Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007 (ARMS 139/140/141 PR)
Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Chicago, IL – July 28th, 2007
Disc 1: Bill Murry – Eric Clapton intro., Tell The Truth, Key To The Highway, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Isn’t It A Pity, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Little Queen Of Spades, Robbie Robertson intro., Who Do You Love (with Robbie Robertson), Further On Up The Road (with Robbie Robertson)
Disc 2: Steve Winwood intro., Pearly Queen (with Steve Winwood), Presence Of The Lord (with Steve Winwood), Can’t Find My Way Home (with Steve Winwood), Had To Cry Today (with Steve Winwood), Dear Mr. Fantasy (Steve Winwood solo), Cocaine, Crossroads
Disc 3: Bill Murray – Buddy Guy intro., Mary Had A Little Lamb, Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues, Hoochie Coochie Man (with EC), Sweet Home Chicago (with EC, Johnny Winter, John Mayer, Huber Sumlin, more), Stone Crazy (with EC, Johnny Winter, John Mayer, Huber Sumlin, more), She’s 19 Years Old (with EC, Johnny Winter, John Mayer, Huber Sumlin, more). Bonus tracks: Bill Murray and Eric Clapton – Gloria, Eric Clapton intro., Sonny Landreth with Eric Clapton – Hell At Home, Sheryl Crow and EC – Tulsa Time, Eric Clapton and John Mayer – Crossroads from ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” July 19th, 2007
Crossroads Guitar Special is a three disc set on the ARMS label documenting the final hours of the day long festival on July 28 beginning with Clapton’s introduction through his final set with Buddy Guy. Also included are bonus tracks featuring Clapton’s various cameos scattered throughout the show. ARMS use a very clear multi-track recording, probably taken from the PBS broadcast and have a perfect balance between instruments, voice, and audience. The label also did not attempt to improve this tape either so the sonic quality is very gentle on the ears but also very powerful. A previous release of this tape is found on Crossroads Guitar Festival(CR-002) contains most of this material from a soundboard but is missing two Buddy Guy numbers “Mary Had A Little Lamb” and “Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues,” the grand finale “She’s 19 Years Old” and the “Good Morning America” telecast. Clapton was accompanied by his backing band including Doyle Bramhall II (guitar / backing vocals), Derek Trucks (guitar), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Tim Carmon (keyboards), Willie Weeks (bass), Ian Thomas (drums), Steve Jordan (drums), Sharon White (backing vocals), Michelle John (backing vocals).
The tape begins with Bill Murray giving an introduction for Eric Clapton, saying, “Well it’s happened again. Let’s hear a little something for Jeff Beck. Well as so often is the case in our industry. The guy who puts on the party…gives himself the best slot….You are about to see a set that you will never forget for the rest of your life. I promise you. You will never ever forget what you are about to see now….Let’s give a big Chicago welcome to our host and guest, Mr. Eric Clapton.” For the time Clapton is on stage he gives a phenomenal nostalgia trip. The first forty minutes bring us back to 1970 with three Derek And The Dominos classics with George Harrison’s “Isn’t It A Pity” also from 1970, thrown in for good measure. The cover tune is introduced by Clapton saying, “This song is from someone I wish was here. And he kinda is anyway.” “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” is almost seven minutes long and contains a great duet between Clapton and Trucks on guitar. But even greater is the thirteen minute epic “Little Queen Of Spades” where it seem everybody takes a solo.
Robbie Robertson is introduced and says a few words about Bo Diddley and dedicates “Who Do You Love” to him., and they follow with “Further On Up The Road” is an arrangement similar to what they played thirty two years ago during The Band’s final concert. Steve Winwood joins the band onstage and they play several Blind Faith numbers including the great “Had To Cry Today.” The third disc begins with Bill Murray’s introduction of the final act: “Not too bad for a Saturday night in Bridgeview. As my friend Joliet Jake once said ‘I recommend you buy as many blues albums as possible.’ We’re all in pretty bad shape wouldn’t you agree? The thing I would recommend is to turn it over to the local authorities…Mr. Buddy Guy.” Guy appropriately closes the event, playing is brand of Chicago blues. Before “Hootchie Cootchie Man” he says that he does not like to do things alone and brings out the best guitar player in the world. Clapton at that point joins in and all of the artists come in for the final three songs, “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Stone Crazy” and “She’s 19 Years Old.”
The balance of the disc is filled with Clapton’s various appearances earlier in the day with Bill Murray’s interpretation of “Gloria” and Clapton playing with Sonny Landreth and Sheryl Crow. The final track comes from his appearance on Good Morning America the week before the event. This is the second Crossroads Festival, following one in 2004 and Bill Murray is correct in stating that it is an event that one will never forget. Although much of the set trades in on nostalgia, it is good to hear these songs again interpreted for the twenty first century. ARMS like to experiment with different forms of packaging and have issued jewel cases, cardboard sleeves and even used the license plate sized paper packaging several years ago. This is issued in a thin, tri-fold plastic gatefold with padded sleeves for the discs. For a collection of Clapton’s appearances on that day, this is a superb sounding set and is worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)