Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010
Rebecca Dirks & Chris Kies, Photos by Chris Kies
Premier Guitar braves record-breaking temperatures to take you inside the year’s hottest blues gathering—Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival.
(7 of 7)
Gates open at Toyota Park
Bert Jansch plays the first note of the festival during his clinic at the Ernie Ball Stage.
Stefan Grossman delights early birds with a clinic at the Ernie Ball Stage.
2009 Guitar Center King of the Blues winner Kirby Kelley kicks off the mainstage music by playing over the same backing track he won the contest with.
Eric Clapton makes an early appearance, jamming with emcee Bill Murray on the Buddy Holly classic “Not Fade Away.”
Fingerstylist Pete Huttlinger demonstrates his incredible ability to play the same song in different styles with a variety of right-hand techniques on the Ernie Ball Stage.
Sonny Landreth rocks the main stage with a red Strat and his mind-bending slide work. Three songs into his set, he’s joined by Clapton for a rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land.”
Robert Randolph and the Family Band delivers an energetic set, enlisting Joe Bonamassa’s help on “Further on up the Road” and “Going Down,” which also features Italian guitarist Pino Daniele.
Albert Lee fields questions and wows the crowd with his chicken-pickin’ talents during his clinic on the Ernie Ball Stage.
The Robert Cray Band owns the main stage with Texas blues legend Jimmie Vaughan performing his tribute “Six Strings Down” for his late brother Stevie Ray. Hubert Sumlin joins them to lead the way on the Mississippi Sheiks’ “Sitting on Top of the World” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor.”
Sonny Landreth plugs into his Dumble Overdrive Special to demonstrate his behind-the-slide technique at an Ernie Ball Stage clinic.
The blues take a breather while Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch performs a solo set.
Robert Randolph discusses the role of church in his early playing, as well as six-hour guitar battles with Derek Trucks during his jovial Ernie Ball Stage clinic.
Stefan Grossman takes the main stage for an acoustic set. He ends the set by jamming with Keb’ Mo’, who played a Beltona resonator.
ZZ Top sets the crowd on fire with a hard-rocking set that includes Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” “La Grange,” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”
Ryan McGarvey, winner of the 2010 Play Crossroads Contest (see sidebar, p. 124), earns some new fans with his enthusiastic set.
Doyle Bramhall II and his band throw down bluesy rock ’n’ roll, with Sheryl Crow strapping on a Tele to join them for a version of her hit “Long and Winding Road.” Gary Clark Jr. sits in for the whole set, and Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi also sit in for a few songs, while Clapton and Bramhall close out the set with dueling leads.
Joe Bonamassa weathers the heat for a wellattended acoustic set at the Ernie Ball Stage.
Vince Gill and his band give Crossroads its shot of country. James Burton joins them to take the lead on Elvis’ “Mystery Train,” while Albert Lee and Keb’ Mo’ trade solos during “The Door” and “Soon as I Get Paid.” The set closes with Sheryl Crow lending vocal help on Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally.”
Blues legends Honeyboy Edwards—one of the last living guitarists to play with Robert Johnson— and Hubert Sumlin— Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist starting in 1954—close out the clinics at the Ernie Ball Stage.
Sheryl Crow introduces Citizen Cope as “one of my favorite singer-songwriters.” Cope’s acoustic set includes a rendition of “Sideways” with Crow.
Earl Klugh, the sole jazz representative, helps the crowd transition into the evening headliners with his silky smooth fingerstyle.
Bill Murray comes out dressed as a ’70s-era Elvis to introduce the next act. He dressed as Buddy Holly earlier in the day.
The John Mayer Trio—Steve Jordan on drums and Pino Palladino on bass—tears through a four-song set that includes Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Hendrix’s “Wait Until Tomorrow.” Mayer plugs into his Dumble Steel-String Singer and signature Two-Rock amps, and dons a Fender Custom Shop Hendrix Monterey Pop Festival Strat for the Hendrix tune.
The biggest surprise of the evening is delivered as Ronnie Wood joins Buddy Guy and Jonny Lang for the funnest set of the show, which includes showstoppers like “Forty Days and Forty Nights,” “Five Long Years,” “Let Me Love You Baby,” and the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You.”
The Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band lead a star-studded gathering that stepped up to fill in for the Allman Brothers after Gregg Allman had a sudden liver transplant. Los Lobos’ Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo grab center stage for “300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy,” Warren Haynes takes over for the Allman Brothers Band’s “Soulshine,” Johnny Winter offers a shaky rendition of Hendrix’s “Red House,” and keyboardist Chris Stainton sits in for a cover of Joe Cocker’s “Space Captain.”
Dressed all in white, Jeff Beck drops jaws with a raucous set that includes “Hammerhead,” “Dirty Mind”/”Big Block,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Muddy Water’s “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher.” He finishes with Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.”
Bill Murray dons a psychedelic Hendrix outfit— complete with wig, upside-down Strat, and cigarette—to welcome the man of the show, Eric Clapton, to the main stage.
Clapton greets the crowd with a ripping rendition of “Crossroads,” then delves into a 90-minute set full of hits. It begins with “Key to the Highway” and a collaboration on Citizen Cope’s “Hands of the Saints.” Jeff Beck returns for Elmore James’ “Shake Your Money Maker,” followed by Clapton’s recent touring partner Steve Winwood, who switches between Hammond B-3 organ and guitar on songs like “Had to Cry Today,” “Low Down,” “Glad,” “Well Alright,” “Voodoo Child,” “Cocaine,” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”
The stage crew stocks the main stage with more than 20 amplifiers in preparation for the show’s finale.
The crowd welcomes B.B. King with a thunderous ovation as the blues god gets hugs and hellos from Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, and Robert Cray. King commands the three “young’n guitarists” to get chairs so they can sit alongside him.
King tells dirty jokes, dances, and tells stories, as Clapton, Vaughan, and Cray help guide the set through “Rock Me Baby” and “Key to the Highway,” closing out with “The Thrill is Gone” at 10:55.
Buddy Guy leads the way on vocals for “Sweet Home Chicago” as Clapton, B.B. King, James Burton, Ron Wood, Vince Gill, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Jimmie Vaughan, Susan Tedeschi, Robert Cray, Johnny Winter, Jonny Lang, Hubert Sumlin, Albert Lee, Cesar Rojas, David Hidalgo, Robert Randolph, Gary Clark, and Joe Bonamassa trade licks and smiles to close out the 2010 Crossroads Festival.