British rock and blues guitar legend Eric Clapton thrilled a near capacity crowd at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena Saturday night and he showed he still has the mastery that made him one of the greatest rock/blues guitarists of our time.
Beginning with a heartfelt version of God Save The Queen to open the first segment of the 17-song set, Clapton proceeded to play a variety of songs from his illustrious six-decade career. The show was divided into two electric sets with an acoustic set sandwiched in the middle.
Despite his years and struggles with health issues including neuropathy his playing seems as smooth and nimble as it ever was. Perhaps this is partially owed to the fact that he tours more sporadically these days and takes better care of himself, having nearly retired completely from touring more than a decade ago. With many contemporaries showing obvious decline in vocal skills his voice is still sweet as syrup. I’m so glad he chose to come to Detroit on this seven-city mini-U.S. tour. This show was his first time back in the Motor City since 2010 and was a rare treat.
The stage set was very cozy and stripped down with a vintage looking area rug at center and low hanging giant studio lights that set the mood perfectly. He gave his band plenty of opportunity to showcase their skills during the show, especially Chris Stainton on electric piano during The Sky is Crying. Guitarist Doyle Bramhall II was also given plenty of room for his own guitar solo work during the electric sets and bassist Nathan East played upright bass during the acoustic set.
The main floor crowd alternated between sitting and standing through the show and got really involved during the popular J.J. Cale cover Cocaine, singing along to the refrain of “She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie, cocaine.”
The night contained some of his biggest hits from each era including Derek and the Dominos’ Layla, Cream’s Badge and the Robert Johnson cover Crossroads which is also the name of the music festival Clapton founded 23 years ago that features the best in blues performers and benefits the Crossroads Centre, a drug treatment center in Antigua.
Other highlights of the night were the jazzy version of After Midnight during the acoustic set and the encore song “High Time We Went” featuring opening act Jimmie Vaughan joining on guitar and keyboardist Paul Carrack taking on vocals.
The U.S. dates continue with two nights at The United Center in Chicago, a date at TD Garden in Boston MA, and two nights at Madison Square Garden.
Little Caesars Arena
September 10, 2022
Photos by Dan Boshart (27th Foor Photography)
Electric Set 1:
- God save the Queen
- Tearing Us Apart
- Key to the Highway
- I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
- River of tears
- I Shot the Sheriff
- Ramblin’ on My Mind
- After Midnight
- Nobody Knows When Youre Down and Out
- Tears in Heaven
Electric Set 2:
- Wonderful Tonight
- Cross Road Blues
- The Sky is Crying
- Hight Time We Went