Sunday, February 28, 2010

Eric Clapton & Roger Daltry Rocked Nashville!

Eric Clapton made his return to Music City as he rocked the Sommet Center with opening act Roger Daltry of the Who.  My good friends Mark Walker, Chip Hooper, & Chuck Hooper accompanied me on a "boys night out" as we headed down to Rippy's for a pre concert beverage & a bite to eat.  While Rippy's is average when it comes to BBQ it is a great place to start the evening & the Hog Sampler which consists of ribs, smoked pork tenderloin, hot wings, sausage, onion rings, pickle spears, & cheese blocks provides the needed nourishment for the evening.  So after 2 hours of eating & pounding down Brewskis it was time! 

I somehow resisted the urge to stand in long lines & fork over $35 for the commemorative tee-shirt.  I have drawers full of those, but I was more than ready to shell out for a DoRag but to my disapointment, they did not have one!  I really think they are missing a great marketing opportunity.  I am sure the DoRag would be one of their biggest sellers!  (Sorry for the ramble)  We arrived at our seats which were on the second level stage right.  Not bad seats but when you are there to see a Guitarist who is right handed you can't really see all of the action.  Of course as soon as we sat down, it was time for MORE BEER!

While I appreciate the Who & have a lot of their music I can't say I am a huge fan so I was not really excited to see Roger Daltry.  Stevie Winwood & even Jeff Beck had been on the tour with EC but for this leg of the tour Roger was the opening act.  Any respectable rock fan has to appreciate the legacy of the Who so I decided to sit back & see what he can do.  RD opened with the Who's "I Can See For Miles".  The band was tight with Daltry on the microphone.  Flanked by 2 guitarists, bass, keyboard, and drums Daltry did grab a guitar for one of the songs.  Sorry I can't remember the set list but there were a few that stuck out like "Squeeze Box" & Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"!  Daltry spoke several times between songs & told the story that when asked which of all his concerts was the most memorable he replied "they were all the same until last years solo performance at the Ryman"!  I think I like this Guy!  You could tell that he understood what the Ryman stands for.  During one song Daltry with microphone in hand twirled it like a rope to the beat of the music.  You could tell he was just getting into it & was just getting warmed up. In all, a very enjoyable 45 minute set!  BTW Roger will turn 66 March 1st!  Happy birthday Roger!

During the break the Boys went for more beer!  Imagine that!  I stayed behind & got to know Cindi & Keith Throckmorton from Rockvale, TN who were sitting next to me.  Seems we have some common interests, music, beer, & bikes!  For Lawyers, they were kool peeps & we may made plans to ride together later this year! 
The lights blinked, the crowd roared, & EC appeared on stage! Backed by two keyboards, bass, & drums, EC had the guitar duties all to himself.  But then he is Clapton, why would he need any help!  The band was crisp, the sound was sharp, not too loud, but loud enough!  I will post the set list as soon as I can verify my memory.  I was hoping since EC's good friend Robert Plant was in town that he might be a surprise guest but there was no RP sighting tonight however accomplished singer, songwriter, musician, & Nashville resident Vince Gill joined Clapton during the acoustic portion of the show.  Vince did only gutiar work no vocals as they sat during the set.  Vince seemed to hold his own but I got the impression that Vince was humbled to share the stage with such a legend.  The acoustic set was spot on as well with "Layla" highlighting the performance.  I enjoy this version but I would love to hear the original (less Duane Allman of course). The crowd was defiantly appreciative of Clapton's guitar genius as they roared during & after his effortless solos.  I tell you this man in my opinion is the best guitarist of all time.  I know many have valid arguments but to me, Clapton is the MAN!

The show closed out with one encore, Robert Johnson's "Crossroads".  How fitting as EC's passion these days is funding the Crossroads Centre which is a non-profit, International Centre of Excellence for the treatment of alcohol and other drug addictions located in Antigua & founded by Clapton.  No doubt his passion fuels from his past struggles with alcohol & drug addiction.  I am so glad he made it through those struggles. 

In summary, true Clapton followers were treated to a great performance by a legend.  His guitar work & vocals were strong, crisp, & on point.  He made if look effortlessly. He is not much on the dialog side, he lets his guitar carry on the conversation with the audience & they fully understand what he is saying.  I am privlegd to have seen one of my idols a hand full of times over the years & I hope to see him again.  Thanks Eric!