“Live From Madison Square Garden” by Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood

Artist: Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood
Title: “Live From Madison Square Garden”
Label: Warner Music Group
Release Date: 5/19/2009
Genre: Rock
Rating: 4.5/5

Recorded over the course of a three night stint at New York’s Madison Square Garden comes “Eric Clapton – Steve Winwood”, and when it comes down to it, this is probably the closest thing that their fan base shall get to a Blind Faith reunion – at least for the time being. Blind Faith was another one of those early Rock super groups when such a term actually meant something a little more and found members of Cream partnered up with that of the same from bands like Traffic and Family and together they recorded one self titled album and stayed together for far too little a time. This recording is a celebration of the music that Clapton & Winwood made together with Ginger Baker and Rick Grech and to make it all the more interesting it also celebrates the prolific bodies of work that each of them delivered after the band broke up. Resultant of this fact we get a nice mixture of songs from the Clapton catalog along with the same from that of Winwood and believe me a number of the choices for the set list will surprise you.

From the Blind Faith CD we get about five numbers of theirs and I was using the deluxe version to compare the tracks and for me, I had to say that “Presence Of The Lord” and “Can’t Find My Way Home” were my very favorite from this part of the recording. From the rest of the release I had to say that the crowd pleasing “Cocaine” and “After Midnight” along with the long jam out version of Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” were among the ones that I kept playing after the release had run its course. The sound quality of this live recording is top notch and there is a companion DVD of portions of the three shows available as well which I plan on looking into soon. I had to say that when I compared this recording again the reunited Cream shows of a couple of years ago, I felt that Clapton was playing better here than he did on those. He was looser and more fluid and reminded me why he is considered one of the guitar greats in music history. Vocals are shared across the board by Winwood and Clapton and each of them sounds really good and does not disappoint by finding them reaching for notes that are no longer accessible. Crystal clear production all around and something that you will want in your music collection.

There is a small booklet inside but it offers only a couple of photographs and the song listing. There is no insight to the Blind Faith history or the reunion shows which I felt would have been a nice touch and offered the listener some cool information about their mutual histories and how they intertwined. Are there some songs that I would have liked to hear missing, well yes, but that is because I am looking at the repertoire of two musicians with an incredible body of work and there is no way that a release like this could ever serve the need of every listener. However, the playing and song list will still please more than it will not and it can easily be listened to from beginning to end and make you wish that you had been at the show yourself. Given the release of the CD and the DVD on their own makes me wonder why this was just not packaged together and this would have been a better idea. I guess there is still a view that people will either choose one or the other or both but in these economic times its better to give the customers more for their money, especially when physical music is not as dominant as it once was.

Track Listing:
1. Had To Cry Today
2. Low Down
3. Them Changes
4. Forever Man
5. Sleeping In The Ground
6. Presence Of The Lord
7. Glad
8. Well All Right
9. Double Trouble
10. Pearly Queen
11. Tell The Truth
12. No Face, No Name, No Number
13. After Midnight
14. Split Decision
15. Rambling On My Mind
16. Georgia On My Mind
17. Little Wing
18. Voodoo Chile
19. Can’t Find My Way Home
20. Dear Mr. Fantasy
21. Cocaine

Official Website: http://www.ericclapton.com
Official Website: http://www.stevewinwood.com

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