  Tough Luck Blues was over 7 minutes long, leaving plenty of time for great solos throughout the whole song.

As Pearly Queen started, I didn’t realize it’d be such a fun song.  Eric’s solos, again, were awesome. (And again, how can I say otherwise about his solos?)  And that only got better when, after a few seconds of playing some notes, they go right into Crossroads.  I like how the crowd doesn’t go nuts until he starts singing.  Is it that difficult to pick out a beat, key, or riff before vocals start?

After Crossroads, full of Eric and Steve singing verses and solos all around, they went into There’s a River.  This is probably one of the songs lower on my list of favorites from this show.  But what I did really enjoy were the vocal harmonies.  I think they were just grand.

At this point, we were already over half-way through the concert.  And that’s when Forever Man began.  It was something I was looking forward to after seeing the set lists for the earlier concerts.  Amazing work from the band on this.  As a side note, this is where I first noticed Eric playing a guitar out of standard tuning.  Based on what he was playing, I do believe it was dropped a step in tuning.  If anyone has any other speculation, or even confirmation, on this, please let me know!  I’m curious.

With that great song over, the band cleared the stage, leaving Steve Winwood alone at his organ.  After a few words to the audience, where he thanked the audience and said how grateful he was to be playing there, he began his solo song, Georgia on My Mind.  Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy this, both his singing as well as his organ solo.

At this point, the ‘acoustic’ set began.  This opened with Driftin’.  It was slower than I expected, but it was still a cool acoustic song.  I almost didn’t notice the rest of the band in on this, as Eric was seemingly stealing the show with his acoustic work.  I definitely need to play better acoustic like that!

How Long didn’t really get my attention.  But the song after, Layla, definitely got my, and everyone else’s, attention!  Again, this is a song that you just can’t go wrong with.  It was on this song that I realized, again, that Eric was playing in a dropped tuning.  In this case, just a half step down.

With the same, lower tuning, they immediately followed with Can’t Find My Way Home.  Being a Clapton/Winwood event, you can’t go through the concert without that.

With the acoustic set over, they went back, full energy, into Split Decision.  This was a great song, but I was totally surprised when I heard them go straight into Voodoo Chile!  I had a feeling it’d be played, but I wasn’t thinking that I would be hearing it right away.  But, wow, the band did great, and the audience fully appreciated all 15+ minutes of the song.  It seemed like an open jam at some points, but for such a great song, it was enough for the whole band to show off.

With Voodoo Chile over, I was expecting some more powerful hits.  Little Wing, Cocaine, something.  But the band just called it at that.  It seemed like a bit of a soft ending.  But, as I already knew a bit about the encore, it was definitely worth cutting the show a bit early.

The typical encore on the tour has seemed to be Dear Mr. Fantasy.  Well, we did not get that!  We’re Chicago.  What kind of treat could we have?

Why, Buddy Guy, of course!  There were some guitar volume issues at first, but once those were resolved, he was right into the song.  And what other song is there to play first than Sweet Home Chicago.  With both Eric and Buddy playing, it was a definite treat for Chicago.  Everyone definitely was singing along!   But one song isn’t enough!  So, why not throw in Drowning On Dry Land?  There you go!  Not only did Buddy do great on guitar, but vocally, he got the crowd going.  He even almost got some of the band to crack up.

Sadly, after those two songs, the show was over.  I was hoping for a second encore, and with how long it took for the lights to come on, it almost seemed possible.  Alas, such was not to be the case.  But that’s fine.  It was still a great night, either way!

  • Les

    Do you mean you knew about Buddy Guy in advance? How so? It was a total surprise to the audience.

  • Les

    Do you mean you knew about Buddy Guy in advance? How so? It was a total surprise to the audience.

  • I won’t say how we learned, but after we got there, we (my group) got wind of Buddy Guy arriving there and that he was going to play something. We didn’t say a word to anyone else, of course. And we still were definitely glad to see him!

  • I won’t say how we learned, but after we got there, we (my group) got wind of Buddy Guy arriving there and that he was going to play something. We didn’t say a word to anyone else, of course. And we still were definitely glad to see him!