Album Reviews

Eric Clapton

Slowhand at 70: Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Artist:     Eric Clapton

Album:     Slowhand at 70: Live at the Royal Albert Hall

Label:     Eagle Rock

Release Date:     11/13/2015

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So old Slowhand is now just that: an old slowhand. Recorded on and around Eric Clapton‘s birthday live at London’s Royal Albert Hall, a venue Clapton often considers a “home” ground, this release features 18 tracks in a double CD/DVD package that also includes over two hours of filmed DVD performance capturing the essence of this set.

Clapton is joined by many of his usual buddies, including former ’60s popster, guitarist Andy Fairweather Low (Amen Corner, the Low Riders)—the guy Clapton credits with much of the arrangement work on his famed, multi-million selling Unplugged album—and Paul Carrack on keys and support vocals. The DVD is well filmed and gives a fine flavor of the live excitement of the week-long residency gigs themselves.

These discs range across much of his back-catalogue, as would be expected, and inevitably drift into the Unplugged areas too, with “Layla” being just one notable inclusion. Clapton’s cover of Bob Marley’s wonderful “I Shot The Sheriff” and the similarly electric, Strat-driven, JJ Cale cover, “Cocaine,” also stand out. On the other hand, there are a few tracks that might perhaps have been best left out, and a few points when the feeling of inevitably creeps in. Furthermore, on occasion, Clapton’s voice is clearly stretched and strained.

However, with a few tracks rocking and jamming gloriously towards the 15-minute mark, this is a minor concern. Overall, this is an excellent package, a veritable master-class in how to remain at the very top when the years seem to be closing in around you.

—Iain Patience

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