Eric Clapton Gives Tribute To Robbie Robertson To Kick Off His Tour
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Eric Clapton kicked off his 2023 U.S. tour with a heartfelt tribute to the late Robbie Robertson, the renowned guitarist and primary songwriter for The Band. The opening night, held at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena, saw Clapton begin his performance with two iconic songs from The Band’s rich catalog.
First up was “The Shape I’m In,” a classic track from The Band’s 1970 album Stage Fright. This was followed by “It Makes No Difference,” a soulful tune from their 1975 release Northern Lights – Southern Cross. After these soul-stirring renditions, Clapton simply uttered the name “Robbie Robertson,” paying tribute to the musician.
The Life of Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson’s contributions to The Band were nothing short of extraordinary, and his impact on music resonated far and wide. From the early days of The Band’s formation to their eventual disbandment in 1977, Robertson’s guitar skills and songwriting ability were instrumental in shaping their distinctive sound. His lyrics often painted vivid pictures of Americana, telling stories that connected with audiences on a profound level.
Tragically, the music industry said goodbye to this musical icon when he passed away in August at the age of 80. His struggle with an undetected disease served as an important wake-up call to the unpredictability of life, and his passing left a hole that can never be replaced. But his musical legacy, which continues to inspire and touch listeners of all ages, is a monument to his continuing impact on the rock and roll industry.
How The Band Influenced Clapton’s Music
Clapton’s deep connection to The Band’s music dates back to the early days of his career. He once revealed his admiration for The Band’s influence on his own music journey, even contemplating joining forces with them when Cream was disbanding. He confessed to his bandmates, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, that he was drawn to something else musically and considered the possibility of joining The Band.
Although he didn’t muster the courage to make the proposal, the experience of witnessing The Band’s artistry left an indelible mark on him. He spent a significant part of his career trying to capture the essence of what they had achieved.
As Clapton’s 2023 U.S. tour unfolds, there are five more shows on the itinerary. After captivating audiences in St. Louis, Saint Paul, and Denver, he will take the stage as the headliner at the annual two-night Crossroads Guitar Festival in Los Angeles. This festival promises to be a spectacular event, featuring support from legendary artists like Santana, ZZ Top, and a multitude of other talented musicians, all coming together to celebrate the power of music.
See the setlist and Clapton’s two live performances below.
Eric Clapton, 9/8/23, PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh
1. “The Shape I’m In”
2. “It Makes No Difference”
3. “Key to the Highway”
4. “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man”
5. “I Shot the Sheriff”
6. “Driftin’ Blues”
7. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”
8. “Call Me the Breeze”
10. “Tears in Heaven”
11. “Tearing Us Apart”
12. “Wonderful Tonight”
13. “Cross Road Blues”
14. “Little Queen of Spades”
16. “High Time We Went”