Clapton Slowly Wakes

Eric Clapton - Buddy Guy

United Center - Chicago

September 24, 1995

First Appeared in The Music Box, November 1995, Volume 2, #10

Written by John Metzger


After a promising start with a mini-acoustic set that featured a quick-paced Motherless Child and a revitalized Outside Woman Blues, Eric Clapton quickly faded away for the first hour of his return engagement at the United Center in Chicago. He plowed through 16 songs in the opening hour, jamming little and leaving the audience a tad disappointed. The songs flew from Clapton like they do on his new album From the Cradle, and instead of taking them somewhere, he merely paid a quick tribute and tossed them aside. The only tune from the first half of the show to really catch fire was Third Degree, and that didn't even begin to tap into Clapton's incredible capability.

The latter half of the show, however, featured a mere 7 songs, and it was a complete transformation into Clapton, the guitar god. Each selection was played to the fullest, with Clapton playing blistering leads on Have You Ever Loved a Woman, I'm Tore Down, and Crossroads. He also began to put his heart and soul into his singing, and inspired immensely by his predecessors, he played the blues the way it was meant to be fierce, dark, and depressing.

It wasn't really a surprise when Buddy Guy stepped on stage to join Clapton and his band for the encore. Unfortunately, it was about the four millionth version of Sweet Home Chicago that the city has seen, and it was as dull and tired as one might expect.

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Copyright 1995 The Music Box