Clapton and Winwood Share Blind Faith
Last night, Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton reunited for the first of three performances at New Yorks Madison Square Garden. The old friends anchored Blind Faith, one of rocks original supergroups, in the late-1960s, and performed together sporadically until 1982. After a 25-year break, the pair reunited twice in 2007, including a marquee set at Claptons Crossroads festival. In lieu of recreating the big bands that characterize their solo tours, Clapton and Winwood fronted a slim quintet, also featuring Chris Stainton (keyboards), Willie Weeks (bass) and Ian Thomas (drums).
The group opened with a free version of Had To Cry Today, the first track off Blind Faiths lone studio album, and proceeded to run through a 140 minute, 20-song set that mixed classics from both players careers. Winwood divided his time between guitar, organ and grand piano, fronting the band for on-point versions of Blind Faiths Can’t Find My Way Home and his own Dear Mr Fantasy, which closed the groups set. In addition to his lone composition on Blind Faiths album (Presence of the Lord), Clapton also offered cuts from his own canon, including his trademark cover of J.J. Cales After Midnight and Robert Johnsons Crossroads, a staple from his time with Cream. Clapton and Winwood also nodded to Jimi Hendrix a handful of times, running through both Little Wing and Voodoo Child, as well as Buddy Miles Them Changes. Other standout numbers included an extended take on Traffics Pearly Queen and solo versions of Robert Johnsons Ramblin On My Mind and Ray Charles Georgia On My Mind by Clapton and Winwood, respectively. The group was also scheduled to perform Claptons Cocaine, but axed the number after realizing their show was running long. Clapton and Winwood will return to MSG this evening for another performance. Last night, Clapton also hinted that the group might well bring its show to other markets in the near future.