Clapton Plays Surprise Chicago Gig; 2019 Dates

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Clapton, in a photo from 2016

Though his touring days are over, Eric Clapton continues to have a busy calendar. Over the weekend, the 73-year-old played a surprise set in Chicago, Ill. He’s also revealed his first 2019 dates, in Germany and Austria. One of those performances will see him close the renowned Dresden Music Festival at a concert hall.

Slowhand’s Chicago gig, at the Cinespace Film Studio was short, just nine songs, and included such concert regulars as “Key to the Highway,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Wonderful Tonight” and “Cocaine.” The Where’s Eric website reports that it was with his seven-piece band: Doyle Bramhall, Paul Carrack, Chris Stainton, Nathan East, Sonny Emory, Sharon White and Sharlotte Gibson.

The performance served as a warmup of sorts; Clapton has two concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden later this week. In a coincidence, Chicago Blues master guitarist, Otis Rush, a big influence on Clapton, died on that same day.

The classic rock legend has done several of these insider performances in 2018. On May 26, for instance, he played the annual Greenwich (Conn.) Town Party. On August 18, he was an unannounced guest performer at pal Jimmie Vaughan’s set in Columbus, Ohio. In January, he appeared at a charitable concert in the U.K. and then at a private event in Paris.

So far in 2018, he’s had just three ticketed events, including his July 8 headlining performance in London’s Hyde Park as part of the British Summer Time series.

There are two announced dates remaining on his 2018 schedule, at New York’s Madison Square Garden on October 6-7. Tickets are available here and here.

He’ll release his first full-length holiday album, Happy Xmas, on October 12, via the Bushbranch/Surfdog label. The collection of 14 songs includes covers of many holiday standards including “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Clapton will be the subject of a new biography, Slowhand: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton, from noted music biographer Philip Norman. The 432-page title, coming October 30 in the U.S. (pre-order) and November 6 in the U.K (pre-order), is “with Clapton‘s consent and access to family members and close friends,” said the announcement from its publisher.

Eric Clapton 2018-2019 Concerts

Oct 06 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Oct 07 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden

Jun 04 – Berlin, Germany – Mercedes-Benz Arena
Jun 06 – Vienna, Austria – Wiener Stadthalle
Jun 08 – Mannheim, Germany – SAP Arena
Jun 10 – Dresden, Germany – Messe Dresden

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