Eric Clapton’s “Fifty Years Further Up On The Road” tour stopped at the Chesapeake Energy Center Wednesday, bringing blistering blues to an appreciative near-sellout crowd.
The low-key guitar genius took the stage looking more like a college professor than a guitar god and but proceeded to give a master’s class in rock classics.
The show opened appropriately with “Hello Old Friend.” The chorus, “Hello old friend, It’s really good to see you once again” was perfect for the audience made up almost entirely of Baby Boomers here to see their hero one more time.
Clapton, fingers flying effortlessly up and down the neck of his guitars, went through “My Father’s Eyes,” “Tell the Truth,” “Got to Get Over,” “Black Cat Bone” and “Got to Get Better.”
While he might start playing lead on each song, he’d slide over to one side out of the spotlight and let other band members shine.
Greg Leisz’s pedal steel guitar on “Black Cat Bone” gave the tune it's '70s feel, while Doyle Bramhall II traded lead lines with Clapton, most of the time playing a beat-up left-handed Fender Telecaster strung upside down. It didn't stop him one bit as he matched Clapton note for note.
A nice surprise was Paul Carrack on organ and keyboards. Once the frontman for Squeeze, took over lead vocals on the Ace hit, “How Long.”
Each song’s extended jams were full of Clapton’s smooth, precise chords, the sounds that define his large catalogue of work.
What makes this tour one for the ages is the song selection.
Highlight of the show was mid-set when Clapton took a seat mid-stage, grabbed a standard guitar and sang his hits, “Tears In Heaven,” “Lay Down Sally,” “Wonderful Tonight” and his unplugged version of “Layla.”
Songs one would expect to hear, “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Badge” and “After Midnight” were absent, replaced by blues classics like Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and the group’s absolutely incendiary “Queen of Spades.”
The audience obviously enjoyed every song played but stood up and got rowdy when they recognized songs like “ Crossroads” and Tulsa natives J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine.”
Clapton sent everyone home in a great mood with his encores, “Sunshine of Your Love” and a high-energy version of “High Time We Went,” written by Joe Cocker and band member Chris Stainton with Carrack on lead vocals.
“Fifty Years Further On Up The Road” is Clapton’s showcase of songs he likes to play. While he doesn’t talk to the audience or encourage his fans to sing along, what he does do is deliver music that one can’t help but enjoy, and leave the venue happy to have been there.