Eric Clapton has definitely earned the title of guitar god. As a guitarist, seeing him live for the first time was huge for me.
I went to the concert with my friend Jim, but almost didn’t get to see the show. I had snuck in a bottle and was imbibing prior to Clapton taking the stage, when a big hand clutched it while I was holding it. I looked up into the face of a very large security person, flashlight cocked back menacingly, as he said, “That’s mine!” I relinquished the bottle, and he stalked off, and I was grateful that the incident ended there.
We were kind of toward the back of the Sportatorium when Clapton came out, but the energy was immediate. Even in a place notorious for its terrible acoustics, I could hear his guitar work and was impressed from the first song. But we were all in for a surprise that night!
A few songs into the show, a big black man came out onto the stage. Eric must not have known about this because he turned, expressed surprise, and then welcomed the great Muddy Waters to the stage. They performed “Blow Wind Blow” together, which is one of those musical moments that is imprinted into my psyche. But what makes this even more amazing is that this ended up being Muddy Waters’ last performance ever.
Mr. Waters made his final concert appearance last June when he performed his early hit “Blow Wind Blow” in an Eric Clapton show in Miami.
The other big surprise for me was a performance of “Whiter Shade of Pale.” I think they did it because the keyboardist was from Procol Harum, but I am not 100% sure of this.
The rest of the show was classic EC. I would see Clapton again years later, but the first time would be the best for me. Here’s the full setlist.
- Tulsa Time
- Lay Down Sally
- I Shot the Sheriff
- Blow Wind Blow (with Muddy Waters)
- Wonderful Tonight
- Pink Bedroom
- Ramblin’ on My Mind
- Have You Ever Loved a Woman
- After Midnight
- A Whiter Shade of Pale
- Key to the Highway
- Double Trouble
- Blues Power
- Further Up the Road