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Eric Clapton's Lockdown Sessions make Unplugged sound like an orgy of feedback

Eric Clapton swaps the Royal Albert Hall for an audience of one on Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions

Eric Clapton: Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions cover art
(Image: © Mercury)

Deprived of his annual Royal Albert Hall fix, Eric Clapton relocated to the Victorian grandeur of Cowdray Hall in Sussex, taking three of his most regular bandmates – Steve Gadd, Nathan East and Chris Stainton – with him for an acoustic show that makes the original Unplugged sound like an orgy of feedback. 

The delicacy and precision of the playing is pin-drop stuff, and if you’re not paying attention it’s easy to miss the understated feeling as they perform to an audience of one – Eric’s wife – in the balcony. 

That’s because musicians of this calibre do not need to express their feelings visually. 

The grunts of pleasure at the end of each song say it all. Clapton also shakes up his set-list, highlighting hidden gems like River Of Tears, Believe In Life and Going Down Slow as well as a couple of unexpected Peter Green classics. Layla might also surprise you.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.