Clapton, Winwood, Santana Play London’s Hyde Park

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Clapton performing “Got to Get Better in a Little While” in London’s Hyde Park, July 8, 2018

Though he’s said he’s no longer going to be touring, Eric Clapton hasn’t eliminated live performances. And on Sunday (July 8), Slowhand returned to the stage, though not just any stage. He was the headliner for the day’s star-studded lineup in London as part of the British Summer Time series in Hyde Park. His support acts included Carlos Santana and Steve Winwood, the latter of whom Clapton famously shared the stage as two members of Blind Faith on June 7, 1969.

Clapton and Levy at Hyde Park (Photo via Clapton’s Facebook page)

On this day, Clapton performed in public for just the sixth time this year. In January, he played a benefit concert in Surrey, U.K., as well as a private performance in Paris. Four months later, he was the headliner at the annual Greenwich (Conn.) Town Party, offering a 15-song set. Earlier this month, he played two scheduled concerts in Germany.

What was particularly notable about the Paris and Greenwich concerts was the inclusion of “The Core” on the setlist. The exceptional song with two extended instrumental sections of Clapton’s guitar with saxophonist Mel Collins, and rousing backing vocals by Marcy Levy is a highlight of his 1977 Slowhand album. Until that Jan. 23 Paris show, Clapton hadn’t played it live since 1978.

At Hyde Park, Clapton was joined on stage by Levy for the first time in decades for two songs: “Lay Down Sally,” which she co-wrote with Clapton (and George Terry), and “The Core,” which she and Clapton co-wrote, thus providing a surprise one-two punch midway through his 15-song set.

Watch “Lay Down Sally”

Until we can find a clip from closer proximity to the stage, watch them perform “The Core”

Earlier in the set, the crackerjack band – including guitarist Doyle Bramhall, bass guitarist Nathan East, drummer Sonny Emory, both Chris Stainton and Paul Carrack on keyboards, and vocalists Sharon White and Sharlotte Gibson – performed Clapton’s “Got to Get Better in a Little While,” which he first performed with Derek and the Dominos.

Clapton typically does an acoustic set midway through and the Hyde Park concert was no exception, with acoustic renditions of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” and “Layla, among others. The evening then ends with a flourish. (See the full setlist below.)

Watch “Cross Road Blues” towards the end of the set

Winwood’s 11-song set covered songs he recorded with the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith, Traffic and his own prominent solo career. And though the opportunity was in-hand, he and Clapton chose not to share the stage on this evening.

The ageless musician noted: “It was certainly not as hot as this the last time I played in Hyde Park, but that was 49 years ago,” referring to that 1969 concert with Blind Faith. “I think it was free then… I don’t know how many of you were there,” he added, as the band launched into the supergroup’s “Had to Cry Today.”

Watch Winwood perform a Traffic favorite

Steve Winwood’s Setlist

I’m a Man
Pearly Queen
Them Changes
Can’t Find My Way Home
Had to Cry Today
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
Empty Pages
Light Up or Leave Me Alone
Higher Love
Dear Mr. Fantasy
Gimme Some Lovin’

For the evening’s encore, Clapton returned with Carlos Santana for a cover of Joe Cocker’s “High Time We Went,” which he co-wrote with Chris Stainton.

Eric Clapton’s Setlist

Somebody’s Knocking
Key to the Highway
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
Got to Get Better in a Little While
Driftin’ Blues
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Layla
Tears in Heaven
Lay Down Sally
The Core
Wonderful Tonight
Cross Road Blues
Little Queen of Spades
Cocaine

Encore
High Time We Went

Earlier, Santana’s set included career highlights such as “Smooth,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Evil Ways.”

The full day’s lineup also featured Gary Clark Jr. and others. Following the concert, Carlos Santana wrote on his Facebook page:

“WOW …What an incredible EVENT
We are Ever So grateful to be invited
To participate and share our hearts
With BROTHER ERIC CLAPTON
Steve Winwood and Gary Clark
SUPER SUNDAY IN LONDON
Will forever CHERISH this memorable CONCERT
BLESS everyone That was there with Long LIFE
Good health Peace of mind and JOY
CARLOS AND CINDY”

Eric Clapton 2018 Concerts (Tickets are available here and here)

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

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