Roger Daltry - Eric Clapton LIVEE

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, March 09, 2010



Friday evening, March 5, 2010, Nancy and I were witness to two legends doing their thing at the Fed Ex Forum here in Memphis, TN

We bought the tickets months ago when they first came out and when Ticketmaster told me I could have seats on the floor, I got excited, until I realized they were on the opposite end of the arena.

So I kept searching and found seats on the ‘club level’ first row, overlooking stage right. I grabbed them up, not really sure they were as good as they ended up being.

The club level at FedEx is where all the fancy-schmancy restaurants are, so when we arrived, we were able to get some good beers and made our way to our seats. PERFECT VIEW!

Having seen Mr. Daltrey on the Super Bowl broadcast with his old band The Who, I was not sure what to expect. Honestly, that show did not rock my socks…

He took to the stage with his band which includes Simon Townshend on guitar…yes – Pete’s brother. The rest of the band, as far as I can ascertain are; Frank Simes on lead guitar, Jon Button on bass, Loren Gold on keyboards, and Scott Devours on drums.

Let me say up front, Simon is an accomplished guitarist and I was very impressed and the rest of the backing band are true professionals.

Mr. Daltrey was in excellent voice on this evening. He hit the stage with “I Can See For Miles” and followed it up with “The Real Me”. Except for the people behind us who talked the whole time, both songs were superb.

Now, Roger Daltry is a legend, no doubt, but the people of Memphis obviously were not too sure of that as the arena was half empty when he began his set. By the fourth or fifth song, the place had begun to fill up though.

Strangely, he felt he had to introduce the third song as a song from the band The Who and then they broke into “Behind Blue Eyes”. The crowd cheered, maybe not realizing that the previous two songs were also from the same band!

After an excellent version of the Taj Mahal song “Freedom Ride”, Daltrey informed us that he had ‘f’ed it up’, that he had changed the set list and that ‘in the old days, you could just come out and play what you wanted but with the lighting and sound engineers, you had to follow a set list in these days’.

Next on the set list was the Daltrey song “Gimme A Stone”. The version was excellent and contained a lot of energy, and was introduced using the David and Goliath comparison he has used before. Simon on mandolin really made the song special.

Next was “Days Of Light”, and then Roger talked about playing a ‘shepards bush blues song’ (that is how I heard it)…and introduced it as “Who The F Are You”.

Of course many in the crowd went crazy as I am sure most only knew it from the CSI franchise and not as an anthem from the seventies.

“Going Mobile” followed, with a full on charge and Simon on lead vocals. I missed the title of the next song and it was unfamiliar to me.

Then the opening chords of the other CSI used song “Teenage Wasteland” and one of the two younger girls sitting next to me turned to her friend and said the following “You know this one RIGHT….everyone LOVES Baba O’Reilly!”. I almost fell out of my seat and laughed as they both then began singing the lyrics…OK, ya know the words from your TV, but not the song!

And near the end of the song as Daltrey is singing the lyrics ‘teenage wasteland’ he begins to mimic shooting up drugs with his microphone, just in case anyone did not truly know the meaning of the song!

That was the closing song of the set and the band left the stage to an almost unanimous standing ovation, something that does not often happen for an opening act. I was curious if that would entice an encore, but the house lights came up immediately.

The stage was reset for Mr. Clapton and after only a short break, the house lights once again dimmed.

Now, as some of you know, Eric Clapton is truly the last artist on my ‘really must see before I die musical bucketlist’ (well those who are still around and playing of course) – so this night came with much anticipation.

Having read some reviews over the last couple of years and even his shows with Jeff Beck recently, it sounded as if Eric was no longer concerned with his guitar playing.

Let me say upfront, on this night at least, nothing could be further from the truth. The setlist, for this first time viewer was exactly what I would have asked for (well, "Sunshine Of Your Love" would have been great…but)

He opened with “Going Down Slow” into “Key To The Highway” (at which point I yelled out my first ‘thank you’ of the night), and then into “Tell The Truth”, his voice in great shape and his fingers smoking the fretboard throughout.

Next up was “Old Love” the song Clapton and Robert Cray wrote for the Journeyman album. Then the band launched into an interesting rhythm and I turned to Nancy and said “I Shot The Sheriff”, and when Eric began singing I was proven correct. For most in the arena, they did not know that was the song, as Clapton has changed it up and made it new again.

At the end of that song, the crew came out and pulled up a chair to the mic and the rest of the band moved offstage and it was just Eric, an acoustic guitar and us.

"Driftin’ Blues" was the first song and that ran into another classic from the Derek & The Domino days “Nobody Knows You When You Are Down & Out” and I am sure I yelled out thank you once again!

Eric does not interact with the audience except to say ‘thank you’. Some might find that off-putting, but I guess after years of performing live, you know that what the crowd really wants is to hear you play.

Also from the Journeyman album, he then launched into “Running On Faith” and his bass player and keyboardist joined him back on stage for this and the next song, which – of course – was the iconic “Layla”.

Whether it is his Stratocaster or an acoustic guitar, Clapton can make the thing sing. On the big screens high about the arena, the cameramen gave the audience a look at his fingers sliding effortlessly across the fretboard through out the evening. I was satisfied watching from my seat and did not pay attention to those but one or two times.

“I’ve Got A Rock & Roll Heart” was the final acoustic number of the evening and then we were treated to “Badge” from his days with Cream.

A cover of the Robert Johnson tune “Queen Of Spades” turned into a lush blues jam that also gave both of his keyboardists a chance to show their good – and they both have them.

“Before You Accuse Me” proceeded the song that Phfrankie does not want to hear about “Wonderful Tonight”, and I do understand that radio and weddings have branded this song into our brains, but live, it was done with a fever that is not heard on the record.

The one song, I could have personally done without (Sunshine Of Your Love would have been preferred, I say again), was “Cocaine”. This is the one Clapton song that just does not resonate with me personally.

The band left to a long standing ovation before returning to the stage for an encore of “Crossroads” where Eric gave us a final treat of superb guitar work before leaving for the evening.

Mr. Clapton was backed by a group of superb musicians, including; Chris Stainton - keyboards; Walt Richmond - keyboards; Willie Weeks - bass; Steve Gadd - drums; Michelle John - backing vocals and Sharon White - backing vocals.

Never seen Eric Clapton? – I can only suggest you do so before it is too late.

Friday night was a night I will always remember.

We could only get Nancy’s camera in and even though we had good seats, they were not close enough for perfect pictures, but here are a few to give you a feel for what we witnessed.

13 Of Your Sparks

  1. But it is Baba O'Reily! It was only going to be called Teenage Wasteland on the second opera that Pete was noodling with post Tommy. A lot of the songs ended up on Who's Next.

    And Badge! That would be amazing. I'd give a lot to see Cream.

  2. Unknown Says:
  3. A perfect review. The two set lists were pretty much identical, as I wouldn't have expected him to really change it up from Memphis to New Orleans. I recognized "I Shot the Sheriff" before it became apparent too, turning to my brother and telling him what it was. Like you I thought Daltry was great. I will admit that the one song I told my brother that I hoped he didn't play was "Wonderful Tonight", but live it wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. Unfortunately we didn't have as good seats as you did, but they were still good enough. A very good show.

  4. Unknown Says:
  5. Just saw Starlight's comments. The second opera was going to be called Lifehouse, "Going Mobile" ended up coming from that "opera" too before it very made it to vinyl.

  6. Unknown Says:
  7. What a concert! Sounds I'd have def. enjoyed!

    Glad you got to tick something off the ol' bucket list! :^)

  8. Ken Says:
  9. Nice to see that he grew his hair for the tour.

  10. ..."Journeyman" was a great album...excellent review, sir. Pics are not bad at all...YOU SAW CLAPTON!!!...

  11. Travis Cody Says:
  12. Well, however some of the audience knew some of the songs, at least they knew some of the songs.

    And to echo Phrankie...YOU SAW CLAPTON!

  13. Jay Says:
  14. Excellent review. I think I would like to see Clapton. I haven't been to a concert in years and years.

    Let's see. Last concert. Uh ... Well, Eddie Money played Crawdad Days here a few years ago, but that doesn't count. ;-)

  15. Tug Says:
  16. IN.CREDIBLE. How awesome that you and Nancy got to go; I'd love to see Clapton live.

  17. Maggie Moo Says:
  18. Wow. That's amazing! I'm so glad you got to go see him live. My father would also like to see him one day.

    I love "Wonderful Tonight" When I was in high school the boy I loved used to sing that while another boy played guitar. This was during drama club homework breaks. Those were some of my favorite high school days and whenever I hear that song, it makes me smile.

  19. YOU SAW CLAPTON!!!!! OMG!!!!!!

    Thanks for the review. The photos, crappy as you think they were, are...ahem....wonderful tonight. ;P

  20. is past post o'clock, sir...

  21. Meribah Says:
  22. Glad y'all had fun! :)


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