It once appeared as if guitarist Eric Clapton would never stay in one place for long. Like an accomplished character actor not content to play a singular role. Clapton spent much of the '60s and early '70s assuming different musical (and often physical) identities while he explored various rock contexts.
Since then, however, Clapton has grown settled in his ways, and last night's concert at the Capital Centre reflected that change.
With but a few exceptions ("Badge" and "crossroads") the guitarist displayed his new sound penchant for loping ballads and show shuffles. Against the backdrop of Carl Radle's pulsing bass line, Clapton literally spelled out the melodies to "Lay Down Sally." "Wonderful Tonite," and "Watch Out For Lucy" with deliberate, almost mechanical, phrasing.
While Clapton managed to breath more life into "Layla" and "Cocaine," his performance was marred in general by the same lethargy that has characterized many of his recent recordings.
Muddy Waters, who opened the show, is deserving of a more appreciative audience and a more intimate setting. A seminal Chicago blues man, Muddy's resonant voice and stinging slide guitar were largely ignored by a swarm of inattentive stragglers in search of a better seat.