Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not Two Legendary

Concert Review
Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood
June 17, 2009
United Center, Chicago
@@1/2 (out of 5)

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood's performance last night was relatively enjoyable and never boring. It would probably make for a good episode of Soundstage. But for $100+, it was far too infrequently incredible. Sure, there were a few "Oh wow" moments--some Clapton guitar solos, a sweet rendition of Can't Find My Way Home--but over the course of 2+ hours, these two prodigious talents and true rock legends never seemed to break a sweat. There were just too many mid-tempo, obscure numbers, which was fine for the first hour; settle into a groove, then let it rip. But that never really happened. Layla was done acoustically, a big disappointment, and though Buddy Guy's appearance in the encore was the highlight of the night, it meant we were deprived of Cocaine and Dear Mr. Fantasy, the show closers elsewhere on tour. And Winwood spent far too little time playing electric guitar; though he's more known as a keyboardist, back in the late '60s when "Clapton is God" was spraypainted around London, Winwood was considered his closest guitar rival (until Hendrix came along and blew both away). I wanted to hear Winwood and Clapton go toe-to-toe and really push each other, but again, it didn't happen. Nothing really terrible, and plenty of enjoyable music, but just not enough to really ever excite.

Here's what they played, with the song's origin/writer in parentheses (stolen from Greg Kot's Tribune review; which is more positive than mine)
1. Had to Cry Today (Blind Faith) 2. Low Down (J.J. Cale) 3. After Midnight (J.J. Cale) 4. Presence of the Lord (Blind Faith) 5. Sleeping in the Ground (Sam Myers/Blind Faith outtake) 6. Glad (Traffic) 7. Well Alright (Buddy Holly/Blind Faith) 8. Tough Luck Blues (Big Maceo) 9. Pearly Queen (Traffic) 10. Crossroads (Robert Johnson) 11. There’s a River (Winwood) 12. Forever Man (Jerry Williams/Clapton) 13. Georgia on My Mind - Winwood solo (Hoagy Carmichael) 14. Driftin' Blues – acoustic (Charles Brown) 15. How Long Blues – acoustic (Leroy Carr) 16. Layla – acoustic (Derek and the Dominoes) 17. Can't Find My Way Home -- acoustic (Blind Faith) 18. Split Decision (Winwood) 19. Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix)
Encore:20. Sweet Home Chicago (Robert Johnson)21. Drowning on Dry Land (Al Jackson)

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