Tuesday, March 14, 2017
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: ERIC CLAPTON - LIVE IN SAN DIEGO WITH J.J. CALE
Eric Clapton continues to pay tribute to his late friend and mentor J.J. Cale with the release of this 2007 concert where Cale was the special guest. It gets pretty embarrassing up there with all the guitar talent, as Derek Trucks was in the band then, doing all the slide work, and Doyle Bramhall II was also there too as co-lead vocalist, and getting his share of solos too. Even opening act Robert Cray stage-crashed for Crossroads.
This was more than just another normal tour for Clapton. All the firepower, including two keyboards, backing singers and the fabulous Steve Jordan on drums, were there for a world tour that was heavy on songs from the Layla album by Derek & the Dominoes. Each night, with Trucks handling the Duane Allman parts, several of the album cuts were performed, including Tell The Truth, Anyday, Key To The Highway, and the title cut, all included here.
There was a sit-down set in the middle, where all the guitar players would take stools and do some laid-back stuff. On this night, the only time on the tour, a fourth stool was added, and without any flourish, Cale strolled out. He looked more like your under-achieving uncle than a star among stars, but they were all looking to him, to get that unmistakable groove, what always drew Clapton to Cale's songs.
For this Blu-ray we get all five of his numbers that night, all of which he wrote: Anyway The Wind Blows, After Midnight, Who Am I Telling You?, Don't Cry Sister, and of course, Cocaine. The band was tentative on the first number, but for After Midnight, a more familiar song, it all came together. Trading vocals and singing together, it became obvious how much connection Clapton and Cale had.
So there it was that night, and now we all have it, always: Clapton singing those songs that made him rich, Cale, with the guy who made him rich singing his songs, and neither of them particularly cared about that right then. What mattered was how much they loved singing and playing them together.
P.S. There are some very good guitar solos on this disc, by the gentlemen listed above.