Bland On The Run – Eric Clapton at The Fabulous Forum

Last night was the second of a four-night run by guitar god Eric Clapton in Los Angeles, probably to be the final time any of us see him live. Prior to setting up shop here in L.A., Clapton played recently in New York, to some very tepid and almost cruel reviews. Hopefully I can bring some clarity to what you would see if you decided to go tonight or Monday. The national sport these days seems to be criticizing aging rockers and complaining that they just can’t cut it, the sets are too short, the setlist is suffering, etc.

Last night Clapton didn’t seem to have lost any of his skills when it comes to playing his guitar, or singing and belting it out. I’ve been seeing this man perform live for longer and more times than I can remember, and as has always been the case, some nights you get a good Clapton show, and some nights you don’t. In the 1990s, I saw him two nights in a row, and the second night was awful. Last night’s performance was mediocre at best, but not because Clapton can’t play or sing. First off, the mixing was horrible. I kept reaching for an imaginary volume knob so I could just crank it. To put it in perspective, I was dead center row 15. So that means I ponied up for some very expensive seats. No freebies. And when I’m putting up more than one large for a night out, I expect loud, crunchy rock and blistering blues riffs. Again, the sound of the show was so dead and flat, I might as well have been listening to a Youtube clip.

As for Clapton himself, I can’t criticize his skills as I said. He could play the world’s most incredible solo if he chose to do so. That’s plain to see. But he didn’t. Last night was Clapton by the numbers. I Shot The Sheriff, Layla, Lay Down Sally, etc. You get the picture. I prefer a show where there’s more blues and less known songs. Ginhouse Blues with Andy Fairweather Lowe anyone? I’ll take a shot. So the show is predictable. And if you’re a casual fan, you’ll love the show. But there’s more. There’s a disconnect not only between Clapton and the audience, there seems to be a disconnect between Clapton and his music. He seems disinterested, like all his energy is gone. Still, it’s ok, he’s earned the right to do whatever he wants. He’s endured more than most, and has given more than most back.

Ivor Levene

About Ivor Levene

Ivor Levene likes to interview musicians, write about music and musicians, play music, listen to music, read about music, photograph musicians, and anything else you can think of with music. He has been involved with the music scene for over thirty years and his posts have appeared all over the place! Ivor says "I'm going to write about music as long as I have something to say".
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5 Responses to Bland On The Run – Eric Clapton at The Fabulous Forum

  1. I know, I hate it when people criticize aging rockers, like Roger Waters…

  2. Ivor Levene Ivor Levene says:

    Haha, but I didn’t take aim at his age, I criticized the silliness of the show. Rog looks great and his abilities haven’t been diminished by time. And he likes my pictures, told me so in person…

  3. Mike says:

    We saw Eric Saturday night 9/16/2017. It was my first time seeing him live with the exception of Eric playing a couple of songs at an Elton John show back in the 90s. I have mixed feelings about last night. I felt so honored to sit in the same room with Eric Clapton and watch him perform for us. But his age is something he can’t shrug off and blast out into a 5 minute solo to amaze us as he once used to. A lot of the guitar sections were performed by the keyboardist. I noticed a big bruise on the back of his right (picking) hand that looked painfull. As for the venue, the sound was good where we were sitting, 10 rows back and off to the left side. To sum it up, It was a very memorable performance that we should all feel honored to have seen. He’s going out one last time to do what he loves the most. Give a performance to the best of his ability and thats really all we can ask for.

    Thanks Eric. Your music will live on for as long as the earth has people on it.

  4. Sally Helmick says:

    We traveled many miles to see this Guitar legend.. we loved the Concert but wanted him to do Layla electric version not slow. We’ve seen him many times over the last 40 years. When he used to play Layla song for 15-18 minutes. Understandable that he can’t do that anymore unless he has other guitar players.
    We loved White Room and all his other hits..enjoyed Eric a lot.
    But he omitted on the Encore. Sunshine of Your Love here in LA…..but did it on the New York dates
    I’m glad we saw the Guitar great 1 more time🎸

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