Eric Clapton @ Veterans Memorial Arena


DSC02704Simply put : AMAZING!  This was a concert I had been waiting 20 years for!  Ever since I was 10 and the Unplugged album came out!  I loved it!  It is so hard to describe in words how fantastic of a show this was for me.  So as with most of the concert blogs I do I shall deconstruct the essentials from the evening to give you the good, the bad, and the absolutely horrifying truth about the future the lies before all of us when we reach the age where time is not so kind and fortune only smiles on the select few.  This was my evening with Eric!

I would like to start by saying that this was a nice change from what I’m used to.  I’m accustomed to gauge wearing, tattooed encrusted, goth mesh clad freaks who salute the devil horns and ‘manscara’ (look it up, it rhymes with emo) at venues that make a bathroom at a Mexican bus station look sanitary.  This was a lot…a lot of middle aged hippies and their unwilling teenage designateds in cardigans and loafers.  The age gap is more than obvious!  So well mannered, so docile, so tame in comparison.  It was, to say the least, a relaxing evening…and then there was me screaming at the drunk groupie bitches in front of to get the hell down.  Oh!  But let me explain first!

This concert was actually a Christmas present that I gave my father who is a huge Clapton fan.  I got side stage seats just so my dad could enjoy it.  You see, my dad is retired military, Vietnam, Storm, Iraq…stuff like that, and he is still living with that mentality.  When we go out to dinner he has to sit facing the door just in case Charlie comes a-strolling along to finally get him.  So I sat him at the end of the row so he could make a break for it when those pesky Vietcong sniper laser (yes, this is the world I grew up in) target him between the eyes.

So the concert begins…all is calm and relatively inactive. The Wallflowers play a set which was nice to hear from then again.  Then Clapton comes on stage! He picks up his guitar and the man next to me starts hooting like an owl!  Most of the videos I got, by the way, have all these sounds in there kind of like a nature documentary.  So he plays his famous “Father’s Eyes” and his awesome blues riffs changing guitars at least every song…at least!  Then the acoustic guitar and a chair come out…and all hell breaks loose!

He starts in on “Tears and Heaven” and the woman in front of my felt the power of Christ compel her!  She felt the Holy Spirit and rose like a pentecostal priest with the demon taking over!  About that time is when my skills and talents from all the hard core metal concerts I’ve gone to kick into overdrive and I was about to liberate a glass beer bottle from its form against the side of her head!  Sadly, my father is a relatively nice man so we just had the woman’s keeper (aka he husband) calm her down.

Luckily, there was an enormous jumbo-tron screen right above us to we could see the front of the concert (side stage…remember) and that was when I got to see his fingers.  I never noticed this before (and this sparked another blog for later) but Clapton has beautiful fingers!  I mean, for a guitarist, just really lovely, beautiful fingers!  And he was fantastic live!  You know how you always think that a live performance won’t be as good (even though with Clapton you know his stuff is awesome!) but then you’re amazed when it was?  He was mesmerizing!

He then performed “Layla” and “Wonderful Tonight” then went back to the blues.  After an incredibly long set that introduced his band he performed the song everyone was waiting for…”Cocaine” and there then came back the evangelical ascension of the drunk woman in front!   Since the first possession of musical ecstasy she was a ‘tay in the wind’ (Nell reference) moving her arms back in forth feeling the music (I really was expecting this woman to have flowers in her hair and smell of patchouli) but as soon as “Cocaine” started she turned into a full blown hurricane of religious fervor!  I couldn’t blame her since the music was awesome…I just wanted to trip her down the stairs!

So, excluding the major display of biblical passion in front of me, I would totally see him a hundred times again!  He had a no bullshit way of performing.  Just him, his talented band, and lots of guitars.  No smoke, no pyrotechnics, no image movie playing in the background, no half naked dancers, and no crazy show antics.  Just music and a damn good performance!  He proves that he can hold his fan base and attract new comers as well.  I hope like hell he stays around for years since, just like Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Richie Valens, when he goes it will be the day the music will truly die.  So see him if you get the chance and just listen.  There is a reason Jimi Hendrix looked up to him!  No devil horns required.

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