Got to the Qwest Center in Omaha at 7:00 Saturday, after a 3 1/2 hour drive. We were ready for some live music! We had seen Steve Winwood last summer opening for Tom Petty and knew we were in for a good show, first time for both Sherri and I to see Clapton.
At 8:15 the band walked out on stage, Eric wearing jeans and a short sleeved black shirt and Steve wearing jeans and a grey pullover. They were backed by bass, drums, a great keyboard player and 2 women back up singers.
The stage was pretty non-descript, mainly floor to ceiling black drapes except for 12 video screens that were about 3 X 10 feet each, set behind the stage and were used mainly to show colors and images and occasionally a close-up.
Clapton shouted out “Good evening” (which would be the last comment he made to the crowd) and they started right in with both Clapton and Winwood on electric guitars. They did a nice mix of some of their older stuff from Blind Faith along with some of their own songs.
The nearly sold out crowd was a blend of fans in the 40 to 60 age range, so we fit right in! There was an aging hipster couple directly in front of us, he with the multiple piercings, balding and a pony tail while she would stand and dance and sway so that all I could think of was her rubbing lotion on the top of a couple of imaginary midgets standing in front of her. How’s that for a mental image?
Third song into the set the familiar sound of ‘After Midnight’ rang out, and the crowd really got into it. Although I recognized all the songs, there were some that I did not know the names of. But they were all well done, and I could tell that Steve and Eric really enjoyed playing together. In fact, I got the impression that Eric really enjoyed just being “the guitar player” on a few songs, and the close ups of his fingers on the frets was a special treat.
A few songs later was one of many highlights when the familiar piano riff that starts ‘Glad’ poured forth. Hard to believe that song is almost 40 years old! Followed that up with ‘Well Alright’, a few more blues numbers then ‘Forever Man’, another crowd favorite.
After that, the band left the stage while Steve did a solo version of ‘Georgia On My Mind’, then Eric came back out and both he and Steve played acoustic guitars while performing ‘Driftin’, ‘How Long Blues’ and then yet another raise the hair on the back of your neck moment when the familiar notes to ‘Layla’ began. What a great acoustic version, well done!
Getting close to the finish, a smoking version of ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’, and then to close out the regular set they did a jaw dropping version of ‘Voodoo Chile’ that just blew everyone away! Clapton at times was just in another world, and he would play notes that just rung out, quavered, then would get down in the gutter and wallow around for a while. Talk about low down dirty blues! They did about a 10 minute version, then waved to the crowd and left to a standing ovation.
After a brief pause, they walked back out and tore into ‘Cocaine’ (big crowd sing along) and then finished off the night with my personal favorite, ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’!
Hoo boy, what a night! Ended up driving 412 miles round trip, total of 7 hours on the road. Was it worth it? You bet! How often do you get to see two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers play together? Especially considering they are only doing a total of 14 stops on this tour. If they aren’t coming to us, then we had to go to see them!
Submitted by your roving blues road dog,
01. Had To Cry Today
02. Low Down
03. After Midnight
04. Presence of The Lord
05. Sleeping in the Ground
07. Well Alright
08. Tough Luck Blues
09. Pearly Queen
10. No Face, No Name, No Number
11. Forever Man
12. Georgia On My Mind – Steve Winwood solo
13. Driftin’ – acoustic
14. How Long Blues
15. Layla – acoustic version
16. Can’t Find My Way Home
17. Split Decision
18. Voodoo Chile
20. Dear Mr. Fantasy