If this is it for Eric Clapton – if the four-night run at the Forum he kicked off Wednesday really is the guitar god’s farewell from live performance, as he’s suggested it is – then, of course, any fan of this rock ‘n’ roll legend is going to look back on these nights with the warm glow that comes with knowing you were there.
And in that context, the show was fantastic, Clapton delivering a career-spanning set that included earthy electric blues from his own heroes such as Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, a little taste of Cream, his ’60s power trio, and a good serving of solo hits such as “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Tears In Heaven” and “Cocaine.”
Fifteen songs spread across an hour and 40 minutes of impeccable musicianship from Clapton and his band, and yet if this is goodbye, I wish it felt a little more magical in the moment, offering just a little bit more – more sparks, more players, more songs.
Of course I’m absolutely being greedy here – who wouldn’t want more of what Clapton at his finest can deliver? – and shouldn’t understate the obvious: Clapton remains one of the greats, still breathing fresh inspiration into what could be rote nostalgia in lesser hands, a fact you were reminded off Wednesday time and again in every fluid solo he tore through on his Fender Stratocaster, every flourish and strum on the frets and strings of his Martin acoustic.
After walking on stage and offering a simple welcome to the crowd, the 72-year-old opened his night with “Somebody’s Knockin’,” a song written by but never recorded by Clapton’s longtime friend J.J. Cale, and the only track off his most recent album, last year’s…