Eric Clapton Plays Electric ‘Layla’ at Tokyo’s Budokan

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Eric Clapton performed his first concert of 2019 on Saturday night, April 13, with the first of five shows at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan. Of note was the return of an electric version of “Layla” which, for years, Clapton has performed acoustically, mid-set, while seated.

Slowhand has played the legendary venue a reported 96 times in his career. On opening night, he performed a 16-song set that featured many blues covers (“I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Before You Accuse Me”) that he’s recorded and performed during his career.

Clapton included many classic rock songs like “Wonderful Tonight” and “Badge” that have been part of his DNA for decades. Missing, however, were such staples as “White Room” and “Lay Down Sally,” as well as “The Core,” from 1977’s Slowhand album, which he revived for the first time in decades for several 2018 performances.

Clapton, with Bramhall and East, at Tokyo’s Budokan, April 13, 2019

For the Budokan encore, “Cocaine,” he was joined onstage by John Mayer. (Watch it below.)

The Tokyo, London, and European dates feature Clapton’s regular seven-piece band: Doyle Bramhall II (guitar), Paul Carrack (keyboards), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Nathan East (bass), Sonny Emory (drums), and vocalists Sharon White and Katie Kissoon.

[He announced several years ago that his touring days are over. In 2018, he had just five ticketed events, including his July 8 headlining performance in London’s Hyde Park as part of the British Summer Time series. On October 6-7, he performed at New York’s Madison Square Garden.]

Watch electric “Layla”

(Two nights later, it was back to acoustic “Layla.”)

Eric Clapton, Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan, April 13, 2019 Setlist

Key to the Highway
(I Wanna) Make Love to You
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
I Shot the Sheriff
Driftin’ Blues
Running on Faith
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Tears in Heaven
Wonderful Tonight
Little Queen of Spades
Before You Accuse Me

Watch Clapton, with John Mayer, perform “Cocaine”


Watch Clapton and his band perform “Badge” and “Wonderful Tonight” at the residency’s second concert on April 15.

Following the remainder of his Budokan dates, he has three May concerts at his home away from home, London’s Royal Albert Hall, plus June dates in Germany and Austria, one of which will see him close the renowned Dresden Music Festival at a concert hall.

In March, he announced the return of his Crossroads Guitar Festival. At the fifth installment, to be held over two nights at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on September 20 and 21, Clapton will be joined by an assembly of many of the world’s foremost classic rock guitarists including Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Frampton, Robert Cray, and dozens more.

Eric Clapton 2019 Concerts (Tickets are available here and here)

Apr 20 – Tokyo, Japan – Nippon Budokan
May 13 – London, U.K. – Royal Albert Hall
May 15 – London, U.K. – Royal Albert Hall
May 16 – London, U.K. – Royal Albert Hall
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
Sep 20 – Dallas, TX – Crossroads Guitar Festival at America Airlines Center
Sep 21 – Dallas, TX – Crossroads Guitar Festival at America Airlines Center

Related: Links for 100s of classic rock tours

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