Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival

Clapton and Winwood

It’s all but impossible not to drool over Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival going down this weekend in Chicago. Raise a glass to Clapton for putting together this unparalleled gathering of the world’s greatest guitarists! This will be the third Crossroads Festival Clapton has produced.

“The Crossroads Festival is the realization of a dream for me, to gather a group of amazingly talented musicians to perform on one stage,” Clapton said in a statement. “The Crossroads performers are all musicians I admire and respect.”

As do I! And tickets are only 100 bucks! 100 BUCKS! For all of this music, for all of these guitar legends! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights in the lineup in order of their appearance–

Sonny Landreth
The bayou slide man Landreth opens the show and will definitely kick things off right with his amazing slide maneuvers.

Robert Randolph with Joe Bonamassa and Pino Daniele
Randolph the pedal steel wizard is combined with young guitar god Bonamassa, the winner of the 2009 Breakthrough Artist of the Year from UK’s prestigious Classic Rock and Roll Honour Award. Also lending a hand on guitar is Pino Daniele, an Italian vocalist, composer, and musician.

Robert Cray with Jimmie Vaughan and Hubert Sumlin
Cray offers up his smooth blues with the help of Texas guitar slinger Jimmie Vaughan. Also on the stage will be Hubert Sumlin, a blues man who has played with James Cotton and Howlin Wolf, to name a few. A nice mix of old blues sounds.

ZZ Top
That little old band from Texas is still kickin’, knocking out the hits and lighting up the stage as they take a break from their opening slot on the Tom Petty tour to mix it up with Clapton and friends. A lot of these players were influenced by Top’s blues rock sound. This is one of rock’s greatest power trios and my favorite guitarist of all time, Billy Gibbons!

Doyle Bramhall II with Guy Clark and Sheryl Crow
Probably the most interesting pairing of the event. First you have Doyle Bramhall II, son of Doyle Bramhall, drummer for none other than Lightning Hopkins and Stevie Ray Vaughn. He combines his solid high energy blues playing with legendary songwriter Guy Clark. Clark has been making music since the early sixties and brings with him a deep cannon of hits. Throw Sheryl Crow in the mix, one of rock’s best female guitarists, and you have quite a trio.

John Mayer
Young Mayer can play a mean guitar. Forget about all the crazy press he gets and some of the nutty things he says from time to time. Just check out The John Mayer Trio’s 2005 release Try and tell me this guy doesn’t burn.

Buddy Guy with Jonny Lang
Okay, here we go, the master Buddy Guy and the young understudy Jonny Lang! There are sure to be fireworks here. Guy loves to perform and always seems to ratchet up his game when he’s playing with other blues greats. The blues does not get any better than this!

Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi Band, Warren Haynes, Sheryl Crow, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, and Johnny Winter
Due to Gregg Allman’s liver transplant, the Allman brothers had to pull out of this time slot. Taking their place is a gathering of talent that I would easily, gladly, and without a moment’s hesitation pay a hundred bucks to see. Unbelievable slide guitars on this stage. Probably the world’s greatest slide players right here–Trucks, Haynes, Tedeschi, Hidalgo, and the man himself, Johnny Winter! And the show’s not even over when they finish. In fact, the next three acts to hit the stage are rock royalty.

Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck just turned 66 the other day and in no way is this guy slowing down. Did my best to get tickets when he played in town but after he sold out a local venue, the prices for a ticket went through the roof. I get it – there is no one out there that does what Jeff Beck does to guitar strings.

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood
Clapton and Winwood have been touring the last few months, so this set should be tight and strong. Clapton just keeps getting better and should be in good spirits surrounded by this amazing line up of players he has assembled.

BB King with the Robert Cray Band
Clapton, in homage to one of his idols, lets the greatest living blues man close the show. Just having BB there is a great way to end a day of unbelievable players.

Next year, baby, next year!

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