Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton: Live Last Night
Geezer rock doesn't get any more dignified than the set Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood delivered Saturday at Verizon Center.
Their first notable collaboration, in 1969 as the super-group Blind Faith, was fueled by a gimmick -- the cover of their one and only LP, featuring a topless preteen and phallically symbolic model airplane -- that would likely get band members on a sex offender registry today.
But that band's first show was 40 years and one week ago, and both Clapton and Winwood, two of the coolest kids of the '60s, are now in their 60s. So the BFFs from Blind Faith played on a bare stage backed by a small combo and with out any lighting tricks, and offered a two-hour set built around a credo of "Don't trust any song under 30!"
(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)
Clapton, 64, dressed in jeans and Docksiders (what would Robert Johnson think?), rarely strayed more than a few paces from a carpet that was placed center stage.
He was content to let his fingers do the moving, and he intentionally under-sang the choruses in songs he was sure everybody in the house knew better than he did. He opted for an unplugged version of "Layla," and crooned the lyrics while seated, a rock-and-roll king on his throne.
Winwood, 61, was the more exciting singer and instrumentalist by far. It looked like the veins in his head were just a few bars from bursting as he belted out "Can't Find My Way Home," and he had a wide smile when banging away at a grand piano for the Traffic instrumental "Glad" and during several licks-trading sessions with Clapton on Stratocasters.
Winwood, bless him, ignored the MTV-enhanced, lite-pop, '80s portion of his song book, though that was the most commercially successful era of his career.
The night had plenty of covers, all killers. Clapton was at his hard-core bluesiest on Sam Myers's "Sleeping in the Ground." The Winwood-led, slow-building version of "Voodoo Chile" and Clapton's re-creation of his Derek and the Dominoes licks on "Little Wing" reminded fans that Jimi Hendrix has never been eclipsed.
Winwood reprised "Well Alright," which he and Clapton had recorded with Blind Faith at a time when hip rockers were ignoring Buddy Holly's wondrousness.
Clapton, always generous with whomever he shares a stage, let Winwood have the last word, ending the night with a chillingly fabulous jam version of "Dear Mr. Fantasy," the Traffic classic that's been reintroduced to the mainstream through football commercials. The performance left fans, with a median age slightly younger than the headliners, screaming as if their youth depended on it.
-- DAVE MCKENNA
By J. Freedom du Lac |
June 14, 2009; 8:52 PM ET
Live Last Night
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