Eric Clapton - Red Hot in Motor City
Detroit, Mi. - July 13, 2004 - Geetarz 115/116 - Aud 5
Comments: Sonic Solutions DSM-6-> Mod-2 D7.
Geetarz Review: Greetings from the Motor City, Detroit!
Actually the EC show was held at the so-called "Palace" of Auburn Hills, an amusingly stuffy bedroom community about 30 minutes north of Detroit. Parking was a breeze and seemed better organized than in 2001. One minor quibble - the venue has large LED style signs promoting events, and they had a 1998 "Pilgrim Era" Eric image on the screen - tsk tsk!
The "Palace" is a nice venue, well laid out. One thing I've always wondered - at every arena type hall I've ever visited, during events the kiosks always get lines which snake out and make walking around the concourse an exercise in crash avoidance. Maybe all the engineers suffer from the "too smart" syndrome, but surely there's gotta be a better way? Sort of like the fact that the people who design cars seem never to have tried to do anything like change the oil, the folks who design these venues probably never actually attend events!
Had a great seat side-stage (Thanks Sambo!) as the Palace has a different seating chart than most arenas, with no center aisle. Got stuck down there in 2001 and did NOT want a repeat of that experience.
Eric and band took the stage promptly at 8:30. It was interesting watching Lee in his "pre show" routine, as he wiped down Eric's guitar, then carried it around holding it with a cloth, then wiped it down again, then carried it with a cloth ... "Let it Rain" was quite punchy, EC's guitar seemed a little low in the mix which was fixed a few seconds into his first solo of the night which brought the few in the crowd who were not already standing to their feet. Chris' backing work was impeccable. After a nice "Hoochie Coochie", as the band kicked into a sweet "Walk out in the Rain" it was again interesting to see who in the audience recognized the song, as opposed to what Mark Knopfler has always called the "tourists" who are basically there just to check it out.
The crowd on the floor was definitely there to party and on their feet much of the night. "Sheriff" brought the crowd as a whole up as the band finished with a crescendo. The RJ set was quite nice, Doye and Eric's dueling guitars on "Milk Cow" make this a standout, subtle hint Eric: If you won't open the show with "The Core" for me, maybe open it this way?
Lee certainly earned his paychedk as Eric switched from the black EC strat he uses for slide back to Crash 1 for "Kindhearted Woman". EC strummed and strummed with no sound coming out. Finally as Lee raced about the stage trying to find the problem, EC quietly counted off "one ... two ... three ... four" and as the band came in softly began the opening verse, as EC turned in his seat and laid the guitar on the stage behind him. It was fantastic, what a great thing this would have been a cappella, with the band coming in at the end. The problem was the wireless receiver and the small "woody" amp EC uses for the RJ set wasn't picking up the signal, so Lee grabbed a cord and plugged it in. But his trial wasn't over yet as the cord was tangled in the strap so Lee had to hasten over and redo it just as EC began his solo - with perfect timing.
Lee stood and gave EC Crash 2 at the end, as Steve began the intro to "Got to Get Better" after strumming a couple chords to make sure everything was in good order. They were so flustered that they forgot to move EC's chair and didn't notice it was there until EC turned and laughed a bit, grabbed it and moved it and then kicked into the opening riff. Powerful it was, and not only Doyle but Nathan really was thunderous on this one, he walked over to his amp and seemed to turn it up a bit, and it was GOOD.
"Have You Ever Loved a Woman". I gotta admit, after some of the phoned in performances of this song over the past decade or so, I was over it and ready for another slow blues - ANY slow blues. But the performances of it this tour have been so mindbending it's hard to believe it's the same song. Interestingly, where the past couple shows EC has dug in hard to the opening solo, this time he opted for a laid back, quiet approach, and then again for his main solo, he started very quietly, so I was thinking perhaps he'd really take a backseat to the others on this one. Woah ... and then the hand came up, the hand went down, he went for the switch and he went where EC rarely goes ... to the treble pickup, and cut into a snarling run that got everyone's attention and left the band smiling.
"Badge" was powerful, and Sharon and Michelle's vocals really were great on this. EC's solo break was great but Billy Preston seemed to feel great and really laid into the second part and got a huge roar of applause from the crowd along with big grins from the band.
"Layla" and "Cocaine" - the crowd really surged on these, powerful readings from all. Gadd seems to have given up on the light touch jazz drumming and was simply pounding the hell out of the skins. Doyle's closing solos on Cocaine were a highlight, as he bent down to his pedalboard, turned an effect up, and then turned facing his amps coaxing some feedback which left EC grinning.
"Sunshine" was of course the encore (Would "White Room" be too much to ask? Really? Just every once in a while? It ain't like we're asking for SWLABR or Politician!), man Nathan really belted out the vocals on this one, I've never heard him in better form. Someone in front had thrown roses at Nathan, and in fact hit him while playing (hope they were thornless!) so he stuck a rose in the tuners of his bass like EC used to do with his Rothman's, hope someone got a nice picture of that.
It was funny watching Robert Randolph beside the stage waiting to go on, he was fired up and ready to go, moving from foot to foot and then bounding up the stage. Nice work at the end and then into "Mojo Working" which this crowd seemed to enjoy more than some other crowds have ... folks walking in the parking lot after the show were humming or singing it.
Had the pleasure of meeting some SD friends after the show which was great. And now off to Indy! See you there...