Eric Clapton, feel free in Singapore

Eric ClaptonEric Clapton begins his Asia and Middle East tour in Tokyo on February 18 and will perform at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 4. Ready to rock? Fans can buy and sell tickets on Ticketbis.com.sg.

Clapton, who first performed in Singapore during his Journeyman tour in 1990, has played at the Singapore Indoor Stadium twice before — in 2007 and 2011 — but this will be a special occasion for Clapton fans.

The legendary guitarist, the only artiste inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame three times, has just completed 50 years in the limelight.

In October 1963, Clapton was invited by singer Keith Relf and bassist Paul Samwell-Smith to join the Yardbirds and catapulted to fame.

Clapton left the Yardbirds after they scored their first hit, For Your Love, in 1965 and joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

I love For Your Love and enjoyed every minute of the Yardbirds’ gig shown in the Antonioni movie, Blowup. You can see the sequence on YouTube. It was as a Yardbird that Clapton was first inducted into the Hall of Fame.

But Clapton, for me, will be always be associated with the band he joined after leaving the Bluesbreakers.

In 1966, Clapton was invited by drummer Ginger Baker to join him and bassist Jack Bruce, another Bluesbreaker veteran, in his band, Cream, and the rest is history.

Cream was a supergroup, a trio loaded with talent, that really rocked and inevitably found their way into the Hall of Fame.

Cream was one of the shortest lived bands, together for only two years — 1966-1968 – but a prolific hit factory, recording some of the most memorable blues and hard rock.

Who can forget the frenzied vocals and frantic guitar playing and drumming on Crossroads? I just loved that Robert Johnson classic.

Now I prefer the slower beat and harmony of I Feel Free.

There are other Cream classics which will always linger in my memory: Strange Brew, Sunshine of Your Love, Tales of Brave Ulysses, Born under a Bad Sign, Spoonful, White Room.

Clapton and Baker went on to play in another supergroup, Blind Faith, with Steve Winwood and Rick Grech. Clapton also scored hits on his own and entered the Hall of Fame as a solo artiste.

The Singapore audience will no doubt want him to perform his solo hits: Layla, Wonderful Tonight, I Shot the Sheriff, Tears in Heaven.

Yes, there’s so much to him.

I fondly remember Clapton and Cream, but there are others who have grown up on Clapton minus Cream. He is special. Not many artistes have the enduring appeal of Slowhand.

I smiled to myself as I read about the olden days when fans proclaimed, “Clapton is God”. They were mad about him. The words were first seen on a wall in a London Underground station. If you do a Google search, you will see pictures of a dog urinating on the graffiti. That was a famous photograph that helped the legend grow, says a fan site.

Clapton and his fans! They will all be there at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 4. Rock on!

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