eric clapton in concert

As we were leaving the Clapton Concert (July 30, HP Pavillion), a woman exiting at the same time turned to her partner and said “I’m disappointed. he didn’t interact with the audience at all!”

that may have been the biggest complaint about the concert. And it was wrong — Clapton did interact with the concert; he just did it with his guitar and his voice. I can’t imagine Eric Clapton staring out at the crowd and yelling “hey, Detroit! clap your hands!” with false enthusiasm — can you?

San jose was stop 56 on Clapton’s 57 city tour. If any band had an excuse to show up tired and go through the motions, this one did. But from start to finish, it was an energetic, intense, artistic performance, starting with Robert Randolph and the Family band’s 45 minute opening act. Randolph and his steel pedal guitar pumped up the energy in the building from the first bars (Laurie is currently lusting for one. I keep pointing out that the instruments in the hands of a white person would turn out hawaiian music… snicker).

After about a half hour break, Clapton’s crew came out, and played for almost 2 hours. A good overview of the concert is here. I can’t add a lot to it. All of the artists were in good form (Branham seemed under the weather, and I never saw him sing — but he played a hell of a set, even if he seemed in pain at times. Or perhaps, that’s his zone, but it seemed maybe a bit of both); most impressive to me were (other than Clapton, of course), billy preston and chris stainton on the two keyboards, but everyone kicked.

I like to judge a concert by how the crowd reacts. If the crowd is into it, the concert’s working. If it’s lifeless, or milling or distracted (like at Fleetwood Mac), then the group isn’t doing it’s job. Not only was this crowd electric the whole evening — when Clapton went into wonderful tonight, you saw couples all over the arena stand up and sort of dance together in place…

Awesome evening. I’ve seen clapton once before, when he was touring songs of his blues roots (another awesome concert….) — first time I’ve seen him do his own material — and it more than lived up to expectations.