Live Review: Eric Clapton, Royal Albert Hall, 21st February, 1992

The Royal Albert Hall has become like a second home to ERIC CLAPTON. For God-knows-how-many years running, the month of February has seen him and his band take their annual residency, breaking many a box-office record in the process. It's a venue that ole' Slow Hand has taken to heart and added to his legacy.

In such circumstances many would expect his performances there to be a somewhat jaded affair. However, as tonight's concert rolled into gear, it was evident that Clapton's vintage engine has undergone a major refit of inspiration, possibly due to the personal tragedy that befell him last year.

The man may have looked like he'd just stepped out of the dowdy BBC's "Clothes Show," but his playing was more than perfect. With his motivation to really 'play the Blues' creating an almost fanatical atmosphere, he led his eight-piece band (which also included guitarist Andy Fairweather Lowe) through a set which featured oldies such as "Sunshine Of Your Love," "Wonderful Tonight," and "Layla" back-to-back with his most recent material.

Indeed, it was this new material which formed the highlight of the evening as Clapton and his band dragged out the chairs to perform a brief acoustic set of the songs he'd recently written for the soundtrack to the film Rush

"The Circus Left Town" and the poignant "Tears In Heaven" left a strong impression on all in attendance as Eric dug deep into his soul to bring out those heartfelt licks that had all on the edge of their seats.

The remainder of the evening was largely made up of loose Blues work-outs, such as "Before You Accuse Me" that had him soloing like a man possessed, although allowing enough room for the rest of the band to musically breathe.

Eric's crafted art of showmanship earned him so many standing ovations that nobody quite knew when it would all end...

Same time, same place next year I suppose?!

Mark Crampton
Riff Raff
April, 1992

Live Picture: Paul Smith

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