Something Else! sneak peek: Eric Clapton – Crossroads Guitar Festival (2013)

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The summer music festival season is rapidly coming to a close, but those not wanting to brave iffy weather should head to select movie theaters on August 13, 2013. Nearly 500 cinemas will showcase Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013, a film chronicling the All-Star Benefit Concert at Madison Square Garden this past April.

Boasting an all-star lineup including the Allman Brothers Band, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, and Vince Gill, the show could be subtitled “All Hail the Guitar.”

Can’t wait until August 13? Here’s a guide to watching Crossroads:

  • Keith Urban is the concert’s secret weapon. Forget American Idol — Urban shows off his considerable guitar skills here, playing tasty leads on a cover of the Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Ain’t It High Time We Went.”

  • No one wants to follow Buddy Guy onstage. At 77, Guy still holds the audience captive with his radiant smile and blues growl. “Damn right I got the blues!” he yells, while young protege Quinn Sullivan illustrates why he has a promising future as a skilled blues guitarist.

  • Vince Gill remains a country legend. He gets the nod from none other than Clapton, who invites him to strum on a rollicking version of “Lay Down Sally.” While he plays a supporting role during this performance, he roars back with a down-home version of “Ain’t It High Time We Went” along with Urban and Albert Lee.

  • The Allman Brothers Band’s harmonies haven’t dimmed one bit. They deliver an energetic rendition of “It’s Not My Cross to Bear,” while Clapton joins them for the Derek and the Dominoes jam “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad.” Not to be outdone, Gregg Allman recruits Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes to accompany him on “Midnight Rider” and an emotional “Needle and the Damage Done” — an appropriate cover, since the concert raises funds for the Crossroads Centre, a drug and alcohol treatment facility in Anitigua.

  • Robert Cray’s voice has changed little since the 1980s. It’s hard to believe that 27 years have passed since Cray’s breakthrough album Strong Persuader. However, his voice has retained its clarity and passion. Backed by the superb Los Lobos, he turns in a blazing version of “I Got to Let You Know.”

  • Eric Clapton may have mellowed, but he’s still the man. While Clapton begins the show with the tender ballad “Tears in Heaven,” he ends it with his Derek and the Dominoes composition “Got to Get Better in a Little While,” letting loose with a typically searing guitar solo. He follows that with the Cream classic “Sunshine of Your Love,” which contains arguably one of the best guitar riffs ever written.

    Overall, Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 may be the next best thing to seeing a concert in person, and seeing top musicians happily collaborating with each other in their mutual love of the guitar is an uplifting experience.

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    For more information on showtimes and to purchase tickets, visit the Crossroads Guitar Festival’s official website.

    Kit O'Toole

    Kit O'Toole

    Kit O'Toole is a lifelong music enthusiast who maintains a stand-alone music blog called Listen to the Band. In addition, she is the internet columnist and a contributing editor for Beatlefan magazine. She also holds an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
    Kit O'Toole
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