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Was This Steve Wiley’s Last Eric Clapton Concert?

Eric Clapton
Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Saturday night I attended an Eric Clapton concert at the New Orleans Arena. It will probably be my last one. Was I disappointed? Have I gotten bored with his music? NO! I’ve been a fan since junior high, and he remains my all-time favorite.

This was my 9th Eric Clapton concert. I’ve seen him perform in New York, Denver, Buffalo, twice in Houston, and 4 times in New Orleans. These were spread out over a span of 39 years, and each show was very different from the others. The first was actually a disappointment. He was very late coming onstage, and (in his own words) “F%@king drunk.” My friends & I had driven 5 hours to get there.

I next saw Eric perform on his 25th anniversary tour in a beautiful amphitheater outside Denver. He’d been to rehab and was on his game! The opening act was Buckwheat Zydeco! The 2nd of 4 New Orleans shows was just a couple weeks after my father passed away. “My Father’s Eyes” took on a new meaning. Dad had left some money to my siblings and me. My brother Jim & I used a portion of our shares to meet up in New York on my birthday a few weeks later and see Eric at Madison Square Garden. The day after the show, we were watching a Yankee game in a bar near the hotel. The owner’s wife was from New Orleans. We told them I was visiting from Lafayette, La. A lengthy conversation about Yankee legend Ron Guidry ensued.

I took my daughter Stephanie to see Eric in N.O. for her 18th birthday. My son Mike accompanied me 3 years ago. I attended this latest concert alone. Somehow that now seems fitting.

Eric will be 68 on Saturday (March 30th) He’s announced he intends to stop touring when he’s 70.  If this was to be my last opportunity to see him perform, I’m left with some very fond memories.


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