In late 1963, Eric Clapton joined the Yardbirds and began a career that few will ever surpass as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is a three time member of the Rock & Roll hall of fame (solo, Yardbirds, Cream) as well as a member of the Blues and the Songwriters halls. Often referred to as a guitar god during his youth, Eric has experienced all the highs that fame and fortune can bring to an artist as well as the lows …..drug dependency….and grief at the loss of his 4 year old son, Conor, and his good friend Stevie Ray Vaughan on a fateful helicopter ride from a concert where they had both performed that night.
My lovely wife, Annette, and I finally got to see him on Sunday, March 19th at Madison Square Garden. It was just days before he celebrated his 72nd birthday and frankly, I figured he would be good but……. . Well, was I ever wrong! He was absolutely in top form on stage in terms of his voice as well as guitar playing.
Starting and ending the concert with Cream tunes, he spent two hours on an impressive foray through a number of his hits. At times acoustic and others electric, Eric sounded and played as well as he comes across on his studio albums. He was not particularly talkative but you could tell by his facial expressions as the full house sang along to his songs that he was enjoying himself. He played rock songs, pretty songs, tunes from his Tulsa period, and of course lot of blues music. His encore song was “Before You Accuse Me”, a blues standard, and featured both Jimmy Vaughan (brother of Stevie and a great artist in his own right) and Gary Clark Jr. who performed earlier in the night.
To say that we enjoyed ourselves would be an understatement. It was the most money I have ever paid for a pair of tickets to a concert and it was worth every dime. He will be returning to the United States for a limited tour in the fall of 2017. If he is on your bucket list, as he was mine, then check your listings and go see him!