United Center, Chicago, IL
17th July 2004
Review by : Vincent Bruckert
Eric's show here in Chicago featured he exact same set list as most of his concerts. Unlike other Chicago shows in years past, Buddy guy did not join Slowhand for an encore. In fact, the show ended promptly at 10:30 without any extra encores beyond this tour's staples of Sunshine and Got My Mojo Working. Does this sound disappointing? Not for me. The packed United Center crowd got, in my mind, what they paid for, and what we paid for was inspired music by an absolute master. Let It Rain opened the evening on a beautiful chord progression. The guitar solo in I Want a Little Girl began with such a precious and touching arpeggios that Eric himself could be caught smiling at his own playing. When it came time to rip into the solo of I Shot the Sheriff, not the opening unaccompanied guitar solo but the actual single-note solo in the song, Eric began so fierce and angry that he pulled it back. The sit-down blues combos that Eric utilized for the Robert Johnson brought the Chicago blues that surrounds the United Center into the arena and put them under the big lights I get the impression that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Waters were laughing in heaven looking down on the scene. Never before has their work been performed so purely for so many. A special mention also must be made for Got to Get better in a Little While. This song has consistently been reworked so as far as I know, no definite version exists. until now, my favorite is the live version on Derek at the Fillmore. This year's model, though, has perfected itself. Every nuance was clearly articulated and each transition was smoothly and powerfully made. As with all the other songs, I can say tat Eric's playing has only improved and his arrangements demonstrate ever-increasing amounts of care, finesse, and musical knowledge. And while it may not be as important to many of his guitar-playing fans, one key may simply be that Eric's singing has only gotten stronger with the years.
More encores? Sure, but we got what we wanted. How about an Encore Tour?
Keep on keeping on.
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