Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Blues Guitar Great Hubert Sumlin performs during Crossroads
Hubert Sumlin, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton
John Mayer Performing at Crossroads
Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton
If the spirit of Crossroads Guitar Festival was to demonstrate how deeply embedded and appreciated the Blues is in US culture,then it succeeded overwhelmingly.It was a sight to behold --true and pioneering blues men getting their due recognition and earned appreciation by the younger generation.
The most memorable moments for me were during BB King's salute to Eric Clapton,Robert Cray performance with BB,Robert Randolph and the Family Band,Buddy Guy's All Stars,Hubert Sumlin,John Mayer's blistering guitar solo on "I Don't Need No Doctor",as well as his dedication of every note he performed during his set to B.B. King, and Steve Winwood's finale performance with Eric Clapton,Derek Trucks,Steve Jordan and Willie Weeks.A tear streamed down my cheek as the King of the Blues poured his heart out to thousands about how the admiration and gratitude he had for Clapton.
The King of the Blues Salutes Clapton
Paraphrasing B.B. as he toasted Clapton, "I wish to live forever,but I hope you live forever and a day,because I wouldn't want to be here without you." As the king was making his salute,the camera zoomed in on Clapton who gave full deference to B.B.,letting him know he had the floor and that it was alright with him to continue.If any thing ever spoke to the camaraderie and community among blues musicians that did.But even more,it was a testament to how highly regarded Clapton is among his fellow musicians and friends.More importantly,Clapton has been a source of tremendous support in terms of backing and morale in keeping the blues genre alive. That fact was made clear with BB's "toast" of water and endearing platitudes, as hundreds more in the festival audience lifted their bottles of spring water in unison with the gesture. He talked about how Clapton had traveled many miles years ago to participate in the recording of his first CD.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Robert Randolph simply put is a powerhouse performer. He had some kind of groove going with those power blues chords and the fancy guitar licks for which he has become well known.He really perked the audience up and got the spirits high.
Robert Cray and B.B. King
Robert Cray's performance with the B.B. was memorable. The respect there is clear. Cray's back up of the King on the "Thrill is Gone" and his performance of his anti-war song "Twenty" was delivered with his silky smooth vocals and guitar presence.It was a real treat to witness the great Chicago blues man Hubert Sumlin as part of the group.
John Mayer Blues
John Mayer proved his blues guitar chops once again after a rather comedic intro by Festival MC comedian Bill Murray who changed up his outfit more than once to blend with the ambiance,tone and mood to be set by each artist.John's set included Waiting On the World To Change,Belief.Vultures,I Don't Need No Doctor and Gravity.When one audience member yelled out to the ever responsive Mayer "Play Some Blues" after his performance of Vultures,Mayer replied, "I thought that was what I was doing. But,I understand what you mean.
He then went into what he described as his rendition of the Ray Charles song "I Don't Need No Doctor". His guitar solo on that one had to be one of the most amazing things I had ever seen in terms of pure speed and intensity of delivery.I believe he was playing that custom white guitar that was especially made for him at the fender Custom Shop.There was a Honeyee blog especially dedicated to it,I believe. After the Ray charles cover,he went into the song which he described as really fitting the spirit of the Crossroads Festival,his unmistakably bluesy "Gravity". It was breathless.Absolutely no question about his blues acumen by the uninitiated after that performance.Mayer made sure to give his heroes their due by stating in between songs that he was happy to be among the blues artists there and beginning to like being the new one. From all accounts and observations they have made him feel right at home.
Eric Clapton,Steve Winwood,Derek Trucks,Steve Jordan and Willie Weeks
The finale which included a magnificent set of Steve Winwood "Traffic" era songs like "Please Mr. Fantasy","Can't Find My Way Back Home" and others was just mesmerizing. I was a big fan of Steve winwood and Traffic back during my college days and his performance at the Crossroads Festival reminded me why.Winwood demonstrated that he is quite the all around musician as he negotiated his way between the organ and his guitar.It was very impressive,giving the presentation of a well oiled machine. In fact,he came across as quite the seasoned and polished guitar player that was famous for during the late 60's and early 70's. I enjoyed the performance tremendously.
Steve Jordan on drums,Derek Truck,Willie Weeks on guitar...it was a great band.Trucks who I was hearing for the first time,is really a very skilled guitarist.I expect to hear great things about him in the days to come.His performance with Susan Tedeschi was rock solid.
Finally,I was happy that Clapton performed George Harrison's "Isn't it A Pity". "I've Learned to Live In the Presence of the Lord"...nice touch as were several others. I could go on and on...My only regret is that I was not there in person to hang out with some of those legends. Amazing.
Maybe next time...
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
John Mayer and Eric Clapton Performing "Crossroads" on GMA for Upcoming "Crossroads Antigua Benefit"
Mayer and Clapton together what a rare treat! I've been a fan of Clapton since his "Cream"/"Blind Faith" days. And,John, of course,I've been a fan of his since the early days.While some might consider him a relative newcomer, he has made some impressive inroads into the "community of music icons" which he now frequents,and is looking very much like a prospective member himself. It was an enjoyable performance and I wanted to share with fellow fans some raw and unrehearsed audience appreciation from the angle of my video camera.
By the way,while perusing You Tube related videos I came across the CNN video link to John Mayer and Eric Clapton's performance of an acoustic version of Clapton's song "Brokenhearted" from the Pilgrim CD. You can also find it on Eric Clapton's fan magazine "Where's Eric?"It was one of the earliest efforts in support of Katrina Relief and performed on the CNN Hurricane Katrina Benefit September 3,2005 to shed light on the plight of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The guitar Clapton played in this 2005 television performance was autographed by both he and John Mayer and donated to the Wynton Marsalis Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Benefit which took place at the Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center September 17, 2005 0f that year.
For more information about the Crossroads Guitar Festival Benefit Concert read the blog links below:
www.heavieroctaves.org: Photo Story-John Mayer Performing "Crossroads" With Eric Clapton Today 7-20-07 on GMA Concert Series in Bryant Park,NYC
www.heavieroctaves.org: Saturday,July 28,2007-Crossroads Guitar Festival to Benefit Crossroads Antigua/John Mayer and Eric Clapton on GMA Fri July 20
Please enjoy the video. Oh, how I love New York (smile)...
Monday, July 23, 2007
Bonnie Raitt's Green Highway Project in Parnership With Reverb(More...)
Non-profit environmental group Reverb is on tour with two major summer tours to reduce the environmental "footprint" created while educating, inspiring, and activating concertgoers who are invited to visit the interactive Eco-Villages set up at the venues each day. John Mayer's CONTINUUM Summer Tour w/special guest Ben Folds, as well as The Fray Summer Tour w/special guests Gomez and Eisley, recruited Reverb when they hit the road in early June. Reverb, founded by environmentalist Lauren Sullivan and her musician husband, Guster guitar/vocalist Adam Gardner, is an organization that knows first hand the environmental impact of a major touring endeavor(More...)
Cynthia D. Wilson Speaks and Writes:Green Highway (Mayer and Raitt: Raising Another Kind of Green Consciousness)
Friday, July 20, 2007
Photo Story-John Mayer Performing "Crossroads" With Eric Clapton Today 7-20-07 on GMA Concert Series in Bryant Park,NYC
Photos - Cynthia Wilson
I was there along with hundreds more, as blues/rock icon Eric Clapton joined John Mayer on stage today as his special guest at Bryant Park for a performance of the bluesy version of the song "Crossroads" made famous by Clapton when he was with rock band, Cream. It is also the namesake of a chemical dependence and alcohol treatment clinic Clapton founded in 1997 located on the island of Antigua-"Crossroads Antigua." They both "strummed electric" on Clapton's signature Stratocaster designed especially for the festival and to raise money for the "Crossroads Antigua" treatment center. The related benefit concert, the Crossroads Guitar Festival takes place in Chicago's Toyota Park next Saturday, July 28,2007.
Since its inception, Clapton's vision for the Crossroads Guitar Festival has been to create an event where his friends and contemporaries can have fun and jam together for the benefit of a good cause.
A host of blues and rock greats will be gracing the stage during the concert event including:
Doyle Bramhall II
Alison Krauss and Union Station
For Crossroads Guitar Festival information please call (214)-670-8400. To make a donation to the Crossroads Centre at Antigua please call 1-888-725-2420.For more detailed information,click here.
Saturday,July 28,2007-Crossroads Guitar Festival to Benefit Crossroads Antigua/John Mayer and Eric Clapton on GMA Fri July 20
Eric Clapton will appear on the U.S. Television Show, "Good Morning America" on Friday, 20 July. The show airs on ABC-TV affiliates across the country, but originates live from New York City 7A-9A EST. Eric will be the special guest of John Mayer, who is performing in the show's summer concert series. The appearance is in support of their upcoming appearance at Eric's Crossroads Guitar Festival, which takes place in Chicago on 28 July.
Credited throughout his career with creating super sounds in super groups, the ultimate Eric Clapton collaboration will take place July 28, 2007 when he gathers the past, present and future of guitar music onto one stage for an incredible full day musical event. The second Crossroads Guitar Festival, scheduled for July 28, 2007 at Toyota Park in Chicago, will be a cornerstone of this year’s summer music festival season. Profits from the Festival will benefit The Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a treatment and education facility founded by Eric Clapton for chemically dependent persons.
More about Crossroads Antigua
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Live Earth Finale:John Mayer and Kanye West Join the Police on Stage Sending Out An SOS to the World...
Live Earth Stage Banner
Sting,Kanye West,John Mayer and other members of Police, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland on 7.7.07-Giants Stadium Finale-Click here for video of performance
In what could truly be described as an historical event within an historical event, just as a picture within a picture on your video screen,that was what it was for this writer witnessing the live performance of The Police,John Mayer and Kanye West,all together on one stage.
The very last song performed on the Live Earth concert stage last night was the Police's "Message in A Bottle",which John Mayer covered with poignant acoustic sensitivity on his 2003 "Any Given Thursday" live double album release.As fortune would have it,he joined The Police in the once in a lifetime performance of it last night with Kanye West seizing the moment, roaring in on cue with his energetic rapping and body gyrations urging "we can save, change the world". It was a jam session made in heaven.
For many fans and concert attendees alike ,it was an emotionally charged and moving moment,having to both consider the message and its incredible source. Seeing all that talent and history joining together to answer the call for healing and protection of our planet through progressive conservation and environmental efforts was magical. I'm sure it must have been for Mayer who has long regarded The Police as childhood musical heroes, often referencing them in his song '83 and having made a popular cover of their song "Message in A Bottle."
John Mayer on vocals and guitar, Kanye West rapping it up,while pumping up the volume and the Police in full retrospective glory, made an impactful picture perfect ending to a breathtaking global concert line up. Did I use enough superlatives?
It was an awesome night all around,with live concert footage being zoomed in via satellite from other global venues such as London,Rio,Johannesburg,Tokyo and Sydney during breaks in live performances on the Giants stage.
The Police-Mayer-West ending made it a particularly awesome night at Giants Stadium. I hope you didn't miss it.
If you did by some chance, click here or below the photo above for the video,which did a good job of recapturing the moments.
Photo Source-John Mayer performing set with his band at Giants earlier in afternoon.
More Video and Photo Links:
More Live Earth Photos at MSN
Rolling Stone Magazine Gallery
Access Hollywood-Article,Photos and Video w/ Interviews of Mayer,Dave Matthews,etc.
John Mayer-MSN Gallery
Al Gore ON Yahoo-Photo Gallery of Performers and other Guests
Friday, July 06, 2007
The concert event of the year is still set,ready to go and shift into high gear as the finishing touches are applied. The link to the above newspaper article provides some very thoughtful quotes from event organizer and former Vice President Al Gore as well as some of the participating artists.Gore recalls Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement that really had an impact upon him.
JohnMayer who will be performing "Waiting on the World to Change",states it will be a nice afternoon to see the song take on a different meaning. Melissa Etheridge who wrote "I Need to Wake Up", the Academy Award winning song penned for Gore's An Inconvenient Truth,will be singing "Imagine That" and "What About Tomorrow".Madonna has written a song with Pharrell called, "Hey You".The Black Eyed Peas song will be "Change the World".It's looking like a good day for a live concert and the premiere of new material. Madonna's song "Hey You" is currently available for download with all proceeds going to Gore's alliance.My question: will there be a compilation disc that includes all songs performed available for download and purchase?
All artists are donating their time and funds raised will go to Gore's Alliance.
Week In Review-Radio Program Update-PSA's
Just click on the (More...) link under the above picture of the microphone or the headline link for the latest updates in the world of creative social and humanitarian action. For PSA's only,click here or on the headline link above.
Today's update includes news on Live Earth:Concerts for a Climate in Crisis, John Mayer's Live Earth Blog and New York Coalition to Save Darfur Event in Central Park.
Stay tuned to the Heavier Octaves weblog and related broadcasts for breaking news reports and timely observations on issues that matter to you.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
SaveDarfur.org has a post called "Save Darfur Coalition Public Service Announcements" that's worth checking out...
It's been more than four years since the violence began in Darfur. Over 400,000 innocent men, women and children have been killed and…