Watch Eric Clapton Honor Robbie Robertson With 2 The Band Covers At Tour Opener
Slowhand paid tribute to the late The Band guitarist by performing “The Shape I’m In” and “It Makes No Difference.”
Eric Clapton took the stage on Friday, September 8 for the first time since Robbie Robertson died last month at age 80 after a year-long battle with prostate cancer. Clapton opened his concert on Friday at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena and five-city North American tour by performing pair of The Band covers in honor of the late guitarist.
“The Band to me was amazing because they were all giants,” Clapton said during a recent interview with The Real Music Observer. “Every one of them was a giant on his own, and [Robbie] was the visionary. I have no doubt that he wrote all those songs.”
Eric Clapton was among the guests at the group’s famed farewell concert on Thanksgiving 1976 captured by director Martin Scorsese for the iconic concert film The Last Waltz. Clapton went to visit The Band in Woodstock in their early days with the intention of asking to join the group but couldn’t work up the nerve to do so. “From that day, I spent the rest of my career, until The Last Waltz anyways, trying to find ways to imitate what they had,” Clapton recalled during his speech inducting The Band into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
The 78-year-old British guitarist began his 16-song concert on Friday in Pittsburgh with “The Shape I’m In.” Eric Clapton both handled vocals and took a sizzling solo in leading his band — guitarist Andy Fairweather Low, bassist Nathan East, drummer Sonny Emory, keyboardists Chris Stainton and Paul Carrack — through the song initially released by The Band on their 1970 album Stage Fright.
Vocalists Sharon White and Katie Kissoon emerged to back Clapton on “It Makes No Difference.” Eric Clapton did an admirable job recreating the vocals originally sung by The Band’s Rick Danko on the 1975 album Northern Lights – Southern Cross. “Robbie Robertson,” Eric Clapton exclaimed simply following the second The Band cover.
View fan-shot video of Eric Clapton’s tributes to Robbie Robertson below:
Last night, Eric Clapton started his concert in Toronto, the second show of the tour, with the same two The Band covers. Clapton continues the trek tomorrow, Tuesday, September 12 in St. Louis.
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Eric Clapton at PPG Paints Arena
Electric set #1
- The Shape I'm In
- It Makes No Difference
- Key to the Highway
- I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
- I Shot the Sheriff
- Driftin' Blues
- Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out
- Call Me the Breeze
- Tears in Heaven
Electric Set #2
- Tearing Us Apart
- Wonderful Tonight
- Cross Road Blues
- Little Queen of Spades
- High Time We Went
- Joe Cocker
- Jimmie Vaughan