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Author: Subject: Derek Shines in Boston Review

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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 07:09 AM
Clapton rises to challenge
By Jed Gottlieb
Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - Updated: 12:54 AM EST

The question isn’t, “Is Eric Clapton one of rock’s greatest guitarists?” But rather, “Does he want to be?” Judging by last night’s nearly sold-out show at the TD Banknorth Garden, Clapton hasn’t made up his mind. He’s mostly committed, but there’s a little, nagging piece of him that wants him to sound less like B.B. King and more like Phil Collins.

This King/Collins dichotomy is something Clapton has fought his entire career. After the transcendent rock-blues of Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos came “Wonderful Tonight,” “Tears in Heaven” and “My Father’s Eyes.” Thankfully, this tour leans much more toward the B.B. King end of

At the onset, it didn’t seem like the band had much passion. The opener, “Pretending,” and the follow-up,

“I Shot the Sheriff,” were mediocre.

With “Old Love,” things began to get both more interesting and intimate. Robert Cray - who played a set of blues numbers with his own band - joined the band and seemed to lay down a challenge to Clapton and his touring guitarists, Doyle Bramhall and Allman Brother Derek Trucks. If all four were going to share the stage, they would have to work hard to one-up each other.

“Motherless Children” -with Clapton, Bramhall and Trucks playing the euphoric melody line - answered Cray’s challenge. Clapton’s guitar tone seemed to change after the first few lackluster songs. What began as a lead guitar sound you’d hear on bad Don Henley record evolved into a firey, visceral wail.

Right behind him came Bramhall. After an apprenticeship with Jimmy Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Bramhall graduated to Clapton’s band a few years ago. He’s a classic blues player who can solo nearly was well as Clapton. But it was Derek Trucks who dominated.

Trucks is the only post-Hendrix guitarist of the bunch.

On “Little Queen of Spades,” Trucks’ solo drowned out the other guitarists. His slide playing was faster and louder and slower and looser than his peers. When playing the long exit to “Layla,” he evoked Duane Allman note-for-note but more often played with his own unique voice.

Clapton’s no idiot (and he’s certainly no coward). Bringing Trucks along forces Clapton to be at the top of his game and potentially be outplayed.
He also knows his fan base. The show ended with “Wonderful Tonight,” “Layla,” “Cocaine” and “Crossroads.”

It’s a shame he couldn’t have ignored a few hits in favor of a few more blues numbers, but he knows what the people come for. He can’t bring Derek and then not play “Wonderful Tonight.” It’d be too B.B. King of him, and he’s still got that Phil Collins half to please.

 

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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 10:08 AM
"It’s a shame he couldn’t have ignored a few hits in favor of a few more blues numbers, but he knows what the people come for. He can’t bring Derek and then not play “Wonderful Tonight.” It’d be too B.B. King of him, and he’s still got that Phil Collins half to please. "

Not bad insight from Gottlieb - he might have prefered a different setlist, but manages to seem to realize the show is for the paying fans and not the rock critics....



 
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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 02:18 PM
Everyone around me was asking who the heck is that kid. Derek is gathering a lot of fan's on this tour But to his credit he is doing it with class and world class guitar work.

It's funny the reviewer mentioned Hendrix At times tuesday night that is exactly how I felt listening to Derek play.

 

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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 02:40 PM
Larry, I had people saying things too.

I heard someone near me say. "Is that Derek Trucks?" "Of coarse!" I said. One person thought he lost a lot of weight. I said," he's been the same for years." Then they asked "well who plays slide for ABB?" I laughed and said "both Derek and Warren do." "Oh, that's who I mean, that Warren guy." Oh boy! Then they were like" he plays that guitar like he's got oil spilled all over it!" "How does he do that!" LOL! "Cause he's slick!"

It seems to me that Derek will have an added fan base for sure! Which is awesome!!

 

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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 04:25 PM
quote:
Not bad insight from Gottlieb - he might have prefered a different setlist, but manages to seem to realize the show is for the paying fans and not the rock critics....

That's a little harsh. It's more like he realizes the show is aimed at the casual fan and not the hardcore fan. And that's the way it has to be when you're playing arenas, but ultimately, that's Clapton's decision - he does that because he wants to.

 

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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 04:50 PM
I like this quote.... "On “Little Queen of Spades,” Trucks’ solo drowned out the other guitarists. His slide playing was faster and louder and slower and looser than his peers. When playing the long exit to “Layla,” he evoked Duane Allman note-for-note but more often played with his own unique voice. " Faster and louder and slower and looser - great!

 

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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 05:15 PM
Yes, I liked that too. They were all fantastic but there were definite moments when Derek was off the scale...excuse me for saying so...above all else! You could hear it and feel it!!

 

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  posted on 10/5/2006 at 08:43 PM
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Yes, I liked that too. They were all fantastic but there were definite moments when Derek was off the scale...excuse me for saying so...above all else! You could hear it and feel it!!


So when have you seen Derek play and not be off the scale??

 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 08:23 AM
By the scale I mean above all! I wouldn't consider him to be above Warren's palying but rather equal and different!

 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 08:59 AM
Would be confidant in saying on tuesday night Derek was way off the scale as compared to everyone else playing that night.
 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 09:25 AM
quote:
Would be confidant in saying on tuesday night Derek was way off the scale as compared to everyone else playing that night.


That's exactly what I meant Larry!!

 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 09:27 AM
quote:
quote:
Not bad insight from Gottlieb - he might have prefered a different setlist, but manages to seem to realize the show is for the paying fans and not the rock critics....

That's a little harsh. It's more like he realizes the show is aimed at the casual fan and not the hardcore fan. And that's the way it has to be when you're playing arenas, but ultimately, that's Clapton's decision - he does that because he wants to.
which is normally the right decision IMO since most music fans are so fickle... he wants the mass of people there to enjoy the show enough to be willing to buy the new CD(s) which he didn't play many songs off... and while I enjoy more varied setlists, I don't think thats the best buisness decision for him to make... music as a buisness is not aimed at the hardcore fans...

 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 11:04 AM
Sounds like the 3 of us are actually agreeing.
 
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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 11:27 AM
quote:
Sounds like the 3 of us are actually agreeing.
eff you











 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 12:56 PM
eff both of you!

I'll be damned if I join in this agreement love-in.

As self confessed picky, fickle and critical person, I really liked EC's setlist:

1. Pretending
2. I Shot The Sheriff
3. Got To Get Better In A Little While
4. Old Love (with Robert Cray)
5. Everybody Oughta Make A Change
6. Motherless Children

Acoustic set

7. Back Home
8. I Am Yours
9. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
10. Running On Faith

11.After Midnight
12.Little Queen Of Spades
13. Further On Up The Road
14.Wonderful Tonight
15. Layla
16.Cocaine

Encore
17.Crossroads (with Robert Cray)

OK, not the whole thing, but songs 3-13 were about 90 minutes in heaven (no tears either) so much so that I almost didn't mind that it was the same all three shows at MSG.

I'll admit having Derek playing on the songs I'm sick of (2,14,15,16) made them interesting which helped.

To further muddle the issue, I saw a bunch of old fogies with their Clapton shirts on, who were downright mystified when they started playing 'Got to get better in a little while' I also saw one 'hardcore' fan who was beside himself about how bad he thought 'I am yours' was (it wasn't, it was excellent)

'Everybody Oughta Make A Change' is rare, as well as 'Motherless Children' IMO, I was damn glad to hear them. It was nice to see After Midnight and Farther On Up The Road back in the mix too.

I guess you can't please everyone and it sure isn't easy pleasing me sometimes, but there was enough for this fickle fan to enjoy, Mr. Derek Trucks not withstanding.





 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 01:19 PM
I like the setlist too... and if I only got to see them once I wouldn't want to miss most of those... if I was at 3 shows I would prefer they weren't all the same...

I have a tape from MSG and I think I am Yours is a great tune and they def did it justice... now if they would only schedule a cleveburg date before dereks contract is up

 

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  posted on 10/6/2006 at 05:16 PM
What exactly does he mean by "Trucks is the only Post-Hendrix Guitar"? If he's talking about age, I think that Doyle and Robert would be included. If he's talking about style, I think all of them have elements in their styles of playing that aren't totally blues-rock. Derek's playing is fantastic, but I thought that was an unusal way of stating it.
 

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  posted on 10/8/2006 at 06:48 PM
I think he means born after the death of...

 

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  posted on 10/9/2006 at 03:25 PM
I liked the "post-Hendrix" comment I think I know exactly what he means and I agree completely. It has nothing to do with when he was born, he is talking about it in terms of an art movement. He is saying "post-Hendrix" the way you would describe art as "post-modern." He is saying that Derek is working from a different palette, rather than just trying to be as good as Jimi Hendrix at the same kind of guitar playing.

While Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall and Robert Cray are all excellent players, I would disagree with rongtr and say that they are all very solidly in the basic blues-rock vein. Maybe there is something I haven't heard that would change my mind, but everything I've heard to date from the three guitar players above has been squarely in that tradition.

I've often felt that Derek is the first electric guitar player since Hendrix to try to do something truly different with the instrument. Jimi casts a huge shadow, and as many of you know, I'm a big Hendrix fan. However, Derek is creating brand new ways of playing the guitar that not even Hendrix ever thought about.





 
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  posted on 10/9/2006 at 03:40 PM
RobJohnson
I completely agreee with you. It was really aparant to me when I seen The Eric Clapton Band in Boston is what were witnessing is a changing of the guard
Derek is doing things that not even Hendix himself was doing.
The reviewer hit the nail right on the head.

 

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  posted on 10/10/2006 at 05:39 AM
quote: I've often felt that Derek is the first electric guitar player since Hendrix to try to do something truly different with the instrument. Jimi casts a huge shadow, and as many of you know, I'm a big Hendrix fan. However, Derek is creating brand new ways of playing the guitar that not even Hendrix ever thought about.

What a nonsens, I am huge DT fan, but there are a lot of innovative guitarplayers after Hendrix. Van Halen, Vai, Eric Johnson and a few hundred more.



 

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  posted on 10/10/2006 at 08:47 AM
i think robjohnson is 100%correct!!derek approaches the guitar in a unique way & produdeces sounds that are clearly different than anything heard before--peace

 

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  posted on 10/10/2006 at 01:22 PM
Have thought about this quite a bit Derek is a totally unique guitar player his originality and creative work with the guitar is really something to behold.
A lot of times you totally misss the uniqueness of an event or someone expanding the horizon's of say guitar playing.

Don't think there is any doubt in anyones mind Jimi Hendix did things with the guitar nobody ever heard before.
In my mind Derek is on the same path of creativity He's got a way to go but he's traveling the same road.

Sure there are a lot of great guitarist out there but how many actually expand the horizons of the genre

 

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  posted on 10/11/2006 at 07:19 AM
"I am huge DT fan, but there are a lot of innovative guitarplayers after Hendrix. Van Halen, Vai, Eric Johnson and a few hundred more."

Well, if Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai and Eric Johnson are your "go-to" guys for innovative guitar, I don't think you're likely to change my mind. I've never liked any of them, although Vai was on some pretty good Zappa stuff, I guess I should give him credit. I don't own any Van Halen albums, and don't plan to, and I've never heard anything by Eric Johnson that moved my soul. Next you'll be telling me that Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen are groundbreaking, visionary artists.

I'm willing to admit that all of them are great technical players, and I'm sure they did some innovative things with the guitar that nobody else has done. However, are you really saying they are as revolutionary as Hendrix, who completely reinvented the whole concept of electric guitar, or Derek, who is doing the same for electric slide? If so, we'll have to agree to disagree and chalk it up to a difference of opinion.

 
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  posted on 10/11/2006 at 10:46 AM
can't agree more,rob

 

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