red lights

Eric Clapton

Clapton's Final Farewell

Eric Clapton
Bradley Center
Milwaukee, WI
July 21, 2001
Eric Clapton
Clapton sings the blues.

Story by Josh Buchs
Photo by Stevie Styles

As the lights dimmed, and the energy of the crowd began to build, a spotlight drew on a figure approaching the front of the stage with an acoustic guitar. With short clean cut hair and an outfit consisting of all white khaki pants and dress shirt, Eric Clapton sat before his microphone and was given a standing ovation. As the crowd gave him encouragement before the first note was heard, he lightly laughed as if he were playing in a small coffee shop, very personal indeed. His first song, was a cover of Bill Broozy's "Key to the Highway." In contrast to screaming fans at a Beatles concert, the Clapton attendants were dead silent, absorbing every bit of info that their king had to share with them.
The next six songs Clapton performed on acoustic guitar. Among them were classics such as "Change the World," "Tears in Heaven" and "Gotcha on my Mind" featuring various soloists from rhythm guitarist Andy Fairweather Low, keyboardist David Sancious and of course Clapton. After his acoustic performance of "Change the World", Clapton was then handed his Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. He began picking a short bluesy intro with his band, building intensity to keep the crowd guessing what song would be next. Eventually he worked out his solo into "My Father's Eyes" that won a hearty applause from the crowd. For the next hour Clapton played through a list of his better commercial successes. Though "Layla", "Wonderful Tonight", and "My Father's Eyes" were all great, it was "Sunshine of your Love" during the encore that stole the show.
Keeping in mind that this is his last world tour, the most unexpected of all encores, a final farewell, Clapton brought out the acoustic again to play a somewhat jazzy version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" without his band. It really seemed to draw a lot of emotion from him. What a great way to say goodbye.

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