[Slowhand] St. Louis 10 - Kansas City 4
kbw at mchsi.com
Tue Apr 3 15:04:09 EDT 2007
Saw my second show of the tour last night in Kansas City, # 115 in the ongoing series by Where's Eric's count. My first was St. Louis, # 41, six months ago, 250 miles away, and a world of difference in performance.
In St. Louis, EC performed one of the best concerts ever. EC, Trucks, Jordan, Weeks & Stainton were listening to each other and playing together, and they sounded like a *band* - a really good band, the best band I've seen with him. Derek was in flamethrower mode, and Eric was not about to play second fiddle to anyone onstage. Eric has always been a creature of his environment and he responded by playing more solos, longer solos, and some of the finest, most inspired, passionate guitar heard from him in any context. Doyle and Carmon stayed out of the way for the most part.
Over to KC: things are off to a promising start; it's great to hear EC tearing into these wonderful Dominos songs. Chris is *on* tonight; he's even more impressive than in St. Louis. Doyle plays some pretty good slide and is great on the vocal trade-offs with Eric. Little Wing is perfect and the high point of this evening. Eric's guitar and vocal are stunning.
A problem is evident early on that continues throughout this concert. Stylistically, what Doyle plays does not go with the songs or with what Eric is playing. His solos are unimaginative, lack fluidity, and sound somewhat rhythmically and melodically challenged. Every time he solos, the proceedings lurch at best, and at worst slam into a wall. Anyway, after a couple gratuitous Doyle solos, I think of the little spare tire we carry around in our cars that has to be used when the real tire is gone; it'll get you there, but it's not a good ride.
Little Queen of Spades is the exemplar for this entire concert: Eric opens with a brilliant solo, Chris plays a gorgeous piano solo, Doyle follows with something disruptively irrelevant, and worst of all, Carmon ends with a solo so remarkably ponderous that I can hardly believe it is happening.
Eric is a generous man who encourages his musical collaborators to play what they will. In the company of world class instrumentalists, they play in ways that inspire him to perform at his peak. That's the payoff. But his generosity cuts both ways; this tour, I saw both sides of it.
It's time to go home now, I've got an aching head,
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