Office Depot Center, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
15th June 2004

Review by : M & D

I wonder why Jay was unhappy - after seeing his review, we felt compelled to submit one of our own. We loved this concert and we have been Eric Clapton fans since the sixties. Eric played as well as he did the last time either of us saw him live which was back in 1978.

Eric Clapton's opening act was Robert Randolph Family Band and they were wonderful, especially Robert Randolph who plays pedal steel guitar. Then Eric came on and started with Let it Rain, Hoochie Coochie Man, and played some great old songs. Song 5 was a jazzy, funky version of I Shot the Sheriff with a wonderful electric guitar solo. Then he played about 5 acoustic guitar songs from his new blues CD, Me and Mr. Johnson. Song 13 was a full electric version of the Cream classic, Badge. At this point, the well behaved mostly middle aged audience were dancing in their seats. After Badge, came Wonderful Tonight, and then a full, extended electric version of Layla with the long guitar solo. He ended it with a great rendition of Cocaine which we first saw during his Slowhand Tour in 1978 and he played it just as wonderfully. For an encore, he came out and launched into Sunshine of your Love. It was so great since Eric did a lot of his early electric guitar music. Robert Randolph joined Eric Clapton during the encore, playing a wonderful pedal steel guitar which was reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. I would really like to someday see Robert Randolph join Eric Clapton on Layla, playing the slide guitar part originally performed by the late great Duane Allmann.

Thank you Eric!

Review by : Ken Tucker

Not sure what how Jay was turned off by this concert but I saw the 2001 show and this was a better show. I'm a younger Clapton fan compared to many but to appreciate any great guitarist you have to appreciate the blues which Clapton presented in fine form. I play myself and personally I think EC served the audience with great guitar playing for someone who just got off a long European Tour and is in the mist of a 57 city US tour.

Being a huge Eric Clapton fan, I thought this might be one of my last chances to see the great one strum those splendid strats on tour. There was talk of the last tour being his final tour so I wasted no time in acquiring 3rd row seats to this music fest.

Robert Randolph and the Family Band was to say the least ... OUTRAGEOUS! People who don't show up for the opening act are missing one of the greatest displays of showmanship and musicianship. I truly became a fan of this band last night. I don't want to spoil it for anyone but I just want to tell you if you like music and you like performers, don't miss these guys. Eric knows musicians when he finds then and he picked a total winner on this tour as an opening act. This band has become so popular and their work is requested by so many musicians that I read they have had to turn down invitations from Stevie Wonder and Prince. I can't wait to see them perform again. I would definitely go see a tour of this great band. I must admit the bass and guitar player's singing is not the greatest unless you are a fan of old 70's soul music (kind of high pitched for guys) but that is easily overlooked with their strong performances. These guys really know how to get a crowd fired up.

Now to the master, Eric was ... EC at his best. I have heard better solos from him but the solos in this concert will go down as memorable in my mind. As a fan, I think you can always say 'he played a better solo on this song or that song at this place or on this dvd' but to see this man perform solos to songs like "I shot the sheriff", "Layla", "Cocaine" and "Let it Rain" in person is astonishing. The acoustic set of a few songs from the "Me and Mr. Johnson" album was nice but again I think many may compare him to unplugged which there is no comparison there ... especially in songs like "Old Love" from the unplugged set. This was Eric's tribute to a great blues man and he did it like only EC can. The band consisted of a couple of main stays with Nathan East on bass and Steve Gadd on drums but offered a twist with Tim Carmon on organ, Doyle Bramhall II on rhythm guitar and the pianist from the Live at Hyde Park DVD (Chris Stainton). These guys worked very well together and although there were a few mechanical glitches throughout the concert it was probably one of the best combinations in an EC band ever. The band looked like they had fun and the crowd definitely had fun. Save your pennies and get the front row seats because it is well worth it to see these great artists up close.

Review by : Jay Silver

Well, in my attempt to allow Eric Clapton to redeem himself for the show I panned in 2001 at the same venue, I have sadly to report nothing has changed. It is a sad state of affairs for one of rocks legends, and he has the nerve to charge $86.00.

Upon hearing the news a few weeks back that "EC" has sold his Malabu beach house for 1.4 million, I could only wonder if he did so to put a down payment on a house on Lake Geneva, Switzerland so he could be closer to his money. At 30-50 million per tour "EC is seeing green.

If Eric wanted to force feed us marginal blues covers, then why not at a theatre? One could only hope that this was not to be as much an in your face blues show as the one in 1992 after "From the Cradle", Clapton's complete blues release. He now is promoting his "Me and Mr. (Robert) Johnson" release. A CD of all Robert Johnson covers.

After the "Let it Rain" opener, Yada Yada Yada,..... Blues,..... Yada, Yada, Yada,..... more blues, Calpton finally came through with a version of "I show the Sheriff" similar to that of the "Crossroads II" version from the seventies. Blistering. I probably could have left then.

Then came more blues, .....Yada Yada Yada, .....more blues, then "Got to Get Better. Eh! Then, much more blues, and then the sextet of "Badge", "Wonderful Tonight", "Layla", "Cocaine", "Sunshine of your Love", and "Mojo Working" to close the show.

Clapton, you clocked in at under two hours and had me back home and in my pajamas at 11:15PM. All for $86. Even an eviscerated "The Who" can put your show to shame in 2004. Take a few lessons from Pete Townshend, and watch a master put on a clinic. You have taken my money for the last time.

For those who haven't seen the show save your money. Take your kids to the zoo instead, and listen to a Clapton CD on your Discman. Hey honey, when do those Madonna tickets go on sale?

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