Have you seen Eric Clapton at his best?

Up until last night I had seen Eric four times and honestly felt I hadn't caught him at his finest. His recent tour gives all of us the opportunity. His set is largely from "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" 'cause he has the greatest living slide guitarist playing with him - Derek Trucks. Their interplay on the Layla album songs is truly magical. Catch the concert when it comes your way. Amazing!
I have ...... Way back when he was "Derek and the Dominos. Talk about magic! Eric and Duane Allman really were tremendous together. I haven't seen Eric recently but I'm sure he still puts on a good show! I'll try to check it out!
Saw Cream at Fillmore West in 1968. A memorable concert. Ginger was at his absolute speed-freaking peak (don't know if it was the 'atmosphere' or what, but even his extended rendition of 'Toad' was perfect).

Having the chance to play with Derek T. is as good as having Duane back on the stage with him. Are they planning on recording/releasing music from this tour?
Cream, 1968, Farewell tour, Miami Baseball Stadium. Clapton and his band, 1976, Hollywood Sportatorium.
Still, sorry I missed the recent reunion with Ginger and Jack. The CD from these last shows sounds great!
" 'cause he has the greatest living slide guitarist playing with him - Derek Trucks."

Not if Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth are still alive...

With Muddy Waters in 1978....They had their ''Mo Jo'' workin that night.....have not seen Claption since.
I don't think he's been close to his best since he kicked heroin. "slowhand" is not a literal description.
i saw cream with the grassroots in charleston, wva. and saw derek and the dominos on thanksgiving in cincinatti, ohio. both were spectacular. saw him solo twicw and both times were less than great...he seemed bored, except playing 'badge'.
I saw Derek and the Dominos at the Pasadena Civic right after The Layla LP came out.The Late Jesse Edwin Davis[Taj Mahal's slide player also] was The Slide guitar Player.Great show,Best I've seen him live as I didn't care for a lot of his later Pop stuff.JD
Saw Delany and Bonnie at the Chicago Auditorium in the early 70's.
They had a scruffy sideman with them named Eric Clapton.
Is he the same one?

Seriously, I believe EC to be the greatest guitar player on earth (Jimi, as we all know, came from another planet!).

Please note: The MoFi "Derek and the Dominos - Live" does not include Duane Allman -bummer)...
>>Not if Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth are still alive.<<

Yes indeed.
"Seriously, I believe EC to be the greatest guitar player on earth (Jimi, as we all know, came from another planet!)."

When I see statements such as this attributed to Eric Clapton I shake my head in wonder. A more accurate statement would be "I believe EC to be one of the most successful guitar players on earth." Over the years there have been numerous threads here placing EC on a pedestal he hardly deserves if one is looking at the technical mastery of his instrument. This is not to say I have not enjoyed and appreciated EC's contribution to rock and blues, but clearly there are many much more accomplished guitarists on planet earth, particularly in the jazz and classical realms. I've always believed he reached his peak as a musician with Cream, most likely due to his association with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.
Saw Cream at Fillmore West in 1968,also, and yes, as I recall there was SOME ATMOSPHERE.!!!

I think I lost some hearing at that concert.
Saw Clapton on his 25th Anniversary tour ( in the late 80's). Mark Knopfler was his back up guitarist.Played all his old stuff, although the encore was Dire Straits, Money for Nothing ... strange choice in my opinion. It was the best concert I've ever seen.
It's true that Eric may not be as versatile as, say, Chet Atkins (by choice is my guess).
However, Eric Clapton is a master of his instrument and does things that completely boggle my amateur player's mind (example: Try to learn to solo in Cream's "Badge" and get back to me).
What makes Eric's music special is his Artistry and the true love he finds in playing.
BTW, Mr. Clapton's hallmark is "the technical mastery of his instrument".
Ask anyone who plays the guitar (and isn't green with envy).
All great insights! I have the Cream reunion DVD and Eric played as good as I've ever seen him. I pray that this recent tour produces a DVD also. I personally cannot rank guitatists. They all bring their own unique gifts. I wish I had seen Duanne and Eric together, but Derek does a more than credible job filling Duane's shoes either with Eric on this tour or playing with the Allman Brothers. I personally enjoy seeing Jeff Beck or Eddie Van Halen in concert because they haven't mellowed with age at all. They are both guitar gunslingers and are very exciting to watch play, but neither produces that sweet "woman tone" (Eric's own description) that Clapton makes. Again, if you have the chance to see Eric and Derek together - do it. Eric doing "Layla" songs is as good as it gets!

I grew up with Eric Clapton's music beginning with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in 1966 and saw Cream live during their first US tour. I am not being critical of ECs obvious talent as a blues/rock guitarist, only the silly notion that he is "the greatest guitar player on earth." Clearly his level of skill is beyond the level of amateurs such as yourself, but that does not necessarily make him a "master of his instrument." You say that he may not be as versatile as Chet Atkins, but versatility is a hallmark of mastery. In the 1980's I saw a live performance of the Dixie Dregs during which Steve Morse did I solo I doubt anyone there that night has forgotten. In the course of his solo he played portions of several popular rock guitarist's solos (people like Jimmy Page, Hendrix, etc.) that sounded like the originals. When I think of great guitarists I think of people like Morse, but there are many others I could mention. Eric Clapton, Al DiMeola, and Bireli Lagrene all play guitar, but to suggest that Clapton has even approached the level of mastery of the later two is ludicrous. I still enjoy much of Clapton's playing, but fail to see the need to make him into something he is not.

That's MY opinion, and I'm sticking to it...
you mean sober?
as far as versatility...the last, great john cippolina once said 'any guitarist who needs to play more than 3 chords, hasn't found the right 3.....this from a 'guitar god'
I would agree with Cicciolina too.
There is no debate that we all have our personal favorite guitarists and my thread was to alert you towards a great concert if you have the opportunity. I loved Eric with the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes and the "From The Cradle" sessions. My personal favorite is Jeff Beck, but is irrevalent to the thread. I just thought if you love lead guitar talent, you would get a kick out of Eric and Derek's interplay, especially if you are as big a "Layla" album fan as I am. Hopefully I'll see him do "Keep On Growing" live before either of us goes, but he will need to have two other awesome guitarists sharing what he did with solo overdubs.
Dweller, you are absolutely right EC is a master of the guitar. Tswhitsel, please share how you determine whether or not a musician is a master of an instrument, if you don't think EC has mastered his instrument then IMO that is an outrageous statement, laughed so hard coffee flew out of my nose.....forget music genre, consider only sheer ability to communicate through a given instrument.

I do agree with you claiming someone is the best in the world at anything is means for debate.
How many guitarists could play Eric's "Double Crossing Time" and "Have You Heard" solos from "John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton" or 28 years later play a solo like "Groaning the Blues" on "From the Cradle"?
Master of electric guitar - Da!
I think the only true way to measure a muscian's greatness is by what their peers think. The respect that has been shown to Clapton by countless guitar greats that came before and after him speak's for itself. Even Steve Morse sites Clapton as a major influence on his playing! Mabey Clapton isn't a Jazz or Classical master of the Guitar but he is a master of the Blues! I do not like all the music he has done over the years but I will say all that he plays truly comes from the heart.

" The greatest living Guitarist " BUDDY GUY!!!!!!!
Right on Blblues!
Blblues68 and/or Pops:

Please share the Buddy Guy equivalent to Eric's rendition of "Spoonful".
What is considered Mr. Guy's masterpeice?

The beauty of this thread is that all of our opinions just underscore how influential Clapton, and so many others, have been - not just on us but on other guitarists/musicians. I would certainly have to add that, IMO, Bireli Lagrene has been much less of an influence on the world music scene than EC (though Lagrene is the most brilliant proponent of Django's legacy and deserves as much attention as EC, et al). I don't think that Clapton is the least bit concerned about his place in the pantheon.

For every 'best' musician one names, there are dozens of other candidates that could be counterposited. Is Buddy Guy the 'best' blues guitarist? There are many blues afficionados who might agree, but there are even more who would suggest that Freddie King, or Albert King, Albert Collins, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Hubert Sumlin, Jimi, or insert your favorite, is the 'best.' And let's not forget the white guys like SRV (or brother Jimmie), Benoit, Earl, Gatton, Gaar, Trout, Trucks, Duane (or Dickie or Toy...) or the great Roy Buchanan. How do you split the hairs? Is it on the basis of live performance, recordings, or a combination of the two? Very few of us here witnessed the wonder of Freddie King's playing, and his recordings really don't serve his memory all that well. But I can assure you that he was as moving a blues guitarist as I have ever had the privilege to see/hear in person. But the finest guitarist I have ever seen/heard (and in HIS living room to boot) is Jose Feliciano. He can literally play anything but his 12 string mastery is incredible. And he can mimic EC, Jimi - anybody you name.

This is all just mental masturbation, but it underscores how much music there is for us to discover.
Thanks for all your input! Saying Derek Trucks is the greatest living slide guitarist was a mistake on my part. Should have said my personal favorite. Those of you that saw Eric with the Dominoes and Cream I sincerely envy. I was just so excited to see him do a concert for himself instead of doing "hits" for his audience. That was the "Slowhand" I had to see!
When Clapton was in his prime and in the zone, he was very good. He can still make some magic happen on the right night. There were some nice moments on the Cream reunion DVD.

"The best" to each of us is going to be different. For me, Clapton is a good but not great player who sticks very close to the blues/pentatonic scales and uses lots of nice and effective but repetative licks and cliches combined with his constant fallback first finger vibrato. His three-finger playing style also limits his versatility, but within what he does he is very capable and dependable.

On the soul scale he is good but not great. Freddie King, Albert King, BB King, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix, and too many others to list, are more soulful, dynamic and captivating players.

In the area of technical difficulty there are tons of better players than Clapton or any of the guys listed in the previous paragraph. Jeff Beck is a much more technically capable rock/blues player as is nearly any competent jazz player on the planet. Bluegrass players and good country players can run rings around them all too. The same is true of guys I have no interest in like Steve Morse, Eric Johnson and Steve Vai. Then you have wildcards like Danny Gatton, Brian Setzer, and Michael Hedges, all very good technical players.

In the end, we all like who we like and there's no right or wrong in that.

With that in mind, here's a plug for my personal favorite: the slowly-becoming-famous Greg Koch from my home town of Milwaukee. He is a Fender clinician and co-author of some of the most popular Hal Leonard instructional guitar material. He did the newest "Signature Licks" instructional DVDs for Lynyrd Skynyrd and Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as his very own called "Guitar Gristle." He plays with drummer Johnny Calarco and bass player Roscoe Beck (of the Robin Ford Trio). I've been seeing him live for 13 years and have never seen anything quite like him. He's getting known now so I don't get to see him nearly as often as I used to. Go to www.gregkoch.com for info. Sorry to get sidetracked, but that what happens when you start talking about great guitar players.

Sorry, for instant Greg Koch gratification check out the following youtube link:

While bluegrass and blues, or rhythm and blues, are different animals, we should also include Jerry Douglas whose mastery of the dobro is worthy of mention. Douglas would have to be included on a list of 'best' guitarists if not on a list of best blues guitarists.
the only time i ever got to see eric clapton was back in 83 or 84,it was the money and cigarettes tour and he was at the civic arena in pittsburgh ,ry cooder opened the show for him
"Clapton Is God" Why? Because if it wasn't for him I, ( a poor dumb white kid) wouldn't have investigated Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Albert King, BB King, Taj Mahal, and Bob Marley, and I wouldn't love all the wonderful vibes I've gotten from their uplifting music!

All these icons said the same thing about Eric Clapton - "The boy feels the blues!"

Eric - Thank You Very Much!
If music is meant to convey and evoke emotion, then I agree Derek Trucks is "the greatest living slide guitarist". Ry Cooder leaves me cold, and always has.
There, I perpetuated the argument!
I once heard BB and Eric do a joint interview, where they went on about the search for the "One Note." In effect, too many notes, too much playing is the opposite of what they both felt was the pinnacle of playing an instrument. Technical mastery does not fit into that line of thinking. It's about emotion. I have heard Carlos Santana speak of the same thing.
You could argue of course, that technical mastery is a means to that end, but simply displaying that mastery will not make you a guitar god - for long anyway, until the next technical wizard shows up!
The last time I saw Clapton was in Hartford around 1988 or '89. Mark Knopfler, no slouch, was seconding him on guitar and I couldn't believe how much Clapton ran circles aqround him. The (personal) upshot is after an encore Clapton threw his guitar pick into the audience where it landed on the floor a few seats away. (I was in the 2nd row.) I got to the pick first and as I was trying to pick it up from the beer-soaked floor, some girl tried to peel my fingers off the pick by pulling them straight back. Before I could respond, she managed to dislocate three fingers on my left hand. The irony is that my fingers don't line up properly anymore and I can't chord a guitar neck right. BTW, the pick said "Have a Nice Day" on it.
I saw Clapton with Cream at Massey Hall in Toronto in 1967, with Blind Faith at Varsity Stadium In Toronto in 1969, and solo a couple of times in the early to mid 70's.
Hard to pick.. they were all great shows.
He is certasinly not the guitarist now, that he was then.
I am not quite as good myself at 57, as I was 40 years ago.
has a dvd on this concert ever come out?
Actually, he was at his best when he was at his worst! Think he can still pull of that guitar solo from Crossroads. It was the Coca Cola, if you know what I mean.
Yes Derek and Dominos at the Filmore also Blind Faith.Also 12 yrs ago Blues conert at msg.