Eric Clapton, ‘Slowhand at 70: Live at the Royal Albert Hall': DVD Review
In March 2015, Eric Clapton turned 70. Two months later, he set up camp at London's Royal Albert Hall for a series of seven shows, 50 years after his first performance at the legendary venue with the Yardbirds.
The concerts also marked his 17th residency there was well as his 200th performance. "It's a very comfortable, homey place for me," Clapton noted. "I tend to think of it as mine."
The event was recorded for Slowhand at 70: Live at the Royal Albert Hall, a deluxe DVD and two-CD set that covers a lot of ground, especially hitting vintage blues classics like "Key to the Highway" and "Hoochie Coochie Man," but not skipping the Clapton hits you'd expect. "Wonderful Tonight" and "Tears in Heaven" are here, as are his signature covers of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" and an energetic take on J.J. Cale's "Cocaine."
Elsewhere, "Layla" gets the mellow, unplugged treatment, with Clapton displaying his skills on acoustic guitar, and things pick up on "Let It Rain" and "Crossroads," featured on Slowhand at 70 in a slower, funkier groove than the one he originally played with Cream.
The show also mixed in a few surprises, including a slick but somewhat sterile version of Steve Winwood's "Can't Find My Way Home" (from the one Blind Faith album the pair made together). Sung by bassist Nathan East, Clapton steps out of the spotlight while providing some tasteful, if a bit bland, licks. He also pulls out two Joe Cocker songs, with keyboardist Paul Carrack taking lead vocals on a faithful "You Are So Beautiful" and 1971's "High Time We Went," a highlight of this package.
Clapton has gone through various phases in his career, and thankfully Slowhand at 70 doesn't attempt to pull them all together. Instead, they provide a snapshot of the guitar legend in his element, onstage and enjoying himself, celebrating his own musical legacy as well as those who've inspired him.
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