Eric Clapton - Live In San Diego review

In which God pays tribute to his own maker

Cover art for Eric Clapton - Live In San Diego

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“We’ve been gate-crashed,” says a beaming Eric Clapton as he takes his seat beside his Tulsa Sound hero JJ Cale. Slowhand must have generated so much in royalties for Cale by recording Cocaine and covering it every night he plays a show, that it was surely time for some payback.

So following the pair’s collaboration on 2006’s The Road To Escondido album, the notoriously spotlight-shy Cale joined Clapton midway through a set of typically charged (if monied) blues rock for a seated section of five of his songs at a show in San Diego in 2007, presented here in all its masters-at-leisure glory.

The pair let it all hang out through the loose, liquored honky-tonk of Anyway The Wind Blows and a seamy After Midnight on which Cale’s silken riffs arrive like a debonair dandy at the bordello. Cocaine itself comes cut with hard-bitten experience and recrimination, but Cale’s intoxicating interruption seems to fire Clapton up. Motherless Children rages, Little Queen Of Spades provides a vehicle for some astonishing soloing, and a jagged Crossroads, with Robert Cray on lead guitar, feels freshly tarmacked and roaring with life. Something rubbed off.

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a music journalist with almost three decades' experience writing for publications including Classic Rock, NME, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, The Times, Uncut and Melody Maker. He has written major biographies on Muse, Jay-Z, The Killers, Kanye West and Bon Iver and his debut novel [6666666666] is available on Kindle (opens in new tab).