New York Events

Eric Clapton with Keith Richards


Feb 24, 2012 – 8:00 PM

253 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027 Map

  • Eric Clapton
  • Keith Richards

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Eric Clapton: While it's nearly impossible to sum up the career of Eric Clapton in just a few words, it can be fairly summarized by one fact: Eric Clapton is the only person to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not one, not two, but three times. As one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Clapton's groundbreaking tour dates with the Yardbirds, Cream, and his own solo career have made him a rock legend. Eric Clapton is still going strong after the release of his 20th solo album, Clapton, in 2010 and is currently playing 2011 concerts in the UK and South America.

After stints in a few small bands, Eric Clapton was invited to replace Anthony Topham in The Yardbirds in 1963. After experiencing minor hits and playing tour dates with cover songs, The Yardbirds scored big with their 1965 single, "For Your Love," which featured a more poppy sound. Displeased with the manufactured pop sounds that the band was gravitating towards, Clapton left the band that year. While playing a tour date with the John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Clapton and Ginger Baker expressed dissatisfaction with their respective groups and decided to form their own band. Clapton requested that Jack Bruce be hired as the bassist, unaware that Baker and Bruce had an insanely hateful relationship. Throughout their tenure as Cream, the band's members revolutionized music through their cultivation of a blues/psychedelic rock hybrid and long jams on tour dates. By the 1968 release of the world's first ever platinum double album, Wheels of Fire, the members of Cream had reached a breaking point and disbanded.

After releasing his debut, self-titled solo album in 1970, Eric Clapton sought to form a group where he could have obscurity, soon forming Derek and the Dominos. Around this time, Clapton's obsession with friend George Harrison's wife, Pattie Boyd, had left him distraught. After reading the classic Persian tale, The Story of Layla and Manjun, about a man driven to insanity by his love for an unavailable woman, he penned the tracks of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. In the early years of the 70s, Clapton's personal losses and lengthy tour dates led him into a depression fueled by alcohol and heroin use. By 1974, he had kicked his heroin addiction, which lead to a string of hit albums, including 461 Ocean Boulevard, Slowhand, and Backless. Eric Clapton repeated the feat in the 80s with Behind the Sun, August, and Journeyman.

The success was followed by a string of tragedies, including the 1990 death of Stevie Ray Vaughan on a tragic tour date, and the monumentally tragic death of his son Connor in 1991. The subsequent feelings of loss and depression were epitomized in the ballad "Tears In Heaven". The 90s also the release of the hugely successful MTV Unplugged album and 1994's From the Cradle. Eric Clapton has played sold-out tour dates and released a slew of hit albums since that time, including an album with B.B. King, titled Riding with the King, The Road to Escondido with JJ Cale, and his latest release, Clapton. Eric Clapton is still playing concerts in 2011 and is currently selling out tour dates in the UK. After taking June and July off, Clapton will set off on the South American leg of his tour dates on October 6. Eric Clapton's 2011 concert schedule will end on October 16, so fans in the UK and South America shouldn't miss this opportunity.

Keith Richards: An English musician, songwriter, and founding member of the Rolling Stones. Rolling Stone magazine said Richards had created "rock's greatest single body of riffs", and placed him as the "10th greatest guitarist of all time." Fourteen songs written by Richards and songwriting partner and band vocalist, Mick Jagger, are listed among Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Richards' notoriety for illicit drug use stems in part from several drug busts during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Richards' guitar playing shows a fascination with chords and rhythm while avoiding flamboyant virtuosity in favour of riffs described by Chris Spedding as "direct, incisive and unpretentious." Richards prefers to play in tandem with another guitarist and has always toured with one. Chuck Berry has been an inspiration for Richards, and it was Richards and Jagger who introduced Berry's songs to the Rolling Stones' early repertoire. Chicago artists such as Jimmy Reed and Muddy Waters provided the basis of a style of interwoven lead and rhythm guitar that Richards developed with Brian Jones that continues with the Rolling Stones' current guitarist, Ronnie Wood. In the late 1960s, Jones' declining contributions led Richards to record all guitar parts on many tracks, including slide guitar, which had been Jones' specialty in the band's early years. Jones' replacement guitarist Mick Taylor worked with the Rolling Stones from 1969 to 1974, and Taylor's virtuosity at lead guitar led to a much more pronounced separation between lead and rhythm guitar roles, notably onstage. In 1975 Taylor was replaced by Wood, marking a return to the style of guitar interplay that he and Richards described as "the ancient art of weaving".

The 1967-68 break in touring allowed Richards to focus on open tunings, which are commonly used for slide guitar. Instead, Richards primarily used open tunings for fingered chording, developing a distinctive style of syncopated and ringing I-IV chording heard on "Street Fighting Man" and "Start Me Up". Richards has used various open tunings (while continuing to use standard tuning) but has often favoured a five-string variant of open G tuning using GDGBD unencumbered by a low sixth string. Several of his Telecasters are tuned this way (see the "Guitars" section below), and this tuning is prominent on Rolling Stones tracks and concert renditions including "Honky Tonk Women", "Brown Sugar" and "Start Me Up".

Richards regards acoustic guitar as the basis for his playing, believing that the limitations of electric guitar would cause him to "lose that touch" if he didn't play acoustic. Richards plays acoustic guitar on many Rolling Stones' tracks including like "Not Fade Away", "Satisfaction", "Brown Sugar", and "Angie". All guitars on the studio versions of "Street Fighting Man" and "Jumping Jack Flash" feature acoustic guitars overloaded to a cassette recorder which were then reamped through a loudspeaker in the studio.

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