Saturday, October 21, 2006

Clapton: A class act

My son Michael and I just got back from the Eric Clapton concert at the T. D. Waterhouse Center in Orlando. Wow, it was definitely one of the best concerts I've ever been to. Clapton & friends played songs highlighting most of his musical phases, especially his Derek & the Dominos phase ("Layla," "Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out," etc.).

I was happy that he ended the concert with "Crossroads" from his Cream years (1966-68). He also did a great acoustic set featuring a blues number and a couple of other standards.

As good as Clapton was - and he was magnificent - the real highlight for me tonight was Derek Trucks, who was one of two lead guitarists backing up Clapton. You've probably never heard of Derek Trucks, but he's a phenomenal guitar player. His signature is his slide guitar playing. Clapton let Derek shine a lot tonight, which speaks well of Clapton's concert philosophy. He isn't a showboat.

Another highlight was the Robert Cray Band, the night's opening act. I'd never heard of them but they're awesome. Cray sings and plays a great guitar himself. In fact, he came out with Clapton on a few numbers and stole the spotlight with his blues solos.

As I watched Clapton performing, this thought struck me: Here's a guy who is 61 years old, doing what he enjoys, doing it day after day, and doing it with all his might. He's a good example of "doing one thing well."

He's been playing rock 'n' roll since he was 17. Most of those years have been filled with pain. For example, he was raised by his grandmother and her second husband. He thought they were his parents and that his mother was his older sister. He grew up not knowing who his father was. He was kicked out of art school. Later he developed addictions to heroin and alcohol. Several of his closest friends died tragically. Worst of all, in 1991 Clapton's 4-year old son Conor died when he fell out the window of his mother's 53rd-story Manhattan apartment building.

I learn a lot from Clapton's story. Especially about persevering through trial, and doing what I enjoy as long as I possibly can, for the glory of God. I recall one of Jonathan Edwards' resolutions:
"Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live."

In 1998 Clapton wrote a song about his father, who died in 1985 never having met his famous son. The song is called "My Father's Eyes." In the song Clapton says, "How did I get here? When will all my hopes arrive? When I look in my father's eyes." I hope that one day soon Eric Clapton will meet THE Father, and find all his hopes fulfilled in Christ.

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