The issue with Eric Clapton’s playing is not that he makes the art of blues guitar look easy, but that it really is easy for him – there’s no sweat, no stakes, no blues, just a relaxed and, at kick-off on Saturday, snoozy comfort zone within which to play out his undoubted proficiency.
Eric Clapton - The Hydro, Glasgow
This cosy virtuosity translated best when injected with a little swing, as on a humble, acoustic version of Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out. Also in the same acoustic interlude, a reggaefied Tears In Heaven and a laidback Layla, divested of any spirit of romantic torment. Similarly, his rendition of Muddy Waters’ Hoochie Coochie Man was thoroughly sexless.
Not that there is anything intrinsically wrong with laidback. Paul Carrack demonstrated as much with his mellow licks on keyboards and his reassuringly soulful lead vocal on How Long. Guitarist Andy Fairweather Low was next to be garlanded with a featured slot, delivering Gin House Blues as if he woke up this morning with lockjaw.
The rest of the set coasted along unremarkably until Clapton suddenly abandoned his performance of JJ Cale’s Cocaine and downed tools, swiftly followed by his band, before returning a few minutes later with a quick apology and then departing with no explanation one song later.
Like the show as a whole, this abrupt, ungracious end to proceedings neither deserved nor elicited much of a reaction beyond a brief volley of boos and a collective shrug of the shoulders.
Seen on 21.06.14