Eric Clapton & Friends Play 2020 Tribute to Ginger Baker

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Nile Rodgers (at L) with Eric Clapton and Ronnie Wood at A Tribute to Ginger Baker, Feb. 17, 2020

A gathering of British classic rock legends took the stage in London on Feb. 17, 2020, to give Ginger Baker a proper sendoff. The drummer’s two-time bandmate, Eric Clapton, had announced the benefit concert to celebrate the musical life of his “dear friend” who died at 80 on October 6, 2019. The charity event, billed as Eric Clapton & Friends: A Tribute to Ginger Baker, was held at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith in London, U.K. Some friends! Joining EC were such legends as Steve Winwood (who formed Blind Faith with Baker, Clapton and Ric Grech), Ronnie Wood, Roger Waters and Nile Rodgers.

Want more? Also playing in the tribute to Baker were Kenney Jones, Paul Carrack and Chris Stainton on keys, Steve Gadd, Willie Weeks, Baker’s son, Kofi Baker, himself a drummer, singers Katie Kissoon and Sharon White, Sonny Emory, Henry Spinetti, and Clapton’s nephew, Will Johns.

The evening’s 15-song setlist honored Baker’s lifetime in music, which naturally include Clapton and Baker’s work together in Cream and Blind Faith. The evening’s final number, “Cross Road Blues” (a.k.a. “Crossroads”), allowed many of the guitar legends the opportunity to solo. (See the setlist below.)

Before any music was played, a filmed tribute to Baker, born Aug. 19, 1939, with plenty of performance clips, was shown on the big screen behind the stage. Clapton then spoke. “Some of that stuff was 50 years ago, but it feels like yesterday. I used to call him Peter Edward… and I think he’s here… somewhere.”

Watch that tribute and the opening number, “Sunshine of Your Love,” with Waters on bass

Watch them perform Cream’s “White Room”

Watch “Badge” with a killer guitar solo from Clapton

When tickets went on sale on Nov. 29, 2019, the event sold-out almost instantly.

Watch “Presence of the Lord”

Naturally, Winwood sang “Can’t Find My Way Home”

Watch the evening’s encore performance of “Cross Road Blues”

A Tribute to Ginger Baker, Feb. 17, 2020, Setlist

Sunshine of Your Love
Strange Brew
White Room
I Feel Free
Tales of Brave Ulysses
We’re Going Wrong
Badge
Blue Condition
Outside Woman Blues
Had to Cry Today
Presence of the Lord
Can’t Find My Way Home
Well All Right
Do What You Like

Encore:
Cross Road Blues (Crossroads)

[Clapton has a tour scheduled. Tickets are available here and here.]

The event was held in aid of Leonard Cheshire, a charity identified as being close to the Baker family. It’s described as “supporting individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability, at the heart of local life–opening doors to opportunity, choice and support in communities around the globe.”

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. JoeCon
    #1 JoeCon 18 February, 2020, 07:44

    Nice tribute but really missing Jack Bruce’s voice on some of those Cream sings…

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  2. casgani1955
    #2 casgani1955 20 April, 2020, 14:49

    we miss them all when they die , when will tribute CD be out

    Reply this comment
  3. Da Mick
    #3 Da Mick 18 February, 2022, 11:22

    It’s beyond me how Clapton continues to have such a loyal following that he’s able to sustain large concert audiences. Going from the dynamic, pioneering guitarist and vocalist that he was to the limp cop-out that he turned into long ago has left me with such a venomous feeling for him. But hearing him do pathetic renditions of some of the greatest songs of all time pushed my needle into contempt. This is supposed to be a “tribute” to one of the all-time greatest drummers? If Baker’s spirit still exists somewhere, he must be sneering in disgust at this lame attempt. Where do I begin?
    Sunshine of your love played on a clean sounding Stratocaster has got to be the wimpiest version of this incredible pounding rocker that ever was. Pick up a Gibson to do the song for Pete’s sake, and crank it up!
    White Room – I’ll leave Clapton alone here for a little bit, and just ask, has Robbie Wood ever heard how that incredible wah-wah was used in this song? He can’t wait to use his toy but can’t seem to get the simple iconic parts down with it to pull it off.

    Badge, with apologies to the author, but that’s a “killer guitar solo” by Clapton? He can’t even lead the measure in as he does to such great effect on the original record. The old dude is apparently reduced to starting/stopping and keeping his notes squarely inside the measure. These were the things that were once great about his playing. Plus, it would be nice if he could at least sing the song correctly. Not to mention, what’s with that long, exaggerated silence before the middle eight bridge and solo, only to come in with that wimpy, clean, non-leslie tone to play that iconic part? This is pure laziness, that screams “I’ve taken the easy route because I just don’t care anymore.” Fortunately, Ronnie is there with some over-driven leslie tone to back EC up on that great part. But then, on round II of the part, neither guy seems to know what to do, until Ronnie has the brilliant idea to whip out his slide and do thrash it around on the guitar while he dances around. Honestly, I played better than that when I was 15. The really sad thing is that Wood is the better of the two Stones’ guitar players at this point. Nobody seems to care apparently at $300 and up a seat.
    If you had Steve Winwood there at the show, wouldn’t you let HIM sing “Presence Of The Lord?” I don’t care if Clapton does sing it in his own shows, it’s a Winwood classic, and Clapton shows who his is, by not bowing out here and letting Winwood do his thing. Clapton’s lost his edge decades ago, but still wants to be treated like royalty, even if it’s him giving himself that treatment. When you do hear Winwood sing “Can’t Find My Way Home” correctly, you realize what a faded shadow of himself Clapton’s become. The tragic thing is he has all those amazing songs that he’s not willing to put the effort into anymore, and he doesn’t seem willing, or maybe able, to actually rock at this point. Poor Ginger. Poor us.

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