If we'd sussed when we booked tickets for Clapton in Nottingham that he would be playing five days later in Hyde Park, it'd have saved a long drive. It was a good gig though, especially as Uncle John had arranged a prime-sited executive box - not very rock and roll, but nice to be able to stretch one's legs, sup cold beer or wine, and have well-found loos all to ourselves.
The openers, Robert Raymond and the Family Band, were electric, putting heart and soul into their set (K reckoned they stole the show). Their Voodoo Child (Slight Return) was magic.
Clapton, on his magic carpet, was worth going for, inevitably. And long overdue - I last saw him with Cream at Wembley in April 1967, along with the Troggs, the Move, the Kinks, the New Vaudeville Band and Geno Washington (some gig, eh? Well, it should have been, except I couldn't hear a thing for teenage girls screaming). But there was something minimal and lacklustre about him and his band. There was no spark, no sign of enjoyment, no interaction with the audience. Except perhaps Abe Laboriel Jnr who drummed his big cotton socks off. The single encore (for which the punters had to work too hard), 'Got My Mojo Working' was enriched by the return of a bouncing, leg-waving Robert Raymond on his pedal guitar.
We were intrigued by Eric's rhythm guitarist who, K pointed out, was playing his guitar upside down. It looked like a left-handed guitar, being played left-handed, but strung right-handed. A quick Google showed that this was Doyle Bramhall II, who has toured before with Clapton with his own band, Smokestack. There must be a story behind his strange technique.
By way of contrast, my ordered debut album from Hannah Scott, 'Till Angels Fall', arrived today. With a personal note of thanks and good wishes from Hannah, and a kiss. Bless! I love it when artists are that approachable and appreciative. I had a similar response from Rachel Carns of Twin (King Cobra), who is fêted enough not to bother.
If you haven't come across Hannah, visit her MySpace here, then order her CD; it's really good and she's destined for great things.