Eric Clapton Covers Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ In London

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Eric Clapton had a number of surprises in store for his first of three concerts at Royal Albert Hall in London on Monday night. Clapton opened the show with a tribute to Doris Day and ended the night by honoring Prince with a cover of “Purple Rain.” In between were a few rarities and plenty of classics.

The legendary guitarist honored Doris Day, who died at age 97 earlier in the day, with a take on her trademark song, “Que Será, Será.” From there, Slowhand filled the beginning and middle of the concert with staples such as “Key To The Highway,” “I Shot The Sheriff,” “Tears In Heaven” and “Change The World.”

A three-song stretch towards the end of the main set included a trio of bust outs. First up was “Tearing Us Apart” from 1986’s August, which was last played on October 16, 2011 as per Setlist.FM’s stats. Next came another August track, “Holy Mother” for the first time since December 13, 2003. Finally, Clapton dusted off a cover of Eddie Boyd’s “Five Long Years” after more than six years of the shelf.

Eric Clapton ended last night’s main set with a pairing of “Crossroads” and “Layla.” Monday’s “Layla” was the recently revived electric version. For the encore, EC paid tribute to Prince by debuting “Purple Rain.” Clapton extended the tune with a sublime solo. Here’s what Slowhand wrote about Prince in the days following his death:

“I’m so sad about the death of Prince, he was a true genius, and a huge inspiration for me, in a very real way…. In the the eighties, I was out on the road in a massive downward spiral with drink and drugs, I saw Purple Rain in a cinema in Canada, I had no idea who he was, it was like a bolt of lightning!… In the middle of my depression, and the dreadful state of the music culture at that time it gave me hope, he was like a light in the darkness… I went back to my hotel, and surrounded by empty beer cans, wrote Holy Mother…. I can’t believe he’s gone….”

Watch fan-shot video of Clapton’s “Purple Rain” captured by Im’s R:

Here’s footage of “Five Long Years” thanks to Tord 79:

Check out last night’s “Layla” thanks to Nick Whitworth:

Setlist

Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall

  • Que sera sera  
  • Motherless Children  
  • Key to the Highway  
  • Pretending
  • I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man  
  • I Shot the Sheriff  
  • Driftin' Blues  
  • Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out  
  • Tears in Heaven  
  • Change the World  
  • Running on Faith  
  • Tearing Us Apart
  • Holy Mother
  • Five Long Years  
  • Cross Road Blues  
  • Layla  
Encore
  • Purple Rain  

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Eric Clapton