Eric Clapton brings Hyde Park to tears with his weeping guitar at British Summer Time

Day Three at British Summer Time Hyde Park was very emotional. The weather was super hot and the music even hotter. Blame the heat but the great mature audience was emotional and I was not the only one crying at Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven dedicated to his son who passed away in a tragic accident when he was only 4. Clapton delivered a timeless performance with his inimitable weeping guitar sound and brought a perfect close to a sold-out first week at Hyde Park. 

ERIC CLAPTON – Royal Albert Hall London UK – 25 May 2017. Photo credit: George Chin

The legendary rock and blues guitarist and singer-songwriter from Surrey walked on the Great Oak Stage for his first Hyde Park performance in 10 years and uttered the three words that has been reverberating through England in the past week: “It’s coming home”. Knowing that England is in the semi final of the Football World Cup made this gig even more touching. 

ERIC CLAPTON – Royal Albert Hall London UK – 25 May 2017. Photo credit: George Chin

Plenty of Clapton fans through the generations turned up sporting tour T-shirts from his various career-spanning shows. The three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee wasted no time, launching with Somebody’s Knocking complete with full-bodied guitar solos that he is famed for before hitting a hearty rendition of the blues classic I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man

Where the acoustic section of the set, with Clapton seated to deliver his biggest hits ‘Layla’ and ‘Tears in Heaven’, remains a clear focus point – it is Got To Get Better In A Little While and the Cream hit ‘Crossroads’ that the singer shows us his fighting-best vocals.

In Lay Down Sally and The Core from 1977’s Slowhand – one of Clapton’s most critically successful albums – he brought out Marcy Levy (Shakespeare’s Sister) who co-wrote the songs with him. For the grand encore, Clapton brought out Carlos Santana for ‘High Time We Went’ with Paul Carrack on vocals. That performance was truly incredible! 

BST is a great festival where you can hook up with the best mates: Here I am with Dad Nick & his 6 year old daughter Bex from website Kidzcoolit and my one and only assistant and contributor Rosalba Costantini

Carlos Santana’s gig was right before Clapton. He made it impossible for the crowd to stand still with his rhythmic, musically sumptuous set even in the scorching weather. When he called out, “I know it has been a long day in the sun but now is the time to go Santana bananas!”, we all went crazy and started singing and dancing. You just cannot resist staying still when Santana plays. His music is absolutely cheerful. 

Opening with visuals of Woodstock soundtracked by Soul Sacrifice, the award-winning musician brought a flavoursome set weaving blues-rock, jazz fusion and Latin and African percussion rhythms. Much loved classics like Oye Como Va and Maria Maria – two of my favourite songs of all time – sent the crowd wild while Smooth still reigns as Santana’s most iconic hit, sounding every bit as delectable as the first listen 19 years ago.

Steve Winwoodmade his monumental return to Hyde Park for the first time in 49 years. The last time he performed here was in 1969 as part of Blind Faith – Winwood’s blues-rock band with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.

Winwood’s distinct soulful vocals still rings clear and strong as ever, giving us the perfect soundtrack to a summery Sunday afternoon, a particular highlight being his signature hit ‘Higher Love’ which got the crowd on their feet and swaying along. The Great Oak Stage screen was emblazoned with record artworks from his genre-shifting discography. 

Winwood, performing with a full band including a saxophonist and flautist, alternated between the organ and guitar in a set filled with songs from his bands: Blind Faith (Can’t Find My Way Home), Traffic (Pearly Queen) and Spencer Davis Group (I’m A Man).

Last but not least, my favourite of all musician at BST was Italian singer-songwriter Zucchero who rocked theBarclaycard Stage with his string of crowd-pleasing songs, including Baila and the Miserere duet (using a video recording on screen) with Pavarotti, a repertoire that spanned from the 80s up to the latest songs from his latest collection album, Wanted.

Read my interview with Zucchero here. In the spirit of this festival, this chat was also quite emotional. 

My chat with a truly iconic rock star: Zucchero – The man with the hat, a leather voice and blues in his veins recalls the 80s & his famous friends

Frankly I cannot think of anything topping the Roger Waters / The Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Santana, Steve Winwood and Zucchero. This weekend was exceptionally good, but I very much look forward to the next weekend which will see headliners such as Canadian crooner Michael Bublé on Friday 13th July,  Bruno Mars on Saturday 14th July, and Paul Simon on Sunday 15th July. BST 2018 will be remembered forever in the world of music in London for its best line-up ever. I am truly happy and feel lucky to have witnessed one of the greatest moments in music history.

 

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My chat with a truly iconic rock star: Zucchero – The man with the hat, a leather voice and blues in his veins recalls the 80s & his famous friends

My chat with a truly iconic rock star: Zucchero – The man with the hat, a leather voice and blues in his veins recalls the 80s & his famous friends

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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