Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Winwood, Clapton and North Korea

This week Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton are playing three concerts at Madison Square Gardens, New York. Two of them have now taken place and there is poor-quality footage of them all over Youtube. Try this snippet of the Clapton song Forever Man.

The Convictor attended the second gig last night and reviews it song by song. He also writes:
The warmth and respect between the two musical virtuosos was evident from the very first note of their blues-heavy set. Winwood hasn't had a hit in years, and Clapton is probably more of an oldies act these days. Nevertheless, the two men showed that their ability to tear through a crowd-pleasing set of blues rock classics is undiminished.
And they do go back a remarkably long way. Alan Clayson's biography of Winwood has a photograph of the pair of them on stage together with Sonny Boy Williamson at a concert at Birmingham Town Hall on 28 February 1964. Which means that Clapton was 18 and Winwood only 15.

In New York the concerts are being advertised as "Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton", which may sound strange here in Britain where Clapton is God. But the balance of esteem was once that way round over here too.

The Fender Players Club quotes Clapton's introduction to Tom Wheeler's book The Stratocaster Chronicles. In it, he writes of hesitancy over playing with a Strat himself:
Hank Marvin was the first well known person over here in England who was using one, but that wasn't really my kind of music. Steve Winwood had so much credibility, and when he started playing one, I thought, oh, if he can do it, I can do it.
And remember that Winwood was three years Clapton's junior.

And North Korea?

The BBC reports that Clapton has been invited to play there following the New York Philharmonic's landmark concert in Pyongyang.

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