Night Two: Saturday, April 13
By Jeff McErlain
Derek Trucks and Sonny Landreth, photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
1. Sonny Landreth and Derek Trucks
Sonny Landreth and Derek Trucks opened up the second night and set the bar for the already promising evening. The two slide virtuosos complemented and pushed each other to one of the evening’s high points. These two are clearly friends and admirers and it was awesome to hear their distinctive voices work together on "Congo Square."
Doyle Bramhall II and John Mayer, photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
2. Doyle Bramhall II and John Mayer
Next out was Clapton sideman, songwriter, and producer Doyle Bramhall II for an acoustic set, kicked off by a Delta-certified version of the Hendrix classic “Hear My Train A Comin’.” John Mayer then joined him for a duet performance on acoustic 12 string of the SRV classic, “Change It,” which was written by Doyle’s father, Doyle Bramhall Sr., who passed away recently.
3. Jimmie Vaughan Band with Lou Ann Barton
Jimmie Vaughan stepped onto the stage with his super-classy band to perform a great set of classic blues. Complete with horns, Jimmie kept it traditional yet completely entertaining. His trademark sharp Stratocaster guitar tone was a great juxtaposition to the smoother sounds of many of the other players. Lou Ann Barton’s tune was fantastic. It was great to hear the duo together live on the heels of a great album.
4. Los Lobos and Susan Tedeschi
Crossroads favorites Los Lobos hit the stage with Susan Tedeschi on backup vocals. David Hildago was playing a vintage Tele while Cesar Rosas sported a red metal flake Gibson 335, both sounded huge. Tedeschi’s vocals were an excellent addition and a great choice—though it highlighted the fact that there were no female guitar players either night. Robert Cray and Eric joined the band to round out the set.
Gregg Allman and Warren Haynes, photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
5. Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, and Gregg Allman
The second night’s Allman Brothers set was a true show stopper. Derek and Warren both donned slides to play “Old Friend,” and it was as deep as it could go—these two have played countless hours together, and it shows. Gregg Allman came out to wild applause and sang a poignant cover of Neil Young’s “Needle and The Damage Done.” Gregg’s voice sounded fantastic. To close out the acoustic set, Gregg strapped on a guitar and broke into a beautiful version of “Midnight Rider” for one of the night’s greatest moments.
6. Vince Gill, Albert Lee, and Keith Urban
First up for the trio of country pickers was a butt-kickin’ version of the Rodney Crowell classic “ I Ain’t Living Long Like This,” and all of these great players shined. Albert Lee sounded particularly amazing on this tune. Urban destroyed it on guitar and vocals on a great cover of the Stones’ “Tumbling Dice”—his solo on that was perfection. They rounded out the set with Dire Straits classic “Setting Me Up.” All three guys are monster players and the high level of musicianship made this set was a standout.
7. Gary Clark Jr.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the now ubiquitous Gary Clark Jr., and he proved that the hype was justified. Steeped in blues, rock, and soul, Clark produced some of the deepest vibe of the evening. I hate to use the Jimi comparison, but I have to say he channeled that energy while maintaining his own voice—quite a feat when playing fuzz-infused blues-rock. His vocals were excellent, and the crowd was on fire. He tore through “When My Train Pulls In” on his Epiphone Casino, switched to a Strat for “Please Come Home,” and ended back on the Casino with “Bright Lights, Big City.”
Jeff Beck, photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
8. Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck ruled the evening from his very first note. Dressed in black and white, he was joined by the fantastic Tal Wilkenfeld on bass, violinist Lizzie Ball, and drummer Jonathan Joseph. First tune was “Mna Na Heireann,” a beautiful Irish melody with fantastic interplay between Beck and Ball. Next up was a killer version of the Mahavishnu classic “You Know, You Know” that solidified that at age 68 Beck is at the top of his game. This was also Tal’s time to shine as she launched into a smoking solo with great playing by Joseph to back her up. The blues kicked in when Beth Hart came out to rock out the classics “I Ain’t Superstitious” and “Going Down.” The general consensus in the room was this was the pinnacle of the show.
9. Buddy Guy Acoustic Set
What needs to be said about living legend Buddy Guy? The man is the blues, one of the archetypes, and a national treasure. Not only is he a master on guitar, his vocals are even better. He never fails to get the audience in the palm of his hand with his humor and musicality. Guy’s set was a total joy to watch and hear. He played with “74 Years Young,” only to remind us he recorded it two years earlier and then changed the lyrics to reflect his true age. Awesome. His version of “I’m in the Mood” had the audience laughing and touched by the depth of this man’s ability. Awesome.
Eric Clapton, photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
10. Eric Clapton
The man behind this whole evening quietly took the stage with his band to close the night. When the lights went up, the crowd went wild. A second later, another light went on to reveal surprise guest Keith Richards and the place went crazy—a great moment. They broke into “Key to The Highway” and Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Rock and Roller” with Keith and Eric trading licks and vocals, writing a new piece of rock and roll history.
Next, Eric brought out Robbie Robertson for “He Don’t Live Here No More’ and “I Shall Be Released.” It was cool to see Robertson back onstage with Clapton. EC continued with “Gin House,” “ Got to Get Better in A Little While,” “Crossroads,” “Little Queen of Spades,” and “Sunshine of Your Love.” Eric sounded great, but seemed to play better when challenged by Doyle. Eric would solo, then Doyle would rip into it, then Eric would bring it up a notch—a fun experience to see and hear.
To close the night Eric brought out 19 of the guitarists in the festival for a grand finale jam session. This was both super-fun and plagued with sound problems, as the sound guys struggled to figure out who to turn up at what time. Kurt Rosenwinkle even had to hand Gary Clark Jr his cable so he could solo! Noticeably missing from the group extravaganza were Jeff Beck and John Mayer.