Eric Clapton Joins the Allman Brothers for ‘Layla’ and Other Assorted Love Songs
Eric Clapton joined the Allman Brothers Band for an extended portion of its second set last night, marking his first appearance with the blues-rock legends after four decades of collaborations with its members. His long rumored appearance has been the source of considerable fan speculation since the group announced that its annual Beacon residency would double as an extended tribute to founding guitarist Duane Allman. In the early 1970s, Duane Allman appeared on Claptons classic Derek & the Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and later clocked in two shows with the famed band. Oddly enough, though Dickey Betts sat in with Slowhand on at least one occasion in the 1970s and Derek Trucks toured with the guitarist in 2006 and 2007, Clapton has never performed with the Allman Brothers Band. The three-week run has already seen guest spots from Duane Allman associates John Hammond, Bonnie Bramlett, Johnny Winter and the members of Cowboy.
For the third time this month, the Allman Brothers opened its set with the ditty Little Martha, a rarely played track from Eat a Peach credited to Duane Allman. The band then launched into a ferocious first set that featured incredibly high energy versions of Statesboro Blues, Done Somebody Wrong, Revival, Woman Across the River and Dont Keep Me Wonderin. The Allman Brothers Bands only guest-free set then came to a close with a playful version of the chestnut Whipping Post.
As a rare treat, Gregg Allman opened his second set with a solo piano take on his Oncoming Traffic. The keyboardist recorded a live version of the song with his solo band in the 1970s and revived the number at the Beacon in 2005 and again earlier this week as a duet with Bramlett. The rest of the Brothers then emerged for Come and Go Blues and Good Morning Little School Girl, the latter of which featured Govt Mule keyboardist Danny Louis on piano. While a considerable number of fans rushed the floor, Allman introduced Eric Clapton as a real great player and a real wonderful person and the guitarist took the stage for the Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs number Key to Highway. Clapton proceeded to trade solos with Trucks and Warren Haynes on the Allman Brothers Band jam Dreams and another Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs classic, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad. The latter song has been a staple in the Allman Brothers Bands repertoire for years. In certain ways, the groups second set climaxed with a mammoth cover of Jimi Hendrixs Little Wing that featured a three-way guitar duel between Clapton, Haynes and Trucks. The song, which is also appears on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, was a frequent highlight on Claptons world tour with Trucks.
Susan Tedeschi then took the stage with the expanded ensemble for yet another Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs number frequently covered by the Allman Brothers Band, Anyday. Unbeknownst to most, Clapton actually plays slide on the recorded version of the cut, while Allman is credited as the songs rhythm guitarist. The band then left the stage for a quick encore break, but returned with both Clapton and Louis for a version of anthem Layla that left the entire audience off its feet. In total, the Allman Brothers Band ran through six of Duane Allmans eleven contributions to Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
The Allman Brothers Band will return to the Beacon tonight, with Clapton rumored to be on hand once again.