Has Steve Wiley Seen Eric Clapton Perform For The Last Time?
I've been an Eric Clapton fan since I was 12. He kicked off his 2014 US tour Sunday at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. I was in attendance, accompanied by two longtime friends with whom I've attended Clapton concerts before. "Slowhand" concerts are a VERY special experience for me. I've had the opportunity to share them with some people very special to me, both of my children, my brother, two past girlfriends, and my buddies with whom I hung on Sunday. This may have been our last one. Eric announced last year, at age 68, he would retire from touring when he turns 70. He performed at the New Orleans Arena on March 23rd last year. Thinking it would probably be my last, I pulled out all the stops. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, and was buying drinks for strangers in the hotel bar.
Sunday's experience was considerably less extravagant, but probably more memorable, a day long event, shared with old friends. The music began late morning with Fredy Omar Con Su Banda, a latin band that warmed the crowd up nicely. They were followed by the North Mississippi Allstars, Irma Thomas, Tab Benoit (with whom I've had the pleasure of working at Downtown Alive), and EC. March 30th was Eric's 69th birthday. Two of my birthdays were celebrated at Eric Clapton concerts. If I never attend another, I have some awesome memories.