Eric Clapton – Pretending (ARMS 67/68 PR)

 Pretending (ARMS 67/68 PR)

RAH, London, UK – May 16, 2006

Disc1: Pretending – So Tired – Got To Get Better – Lost & Found – I Shot The Sheriff – Anyday – Back Home – I Am Yours – Nobody Knows You – Milkcow Blues – Running On Faith

Disc2: After Midnight – Little Queen Of Spades – Everybody Oughta Make A Change – Motherless Children – Wonderful Tonight – Layla – Cocaine – Crossroads

Another nice recording from ARMS to give us evidence of EC’s first 2006 show at the Albert. Identical setlist to the warm-up gig in France with the only difference being Robert Cray now joining the band for Crossroads.

“Pretending” is without doubt a great opener with EC throwing in a nice first solo then passing the torch to Doyle and Derek. “So Tired” has no guitar pirotecnics but still is great fun to listen to. “Got To Get Better” sees EC delivering a solid solo on the first part of the song and with no bass solo from Willie Weeks these days, not much time passes until Doyle and Derek take their turns on the second part of this song. It is impossible for EC to let you down playing “Sheriff” and this is no exception with a great indeed building solo. “Anyday” with a flubbed line at the beginning, gave way to the more intimate, acoustic set featuring EC beautifully singing “Back Home”, Derek doing a good slide work on “I Am Yours” and Doyle playing great lead at the end of “Running On Faith”.
With the Stratocaster back on EC’s hands of special mention is the rendition of  “Little Queen Of Spades”, a real showcase for all the band members’ habilities. Remarkable also is the solo on “Layla”: one minute of pure EC – one minute of joy. “Cocaine” is the closer and again all band members are given the opportunity to show off for a while. This is not as bad as “Sunshine Of Your Love” used to be back in 1990 when Ray Cooper treated audiences to 10 minute percussion solos, but again one would have preferred to listen to a more extended solo by EC. Oh well…”Crossroads” is the only encore and featuring Robert Cray, it just leaves you asking for more.
Nearly a two-hour show, kind of a historical one with EC playing at his spiritual home for the first time in 2006, nicely captured by the ARMS gang. Recommended.

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