Monday, February 22, 2010
Eric Clapton & Jeff Beck's Missed Opportunity
Since the shows were announced, I felt determined, but not quite comfortable about seeing Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton together. I knew three things--
1. I wouldn't be able to afford the ticket.
2. The fantasy set list consisting of Yardbirds material, mixed with the best each of these still dynamic guitarists has to offer would NOT be performed.
3. Jeff Beck would probably kill, while God would most certainly phone it in.
I've seen them both too many times to believe it would have been any different. Still I searched for a ticket, pulling the one-armed bandit in the guise of a fair and unbiased ticket seller named Ticketmaster, only to get offered seats not far from the Sbarros on 32nd and 7th, for a mere $179 per. (More than half of Madison Square Garden for that night, was being sold at $254 a ticket, the new norm.) I gave up...mostly because of the money, partly because I knew, once the shows were over, I'd have seen the set lists and will have been disappointed or thrilled, depending on how you looked at it.
I was right.
While it is probably wrong of me to criticize a show I did not see, I think it is pretty safe to say that even if Eric Clapton was on top of his game, (after listening to the show, I decided he was not,) there is no excuse for his sorry, lazy, and uninspired set list.
01. Driftin' - acoustic
02. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out - acoustic
03. Running On Faith - acoustic
04. I've Got A Rock 'N Roll Heart - acoustic
05. Tell The Truth
06. Key To The Highway
07. I Shot The Sheriff
09. Little Queen Of Spades
"I've Got A Rock & Roll Heart?" Really? This wasn't necessary before the phone commercial. As a matter of fact, his acoustic sets haven't been necessary since 1992's "MTV Unplugged" was released, and even then, that mortal sin known as "Acoustic Layla" was unforgiveable. This man can still play guitar, but I can't imagine anyone paying good money to see this man sit on a folding chair.
Jeff Beck's set, on the other hand, offered new material and a 30 piece orchestra. And yes, El Becko tends to play the same material, but it's the good material. Plus, if anyone has seen Jeff Beck lately, you will have witnessed a man on fire. Beck just gets better and better. He gives the fans what they want, something more artists should be doing these days, when concert tickets cost more than root canal. Here is what he played:
01. Eternity's Breath
03. Led Boots
04. Corpus Christi Carol
05. Bass solo featuring Rhonda Smith
07. Mna Na Heireann
08. Brush With The Blues
09. Big Block
10. A Day In The Life
11. Nessun Dorma
Hmmm...is that really giving the fans what they want? I'm confused.
Maybe I am being unfair. I'm guessing most paid whatever they paid, to see the boys play together. Here's how that turned out:
Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton
01. Shake Your Moneymaker
02. Moon River
03. You Need Love
04. Outside Woman Blues
05. Little Brown Bird
06. Wee Wee Baby
07. (I Want To Take You) Higher
08. Crossroads - encore
I think I may have ranted myself into a corner. This may be personal. Ticket prices and the fact that in this economy, shows like this still prove to be a tough ticket at almost $600 a pair, even though Clapton seems to care less and less these days, just get my shorts all twisted.
Who is going to these shows? Is it all rich people? Do you think this audience expected that fantasy set list, or do you think they were happy to hear acoustic versions of "Running On Faith" and "Driftin'?"
Here's what I would have paid $254 to see:
1. Beck's Bolero
2. Shapes Of Things
3. I Ain't Superstitious
4. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
5. (insert new song)
6. (insert new song)
7. Freeway jam
8. Cause We've Ended As Lovers
9. A Day In The Life
10. Nessun Dorma (why not?)
(all electric, using a Gibson SG. Hey, it's my fantasy.)
1. I Ain't Got You
2. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad
4. Bell Bottom Blues
5. Let It Rain
6. Stormy Monday
7. White Room
8. Comin' Home
9. The Core (I love "The Core")
10.Layla (electric version please)
ERIC & JEFF
Well, I guess anything would be fine after those two killer sets I just mentioned.
Knowing these songs exist and that these two giants could have thought about it and played them, how can anyone be satisfied with how the actual ahows turned out, even at half the price?
Here are some tunes from last Thursday. See what you think.
TELL THE TRUTH