Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Crossroads Festival Coming to Theraters Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton's Crossroads Festival Coming to Theaters Guitar worshippers and Clapton'ites, take note. Eric Clapton held his Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago last month and now, the event is coming to movie theaters across the country for just one night of guitar goodness. On July 27, more than 475 movie theaters nationwide will broadcast two hours of footage from the concert, which featured performances from ZZ Top, Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, BB King and many others. It'll be like you were there, in the flesh! Exclusive backstage footage and behind the scenes video, along with performer interviews and an introduction by Clapton himself will all be part of the film as well. Learn more at And mark your calendars, too. What is your take on concerts being broadcast in cinema? Is it just as good as the actual thing?

Friday, 2 July 2010

A Summer's Worth Of Classic Rock In Cincinnati Eric Clapton And Roger Daltrey Kick Off

They're the kind of bands that lazy summer evenings on the lawn are made for. Plus, they happen to be the bread and butter of outdoor amphitheaters starved for new headliners who can bring out massive crowds from June to September. And this summer I decided I was going to go look as many as I could, because, well, they're not getting any younger and life's to short to have regrets, right?
Which is why I found myself standing next to my father in law at a nearly sold out Riverbend Amphitheater in Cincinnati, Ohio, on a perfect Wednesday night (June 30) for a show by guitar god Eric Clapton and Who singer Roger Daltrey, one of only three (he informed me, because he does his homework) shows the two charter Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends would be playing together this summer.
I couldn't have picked a better show partner, since he has seen Clapton five or six times and the Who at least twice, and I'm not just talking the later day versions, either.
I've really seen the Who back on their third or fourth unretirement tours back in the '90s but I'd never seen Clapton. And though I've never been a superfan, he is Slow Hand, so you have to check that one off the list.
Daltrey came out first, instantly busting into a trio of Who classics ("I Can See For Miles," "The Real Me" and "Behind Blue Eyes") backed by a muscular five piece band that gave a bit of a rougher edge to the FM radio staples without messing with the arrangements too much. Daltrey would likely be the first to admit he's lost a bit of the top edge of his range, but the grittiness that replaced it was perfect for a dirty blues cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born on the Bayou," which he dedicated to victims of the BP oil spill.
Though he didn't have lifelong foil Pete Townshend with him, Daltrey had the next best thing in the Who guitarist's younger brother Simon, who filled in (with eerily Pete like vocals) on a cover a tune the singer said the Who had never performed live, the rousing "Going Mobile."
Daltrey busted out the classic microphone swings for "Who Are You," which the group played in a kind of spare, deconstructed way that aired it out a bit, and by the time he brought it home almost 50 minutes later with "Baba O'Riley," the crowd went bananas from the first, instantly recognizable keyboard notes until the messy, controlled chaos ending.
If Daltrey was all about power and energy, Clapton lived up to his stage nickname. The 65 year old story strolled out unassumingly in baggy jeans and black button down short-sleeved shirt for 90 minutes of expertly crafted blues that impressed if only because he made the intricate seem effortless.
Clapton's not a wailer, a shouter or a flashy slasher. I knew that from years of watching him on TV. But his ease and mastery of his instrument in concert is something to behold. For one thing, as far as I could tell, Clapton never once changed out his powder blue ax, nor did he fuss around tuning it between songs. From "Key to the Highway" to "Tell the Truth" and through the set closing, face melting encore "Crossroads," he plucked away at the strings of that guitar, pulling out some Delta blues here, a bit of classical guitar magic there and plenty of fat rock riffs in between.
Aided by two soul mama backup singers, a bassist, master session drummer Steve Gadd and a pair of excellent keyboardist, Clapton took it down mid show for an acoustic set that featured a swinging, mellow "Layla" and the walking blues of "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out."
His extended reggae skanking cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" was spot on, with the backups singers howling away alongside his offhand island inflected sing talking. "Before You Accuse Me" turned into a barrelhouse blues clinic, with Clapton happly ceding the stage to his keyboardists, who engaged in a Hammond vs. piano showdown that brought whoops from the crowd. It was a bit surreal to hear nearly 20,000 people shout out the chorus to the song "Cocaine" at a man who has had his fair share of struggles with the powder, but there was something joyful about that irony (and the smoking licks that accompanied it) that you just don't get at a John Mayer gig.
Well, one show down, a summer's worth to go. Watch out Santana, Steve Winwood, Kiss, Ringo Starr, Tom Petty and Aerosmith. You're next.