Saturday, April 13, 2013

Crossroads Guitar Festival Night 1 - Madison Square Garden 4/12/13

I wasn't going to go.  These big "event" shows always end up being a let down.  Take the Hall Of Fame Concerts a couple of years back...some pretty good performances and some yawns.  Against my better judgment I went ahead and bought an extra pair a co-worker had.  I caved. 
Not knowing who would play the first night was a little annoying but with a sense of anticipation the wife and I headed in to NYC to the World's Most Famous Arena (Rangers fan here) via the ever scuzzy LIRR.  This is my first trip after round 2 of renovations and I am less than excited by what I have seen.  Longer rows and more cramped seats.
The night started out promptly at 7:30 with the promised acoustic set from EC.  Nice mellow vibe and a few songs my wife knew and liked.  Some nice performances with Andy Fairwether-Low and Vince Gill made for a great start.  I was enthused.
Next up was Booker T.  A great set with guests Steve Cropper, Matt "Guitar " Murphy, Keb Mo and Alvin Lee.  Born Under A Bad Sign was pretty freakin' hot.
Robert Cray was up next and his set included the 86 years young King of the Blues Mr. B.B. King.  There couldn't have been a better pairing with Cray's tasteful, clean leads the perfect counter to Lucille's tone.  Clapton and Jimmy Vaughn joined them for a sit down, but not dull, version of Everyday I Have The Blues.  Good stuff folks...
I missed the beginning of Doyle Bramhall's set but got back to my seat in time to see some smokin' leads from both Doyle and guest Gary Clark Jr.  I am not a fan of Bramhall's style but his playing speaks for itself.
We got some jazz with a short set from Earl Klugh and then Kurt Rosenwinkle (new to me) with guest turns from Allan Holdsworth and Clapton.  Not my thing and a big energy killer for most of the MSG crowd.
Huge response for John Mayer.  Yawns from me.  I just don't get the appeal.  The Trio album was pretty good, but the rest leaves me bored.  Keith Urban closed the set with Mayer dueting on the Beatles Don't Let Me Down.  Ugh.
The King of Chicago Blues and the Baddest Mother Fucker in the World...Buddy Guy.  Great set with 14 year old prodigy Quinn Sullivan and pedal steel badass Robert Randolph.  Energy back.  Volume up.   Things are improving big time.

The headliner for night1 was The Allman Brothers Band.  I was pretty worried about Gregg's health after seeing them at the beach this past summer but those fears are in the past.  He sounded great and the band was smokin' hot.  After the opener DWYNK>Ain't My Cross To Bear.  The band brought out Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo from Los Lobos and Taj Mahal for Stateboro Blues.  Uh, more please.  Every time I see the guys from Los Lobos play with the Brothers or Gov't Mule I am blown away.  After a really jammy Black Hearted Woman Clapton came out for Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad.  The leads fired off between Derek Trucks and EC made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  Just amazing. 

And then he walks off????  I was at the Beacon the second night he jammed with the Brothers a couple of years back and I expected more...that is I expected more songs!  A killer Whipping Post followed and the show was over

So the night ended up how I expected.  Some highlights, a few truly memorable performances and some let-downs.  As I said to my wife I am going to stick to the Brothers and Gov't Mule at the Beacon...they do the guest spot thing so much better.
Here's the set list as posted on
Eric Clapton

1. Driftin' (with Steve Jordan & Willie Weeks)
2. Spider Jiving (with above & Andy Fairweather Low lead vocal, Doyle Bramhall II & Greg Leisz)
3. Tears in Heaven (with above and Chris Stainton)
4. Lay Down Sally (with above and Vince Gill)
5. Wonderful Tonight

Booker T, Steve Cropper, Blake Mills, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Keb Mo

1. Time is Tight
2. Hip Hug Her
3.Sleep Walk
4. Born Under a Bad Sign (with Keb Mo)
5. Green Onions (with Keb Mo)

Robert Cray, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughn, Eric Clapton

1. Side Dish
2. Great Big Old House
3. Let the Good Times Roll (with B.B. King)
4. Sweet Sixteen (with B.B. King)
5. Everyday I Have the Blues (with B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughn & Eric Clapton

Sonny Landreth


Doyle Bramhall II, Citizen Cope, Gary Clark Jr.

1. Green Light Girl
2. Cry
3. Bullet and a Target (with Citizen Cope)
4. Son's Gonna Rise (with Citizen Cope and Gary Clark Jr.)
5. She's Alright (with Gary Clark Jr.)

Philip Sayce

1. Steamroller

Earl Kugh, Al Turner

2. This Time

Kurt Rosenwinkle, Alan Holdsworth, Eric Clapton

2. (with Alan Holdsworth)
3. If I Should Lose You (with Eric Clapton)
4. Way Down that Lonesome Road (with Eric Clapton)

Gary Clark Jr.

1. Next Door Neighbor Blues
2. Don't Owe You a Thing

John Mayer, Keith Urban

1. Who Says
2. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
3. Queen of California
4. Don't Let Me Down (with Keith Urban)

Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Quinn Sullivan

1. Damn Right I've Got the Blues
2. Let the Door Knob Hit Ya
3. Slippin in
4. Outro music

Dan Akroyd, Keb Mo

1. Louisiana Blues>Got My Mojo Working

The Allman Brothers Band, Taj Mahal, Cesar Rosas, David Hidalgo, Eric Clapton

1. Don't Want You No More
2. It's Not My Cross to Bear
3. Statesboro Blues (with Taj Mahal, Cesar Rosas & David Hidalgo)
4. Black Hearted Woman
5. Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad? (with Eric Clapton)
6. Whipping Post
The pictures are from the Crossroads Facebook page.