[Slowhand] What I did this weekend

Steve Proctor drpr at earthlink.net
Wed May 30 01:43:30 EDT 2007

Well, I certainly had an interesting Memorial Day weekend! Charlotte, NC, is usually not a Mecca for good music but this weekend was an exception. In addition to a wide variety of free music at Speed Street, we had Derek Trucks playing at a small venue on Friday and Saturday night and Herbie Hancock playing at another small venue on Sunday night. And Herbie Hancock's bass player is now Nathan East!

I saw Derek on Saturday night. Turns out I should have been there Friday night, because Branford Marsalis showed up and joined DT for three songs! High points of the three hour breathtaking Saturday show included a jazzy version of "Greensleeves" and a killer "Key To The Highway." He also did a reworked version of "Going Down Slow" that didn't appeal to me. I previously heard him play "Anyday" but it was not played that night.

After the show, we were able to speak to Derek briefly. He signed my guitar. My girlfriend held up her Derek Trucks Head On A Stick with Detachable Yarn Ponytail and told him that we had the Heads at a Clapton show. He started laughing and told her "Yeah, I remember you from San Jose!" The Heads were given to Derek and his Dad, who was selling CD's and DVD's. I also gave Derek CDs with three of the 2006 Budokan shows.

As many of you know, I have become friends with Nathan East over the years. So, even though I had a very limited knowledge of Herbie Hancock's music, I was there on the front row. Great show!! The guitar player, Lionel Loueke, plays synthesized tones much like John McLaughlin. Nathan really gets to let loose in this setting. He and the band got a laugh from the reappearance of the Nathan East Head On A Stick.

I was waiting with a small group of people to go backstage when I saw a familiar face. Or was it? I looked again and, realizing he lives in North Carolina, asked "Excuse me, but aren't you Willie Weeks?" Yes, it was him! Apparently, he was invited by the drummer, Vinnie Colaiuta. When I mentioned that I was a guest of Nathan, he replied "Nathan is the man!" and shook his head as if he was in awe of his performance that night. I asked Willie if he performed with Vince Gill at the Crossroads Festival. Yes, that was him. Then I had a momentary lapse of brain function and asked if he would be performing with Vince at the second Crossroads Festival. He politely said that he would probably be playing with Clapton.

Then, he excused himself to compliment the bass player from the opening act, a local jazz trio. I watched to see the woman's reaction as she was praised by such a world-class musician, but she actually did not recognize his name! Willie took it in stride. Later, when my girlfriend and I arrived at a set of steps at the same time as Willie did, he stepped aside and motioned for us to go first. What a gentleman!

Nathan was also very complimentary of Willie Weeks. We talked briefly, then Nathan introduced us to Herbie Hancock. He was also very down to earth and gracious. But the room was very small and others (including Willie) were making their way in.

Three Clapton bandmates in one weekend and Clapton is not even on tour. Not bad for Charlotte!

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