ERIC CLAPTON ANNOUNCES UPDATED CROSSROADS GUITAR FESTIVAL CLINICS AND CONCERT LINE-UP
Dallas, Texas May 12, 2004 — Eric Clapton today announced a presenting sponsor and an updated event schedule for the spectacular three-day Crossroads Guitar Festival June 4-6, 2004, at Fair Park and Cotton Bowl Stadium. The event, an SBC presentation, will include continual concerts and once-in-a-lifetime guitar clinics by the world’s leading artists.
The weekend will feature the Guitar Center Village including the Hard Rock Caf ’s 50 years of American Rock and Roll display, interactive booths from leading guitar manufacturers, the buy-sell-trade Vintage Showcase and a display of guitars donated from Eric Clapton and friends personal collections for the forthcoming June 24 Christie’s auction with proceeds benefiting the Crossroads Centre. Concerts begin Friday evening and continue into Saturday afternoon on multiple indoor and outdoor stages. The event will culminate with an 11-hour concert at the Cotton Bowl on Sunday.
The SBC family of companies is honored to team with the one of the world’s premier musicians to support what promises to be a tremendously entertaining and educational weekend full of once in a lifetime activities, said Michael Grasso, Executive Director, SBC Marketing. The Crossroads Guitar Festival offers a unique opportunity for both aspiring musicians and music enthusiasts to get up close and personal with talented artist for an inside look at the trade. We’re thrilled at the opportunity to help support this series in our hometown.
CROSSROADS GUITAR FESTIVAL DVD
The Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD is scheduled for release on October 19, 2004.
ZRock Ticket Package Giveaway
ZRock is giving away a FREE ticket package to the Crossroads Guitar Festival June 4-6, 2004 in Dallas. The winner will receive one pair of tickets for each day – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including the Cotton Bowl concert. All ZRock registered members are eligible. Thank you to everyone who entered!
ZRock Exclusive Crossroads Guitar Festival Interviews
TALENT LINE-UP – UPDATED JUNE 1 10:53pm
NOTE: This is a preliminary artist and performance schedule and is subject to change. ZRock is proud to be your source for talent lineup additions and changes. This page is updated as changes are confirmed. For additional information, visit www.crossroadsguitarfestival.org
Friday, June 4th
ZRock Crossroads Guitar Festival Ticket Package Giveaway
ZRock is giving away a FREE ticket package to the Crossroads Guitar Festival June 4-6, 2004 in Dallas. The winner will receive one pair of tickets for each day – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, including the Cotton Bowl concert. All ZRock registered members are eligible.
May 25 news: updates and additions
All Star Blues Jam announced
Saturday June 5 – 9 pm – All Star Blues Jam hosted by Eric Clapton with Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph and Jimmie Vaughan at the Guitar Center Village Main Stage
new clinic added
Saturday June 5 – 1:30pm – 2:00pm Nishat Khan (Ernie Ball Stage)
May 26 news: updates and additions
Toll Free Donations Hotline
Tax deductible donations to Crossroads Centre Antigua may be made by calling toll free 1-888-725-2420.
May 27 news: updates and additions
Jedd Hughes has been added to the Picker’s Corner Clinic on Sunday at 12:30pm on the Sirius Stage.
Tappy Wright, who was Jimi Hendrix’s tech, will be telling Stories and Antidotes and conducting a Q&A on Saturday at 11:00am on the Sirius Stage.
Ibanez will be hosting a clinic with The Andy Timmons Band and Rusty Cooley on Saturday at 12:30pm on the Sirius Stage.
ERIC CLAPTON’s THE CROSSROADS GUITAR FESTIVAL FEATURES GUITAR CENTER VILLAGE
CLINICS, PERFORMANCES, INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS AND GUITARMAGEDDON SHOWDOWN ON SATURDAY, JUNE 5 TO SELECT BEST NEW AMATEUR GUITARIST IN THE COUNTRY ALL BASED IN GUITAR CENTER VILLAGE
Eric Clapton’s The Crossroads Guitar Festival, An SBC Presentation to take place Friday, June 4 through Sunday, June 6 features the Guitar Center Village at Fair Park in Dallas. This one-time event, created for music enthusiasts around the globe, will raise money for Crossroads Centre Antigua, the treatment and education center founded in 1997 by Eric Clapton.
The opening of the Guitar Center Village, coordinated by Guitar Center, the national retailer of musical instruments takes place at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 4 and events continue throughout the weekend. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend guitar clinics with legendary performers who will appear together, possibly for the only time in their careers.
Paul Reed Smith kicks off the festivities at the Guitar Center Village on June 4 with a clinic from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., followed by Chris Poland’s OHM from 4:45 to 6:45 p.m. The Acoustic Clinic, featuring Doyle Dykes, Peter Huttlinger and Laurence Juber, is slated for 7 to 8 p.m. The Blues Clinic at 8:00 p.m. will feature Robert Lockwood Jr. (legendary blues artist who learned guitar from and performed with his stepfather, Robert Johnson), Honeyboy Edwards (close friend and associate of Robert Johnson’s and a folk / blues legend in his own right), and Duke Robillard (winner of the W.C. Handy Award as Best Blues Guitarist 4 of the past 5 years).
On Saturday, June 5, Styx will rock the stage at 11:00 a.m. with a full set at Guitar Center Village Main Stage. The Shredders Clinic will follow Styx at noon with featured artists Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme); Tony Franklin (The Firm); George Lynch (Dokken & Lynch Mob) and Todd Sucherman (Drummer for Styx).
The much-anticipated Guitarmageddon will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Guitarmageddon is the largest and most respected guitar competition in the country; providing an opportunity for musicians to showcase their talent, compete for prizes, and the chance to be recognized as one of the country’s finest. This is the culmination of Guitar Center’s nationwide search for the best amateur guitarist. The winner will receive thousands of dollars in prizes including a 2004 Honda Element, Gibson Pure Custom Shop Guitar and a $2500 shopping spree.
Also on Saturday, a group of extraordinary veterans gather at 3 p.m. for a classic Guitar Pull. Artists include Buck Page (original writers of Purple Sage, Ghostriders In The Sky; Cool Water; Don’t Fence Me In); Norm Stephens (playing with Merle Haggard’s band; previously with Lefty Frizzel); Sonny Curtis (penned songs for Stray Cats, The Clash, Roy Orbison; one of the original Crickets with Buddy Holly) and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott (honored at White House with National Medal of Arts – played with Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Joan Baez, Mick Jagger, etc.). Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Doobie Brothers / Steely Dan) will be featured on the Sirius stage from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Throughout the day the Guitar Center Village Main Stage will feature performances by artists including John Mayer, Johnny Lang, JJ Cale, Eric Johnson and others. At 9:00 p.m. an All Star Blues Jam will take place hosted by Eric Clapton with Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph and Jimmie Vaughan.
Sunday, June 6 starts with the Johnny A performance at 11:00 a.m. Pickers Corner gets underway at 12:30 p.m. with multi-Grammy winner Marty Stuart; James Burton (Elvis’ lead guitar player), Doyle Dykes and Jedd Hughes (one of Nashville’s top singing/picking sensations and youngest guitar virtuoso at the event).
Tickets to each day of the Crossroads Guitar Festival are sold separately and are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are priced $15 for Friday, $45 for Saturday and $60 for Sunday. Information is available at www.crossroadsguitarfestival.com
Donations to Crossroads can be made through 1-888-725-2420.
AMD64 Goes Down to the Crossroads with Eric Clapton at Guitar Festival in Dallas
DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–June 2, 2004–
— AMD64 processor-based digital audio workstation to record benefit concert in DVD-A featuring Eric Clapton and other legendary guitar players —
AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced that AMD64 technology is the digital audio workstation (DAW) platform of choice to record Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival concert at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas on Sunday, June 6, 2004. Tens of thousands of music fans are expected to attend the concert featuring a line-up of legendary guitar players. Scheduled to perform are Eric Clapton and Doyle Bramhall II, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, James Taylor, ZZ Top, Steve Vai, Robert Cray, Neal Schon, blues legend B.B. King, and many more artists. The Sunday concert wraps up a three-day first-of-its-kind guitar festival dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Crossroads Centre, Antigua, the treatment and education center founded by Eric Clapton in 1997.
The deployment of an AMD64 processor-based DAW to record the Crossroads Guitar Festival underscores a growing trend of AMD64 technology adoption in the digital audio industry. AMD64 Masters Group members and multiple Grammy Award-winning audio engineers like Phil Ramone, Elliot Scheiner, George Massenberg, Frank Filipetti and others have made AMD64 their digital audio technology of choice in the professional studio. Elliot Scheiner, a five-time Grammy Award-winner was selected along with audio recording heavyweight Ed Cherney by Warner Music to capture the live magic of these artists for an upcoming DVD release.
Steelo jewelry handcrafted by Melisaccessories is among the thank you gifts being presented to the artists performing at the Crossroads Guitar Festival show at the Cotton Bowl on Sunday. Each neck piece is made with five nuts to represent the five year mark of which Christie’s New York will again offer a selection of Eric Clapton’s guitars and others in aid of the Crossroads Centre. All jewelry is handmade from actual hardware and Swarovski crystal.
Visit www.melisaccessories.com for more handcrafted jewelry that rocks!
SPECIAL REPORT: VH1 MUSIC FIRST: SUNDAY, JUNE 6TH, 2004
ERIC CLAPTON MEETS SANTANA, ZZ TOP, JEFF BECK AT THE CROSSROADS, RAIN CUTS THINGS A BIT SHORT
BY COURTNEY REIMER, VH1
Guitar was the operative word at this weekend’s Crossroads Guitar Festival
in Dallas. From the clinics, to the vintage instrument sales to the
countless guitar solos played by some of classic rock’s greatest axe men –
fans got a heaping helping all things guitar at Dallas Fair Park this past
The weekend was full of surprises. On Saturday night, that included
Clapton’s unannounced cameo with blues-rocker J.J. Cale on Saturday night, as well as bluesman Buddy Guy’s stealing the show as he played his signature tune, Sweet Home Chicago – and even upstaged Clapton in the process. That night, Clapton joined Cale for four songs – including two that J.J. wrote and Eric popularized: Cocaine, and After Midnight.
Sunday was the climax of a weekend. More than 40 thousand fans watched a concert that began at noon with Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain of Journey doing their guitar-heavy version of the National Anthem, and ended when a rain storm threatened to drown out ZZ Top’s guitars during their song, Tush.
Among the rest of the highlights of Sunday’s nearly 12-hour concert:
* Joe Walsh made a surprise appearance with James Taylor on
Taylor’s song, Steamroller.
* Just about everyone on the bill joined B.B. King for his
performance of Early In The Morning. As B.B. exited the stage, he gave a
hug to all of them: John Mayer, Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy.
* B.B. King called the event the highlight of his career. He
thanked good friend Eric Clapton and said: In my 78 years, never have I enjoyed sitting in a jam session more than today. I swear that.
* After joining Santana at the end of Carlos set, Eric
Clapton finally took the spotlight to play his own, backed by bandmembers
Doyle Bramhall II and Robert Randolph. Actor Mickey Rourke introduced
Clapton as he took the stage for that set.
* Eric Clapton played a hits-heavy set, which spanned from the
blues to Creem and Clapton’s own songs Wonderful Tonight, Layla and
* Jeff Beck joined Clapton for just a brief instrumental of
their two dueling guitars.
* As a storm was approaching and the stage was being
dissembled around them, ZZ Top blazed through a set of hits, which included I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide, Gimme All Your Lovin, Sharp Dressed Man, and as the rain began to fall, Tush.
Guitar legends strum their stuff at Dallas festival
By MICHAEL D. CLARK
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
DALLAS — It was a moment that musicians with a healthy respect for the gods of guitar might fantasize about while taking a break in band practice:
Imagine if B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton were ever in on the same jam together. Wonder what that would sound like.
What it sounded like on Sunday at the Crossroads Guitar Festival at the Cotton Bowl was history. The 12-hour gathering of more than two dozen of the greatest guitar players in Rock N Roll and modern blues took place in front of an estimated 40,000 sun-and-strum worshippers.
With sets by many of the electric-guitar pioneers of the past half century — Bo Diddley, King, Carlos Santana, Clapton, Jeff Beck and Houston’s ZZ Top — it would be easy to take for granted just how rare this gathering of talent was. One only needed to look at the expression of 26-year-old John Mayer to understand the magnitude.
After listening to King’s modern blues, Clapton’s squealing Stratocaster and Guy’s funky wailing strings, Mayer (the only youngster invited to this strum circle) plucked his way through a few bars of competent chords as Guy and King nodded in approval. After a minute or two of basking in the attention, he unplugged his guitar, placed it at Guy’s feet and bowed in respect to the titan who paved his way to success.
It was the highlight of a weekend that should live in Texas music history. Put together by Clapton as a benefit for his Antigua-based Crossroads Centre, a treatment and education center for the chemically dependent as well as their friends and families, the event got under way on Friday and Saturday with guitar clinics and performances at the fairgrounds that surround the Cotton Bowl. It was all a warm-up for the army of axes and amplifiers on Sunday.
All I did was make a list of people I dreamed of playing with, I wrote to them, and they showed up, Clapton said as he expressed his gratitude to all the performers.
Afternoon sets by progressive rock experimentalist Steve Vai, Gulf Coast slideman Sonny Landreth and former Mahavishnu Orchestra leader John McLaughlin set the tone for what might be possible on the massive stage that stretched across one of the field’s end zones. Appropriately, 75-year-old Diddley began the all-star second half of the day.
Are you ready? the baritone Mississippi native asked the crowd. With that, one of Rock N Roll’s founding fathers took a seat and began playing the bluesy Bo Diddley. By the time he had wound through I’m a Man and Who Do You Love, it became evident just how many bands — from the Rolling Stones to Bow Wow Wow — have borrowed his licks.
Stellar moments came at unexpected times. Singer and guitarist David Hidalgo revealed an appreciation for American blues he usually keeps hidden while playing with Los Lobos. Country musician Vince Gill showed he can play more than the traditional chords of Nashville when pushed by arguably popular music’s best dobro player, Jerry Douglas. King may be 78 years old, but he still can shake like his back has no bones and incite a crowd into a frenzy with fret work on the guitar he affectionately calls Lucille.
Most surprising was normally sedate singer-songwriter James Taylor. After he had lulled the crowd with Copper Line and Carolina in My Mind, musical jester Joe Walsh joined him and provoked Taylor into shouting and scat-singing.
But Clapton was the star of the show. In addition to playing with Santana and Beck — the guitarist who replaced him in the Yardbirds in 1965 — Clapton offered a peek at his upcoming tour for his new album, Me and Mr. Johnson, during his own set. The album pays tribute to early bluesman Robert Johnson, and Clapton played reverential versions of Johnson’s Delta classics like they’re Red Hot (Hot Tamales) and If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day.
Clapton ended with a sampling of songs that included a shuffling reggae-rock cover of Bob Marley’s I Shot the Sheriff, the ballad Wonderful Tonight and raw, energetic renditions of Cocaine and Layla. Clapton, 59, proved that he is a guitar king with a fond affection for his royal blues-rock peers.
Mayer aside, the gathering of veterans at the Crossroads Guitar Festival also raised the question: Where is the next generation of guitar gods?
Still searching for the next guitar hero
Last weekend’s Crossroads Festival celebrated the guitar greats – but where are the young players?
By Lynne Margolis | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
DALLAS – Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Stevie Ray Vaughan. For just about any rock fan, these guys define the term guitar hero. Countless kids all over the world have stood in front of bedroom mirrors pretending to be one of them, or their brethren: B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, Pete Townshend, Keith Richards… . The list goes on but it’s fairly short because somewhere after the emergence of Eddie Van Halen and the super-speed ’shredders of the 1980s, the long line of instantly recognizable guitar heroes seemed to end as abruptly as a shriek of amplifier feedback.
That was very much evident at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas this past weekend. The three-day charity event gathered a who’s who of guitarists from around the world, most of whom were well over the age of 40. True, there were a few younger players such as Eric Johnson and Jonny Lang, but they represent the many players who made a big splash, then failed to grab the world with the intensity their forebears did.That’s not to say that guitar music is dead. It’s just that guitarists – and guitar solos – are devalued in mainstream pop music today, and many young players in bands prefer not to be singled out from their bandmates.
There’s two things operating here, says Michael Molenda, editor in chief of Guitar Player magazine. You have to have guitarists that are seeking fame, and you have to have a public that gets excited about a guitar. Right now doesn’t seem to be that time.
The festival featured plenty of string bending, sweet vibrato, and fretboard gymnastics by veterans such as Brian May, Joe Walsh, John McLaughlin, Steve Vai, Pat Metheny, and Vince Gill but it also highlighted up-and-coming players including John Mayer and Robert Randolph.
But those new guys (every featured performer during the three-day festival was a guy) don’t exactly fit the definition of a traditional guitar hero.
Mayer is renowned for his chart-topping pop songs, not his excellent guitar-playing. Guitar Player once featured Mayer on its cover, Mr. Molenda says, but it didn’t sell because readers didn’t buy into Mayer as a guitar god – partly because his nice-guy image seems to lack the sense of danger and swagger exuded by ax-slingers. J.J. Cale, who also played in the festival, has his own theory why pop star Mayer hasn’t been accepted as a six-string decathlete. He plays a lot of acoustic guitar on a gig. People think guitar heroes play electric guitar.
Randolph, the phenomenon most likely to be anointed as the next guitar god, is hardly a guitar player in the traditional sense. The wunderkind doesn’t play a Stratocaster or Les Paul, he plays pedal steel guitar and began his musical education with a little-known church music style called ’sacred steel.
Randolph, who claims the late ax-slingers Vaughan and Duane Allman as his biggest influences, says anyone who aspires to guitar hero status has to recognize his talent, but stay humble.
Look within yourself and play from your heart at all times, he says.
The pedal-steel player may not wear a guitar or pose in a classic lead guitar stance, but the buzz about the player could be heard even over the cacophony of riffage at the trade-show area where concert goers eyed rows and rows of six-string instruments.
There was also plenty of fuss over Jedd Hughes, a 22-year-old Australian native who got a job playing with country star Patty Loveless two weeks after landing in Nashville four years ago.
I’ve been working really hard and I still continue to work hard because you have to, says Hughes.
Originality and dedication was the mantra repeated by most players, including Michael Kelsey, who won the Guitarmageddon playoff at one of the smaller stages outside the Cotton Bowl stadium. He also won a new fan in Jeff Skunk Baxter, of Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan fame.
People are going to see more of him, Baxter says. This man is going to have the opportunity to communicate.
Surveying the broader musical landscape, Molenda is confident that other young guitarists will make a name for themselves.
When he attended Ozzfest, an annual tour of heavy-metal acts, he was astounded how good the youngest players were.
If you look at the second stage at Ozzfest … last year, it was like nu-metal bands that really couldn’t play that well, he says. This year, every single kid on that stage could just absolutely shred.
Rock music is missing someone who can wow crowds with his prowess, he notes. Who knows what could happen in 2010? I think that there’s stuff bubbling under the surface.
For the most part, the veterans at the Crossroads festival were enthusiastic about supporting new talent. Clapton personally chose most of the players invited to the festival, a fundraiser for his Crossroads Center for drug and alcohol addicts in Antigua.
Clapton also hired Randolph to perform as the opening act on his current tour, and gleefully watched from the wings as Randolph awed a large Saturday night crowd. Randolph later came out to perform with Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, and Hubert Sumlin.
Sumlin represents the old, old guard. Like James Honeyboy Edwards and Robert Lockwood Jr., he’s one of the blues boys who helped popularize electric guitars, and who served as the inspiration for Clapton, Beck, Page, and Richards – pioneers of the the British blues boom who adapted their sounds from American blues players and became guitar heroes in the process.
Dave Weiderman, director of artist relations for Guitar Center International, says he saw Clapton in the audience Friday night watching Edwards and Lockwood, so he plugged in a guitar and told Clapton it was ready if he wanted to use it.
But Clapton responded, Oh, I couldn’t do that. I would be embarrassed to do that. Those guys are legends.
J.J. Cale, for one, sees room for similar gatherings of guitar heroes well into the future.
I don’t think the guitar star is gonna go away, he says. But who knows? I don’t know nothin about the future … it might be piccolos next.
Three-Ring Six-String Circus
Guitar gods converge on Dallas
By Michael Corcoran
Monday, June 7, 2004
DALLAS — They turned out at Fair Park over the weekend to worship — not a man or a belief, but an instrument. This was not billed as a music fest, but as the Crossroads Guitar Festival, and fans of six-string fury were treated to three days of concerts, clinics and exhibitions of all things ax-related.
Organized by Eric Clapton, it was like a Star Trek convention. Only instead of pointy ears, the dearly devoted wore Fender T-shirts and scurried for flicked guitar picks.
The event, a benefit for Clapton’s Crossroads Centre drug and alcohol treatment facility in Antigua, culminated Sunday as about 45,000 fans descended on the Cotton Bowl to witness the greatest assemblage of guitar players since Woodstock. The biggest draw may have been the advertised finale of Clapton and Jeff Beck jamming with ZZ Top, but the lineup also featured such guitar gods as Carlos Santana, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Bo Diddley, John McLaughlin, Vince Gill and many more.
The amazing thing about this event is all the different styles of players, said Austin’s Eric Johnson, who played Saturday on the Guitar Village stage. Where else are you going to see heavy metal shredders playing after jazz guys and bluegrass players next to blues guys?
Where some festivals are based around a style of music, such as bluegrass or blues or jam bands, the Crossroads fest was an ode to the guitar in all its manifestations.
There’s a lot of mutual respect in the air, said former Grim Reaper guitarist Nick Bowcutt, who now works as product manager for Marshall amps. The coolest thing I saw was Friday night, when you had all these ancient, legendary blues guitarists (Honeyboy Edwards, Robert Lockwood Jr.), and Eric Clapton’s in the audience, with no security, listening with everyone else. Someone said, Why doesn’t he jam?, but he’s a gentleman. He’s not about to get up there and show up his predecessors.
Clapton did play the next night with J.J. Cale, in a fest highlight that found the pair trading licks on songs such as After Midnight and Cocaine, both of which Cale wrote and Clapton made famous.
Eric called and asked me to play, and I said, Just tell me what time, Cale said. The guy’s really helped me out over the years.
Johnson said that when he got the call several months ago, the plan was just to do a single concert. But then the word got out and everyone wanted to play.
A virtual three-ring, six-string circus, Sunday afternoon found country pickers James Burton, Doyle Dykes and Marty Stuart kicking off their indoor clinic with a Chet Atkins-flavored Glory, Hallelujah, which they dedicated to former President Ronald Reagan, while Larry Carlton led his band in a spirited T-Bone Shuffle in the sweltering Cotton Bowl. Collectors and fans from as far away as Japan and Europe checked out the Dallas Guitar Show in another exhibition hall.
The fest also featured a display of guitars going up for auction at Christie’s in New York on June 24. The collection included some of Clapton’s most famous, including the chipped Fender Stratocaster he christened Blackie and the red Gibson ES-335 he played with Cream.
The biggest and quietest crowds gathered around two guitars donated by the Stevie Ray Vaughan estate.
Johnson said the Christie’s display gave a lot of context to the proceedings. Some of those guitars are like Eric Clapton’s family. For him to part with them shows just how committed he is to the cause. Perusing the collection was a fitting set up for Sunday’s mega-guitar fest, Johnson said. It’s like walking through Eric’s history, which makes (Sunday’s show) feel like the culmination of that incredible history.
Dan Wetmore of Amarillo used the weekend’s most-heard adjective after touring the Christie’s collection. This is awesome! he said. To be able to stand three feet away from some of the most famous guitars ever makes this more than just another concert.
Excited about the fest’s interactive component, with many of the acts posing for pictures and signing autographs, was Doug Vanedeth, who’d come all the way from Calgary, Alberta. While waiting in a long line to meet bassist Nathan East, Vanedeth and his wife, Cora, admitted that music wasn’t necessarily foremost in their minds Saturday.
The Stanley Cup is coming home to Canada tonight, Cora said, pointing to her Calgary Flames bandanna. By game time, the Vanedeths persuaded one of the exhibitors to tune a TV to Saturday night’s hockey game. While the crowd outside cheered an all-star blues jam of Clapton and Jimmie Vaughan, with Robert Randolph, Robert Cray and Buddy Guy, the Vanedeths made some wild noise of their own.
Throughout the day, the exhibition hall was filled with squeals and squalls as guitarists, from virtuosos to claw-handed novices, sampled the new products of several manufacturers. Thirteen-year-old Garrick Thurston of Dallas played a punk bass line in the Crate amp booth, but shook his head in disappointment. I thought I’d be playing through this amp, he said, pointing to the 14-foot high amplifier billed the world’s largest. But that’s just a prop.
Over at the Marshall amp booth, a kid played Smoke On the Water — badly — and onlookers grimaced, but nobody gave him the hook. This isn’t a competition, said David Spann of Marshall. Everyone was a beginner at one time.
Meanwhile, a rapt audience surrounded London native Nishat Khan as he demonstrated sitar technique at the Ernie Ball Stage. I could see some of their eyes getting wide, Khan said afterwards. Some of the guitarists were studying my hands and seeing how the sitar relates to what they play.
Though the first two days of the festival, aimed at the diehard guitar players and fans, drew only about 4,000 Friday and 6,000 Saturday, the masses turned out for Sunday’s Cotton Bowl blowout.
Journey’s Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain opened the show at noon with a bombastic, instrumental The Star-Spangled Banner. Considering the nature of the event, you can be sure the rendition was more a salute to Jimi Hendrix, who played it at Woodstock, than Old Glory.
Twilight of the Guitar Gods
by Chris Grey
At the end, after nearly 12 sunstroked hours in the Cotton Bowl, there was no jam. The epic six-string showdown between Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and, one assumes, everyone else never came to pass, a casualty of curfew constraints and the thunderstorms bearing down like a jilted lover with, um, an axe to grind on an estimated 40,000 fans. Instead, the Sunday night finale of Clapton’s three-day Crossroads Guitar Festival came when Dallas native Dusty Hill took the vocal reins from fellow beard Billy Gibbons for a windswept jaunt through Tush, drawing the expected roar on the ’dallas, Texas … Hollywoo-ood line and capping an energetic, if abbreviated, set from the home-state heroes. ZZ’s still got it – always has, always will – but even their biggest hits are 20 years behind them, and Legs is about the last time any of the festival’s 50-odd acts came anywhere near No. 1.
True, Top preceders Clapton and Carlos Santana have had multiplatinum albums in the last decade or so, but Sunday there was no MTV Unplugged or Supernatural. Clapton played just four songs off his new Robert Johnson tribute Me and Mr. Johnson, bolstered by steely National guitar work from Doyle Bramhall II. About the time some impatient soul behind TCB yelled Layla, Clapton and band ragga-d through I Shot the Sheriff before climaxing with Cream’s Clapton/George Harrison gem Badge, then, yes, Layla and Cocaine (which topped the previous day’s Clapton/J.J. Cale workout). Fellow Yardbirds alum Beck surfaced to join Clapton for the memorable acid-rock encore Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers.
For his part, Santana turned in a fiery 40 minutes that gave a wake-up jolt to the faltering crowd, glassy-eyed from an afternoon of $5 beers, orange-colored nachos, and the blazing North Texas sun. His closing 15-minute duet with Clapton delivered everything Slowhand’s previous appearance with Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Jimmie Vaughan, and John Mayer lacked: passion and precision. Clapton was no doubt saving his tastiest licks for later, while Mayer was overmatched and knew it, exiting early with a graceful bow. Austin’s Vaughan tried valiantly to keep the group on track with steady rhythm work and tastefully restrained solos, but Guy and King were only interested in mugging and grandstanding. Similar clowning worked much better for Joe Walsh earlier because, well, he’s Joe Walsh. His guest appearance during James Taylor’s set was doubtless the strangest pairing all weekend.
Backing Walsh was Booker T. & the MGs, whose guitarist Steve Cropper turned in the most dependably excellent fretwork of the afternoon. Besides the colorfully clad James Gang/Eagles veteran, the MGs supported Bo Diddley for a rip-snorting Who Do You Love? and David Hidalgo, who sounded nice and soulful as TCB headed to the first aid station after a Chevy Chase-worthy pratfall into the folding Cotton Bowl seats. On the receiving end, besides aluminum and concrete, was the skull of one unfortunate young lady, who was shaken but mercifully unhurt.
Like everyone else her age TCB saw, she was there with a parent. Although youngsters made full use of the plug & play kiosks at the festival’s tradeshow Saturday, most kids at Sunday’s concert looked like they’d rather be home downloading Rooney or the Black Eyed Peas. Contemporary slingers like Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang, and even Eric Johnson – who all performed Saturday – have scores of devoted fans, some of them even their ages, but nowhere near the kind of mass appeal Clapton and his peers once had. The festival, a benefit for Clapton’s Crossroads rehab clinic/tax shelter in Antigua, West Indies, will no doubt be counted a success, but more than anything else, it revealed that the era of the guitar hero is over. Jimi Hendrix has finally left the building.
Six Strings Down
Seven memorable guitar solos from the Crossroads Fest.
Billy F. Gibbons, Tush
Steve Cropper, Hip Hug-Her
James Burton, That’s All Right Mama
Sonny Curtis, I Fought the Law
Joe Walsh, Walk Away
Hubert Sumlin, Killing Floor
Vince Gill, Oklahoma Borderline
Three instances of the outside world coming to the Crossroads Guitar Festival.
Yahoos in the crowd heckling Indian picker Vishwa Mohan Bhatt ( This sucks! ), whose dizzying 10-minute turn on his 36-string Dobro/sitar hybrid was easily Sunday’s most exotic moment
Doyle Dykes, formerly of Elvis backing gospel group J.D. Sumner & the Stamps, prefacing his and Marty Stuart, James Burton, and Jedd Hughes Sunday clinic with a stirring Battle Hymn of the Republic in honor of Ronald Reagan
Triple Crown favorite Smarty Jones drawing as big a crowd to the SBC Lounge’s flat-screen TVs for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (which he sadly lost) as Jeff Skunk Baxter’s nearby clinic
CROSSROADS GUITAR FESTIVAL
By Bruce Simon
June 7, 2004
The greats of the guitar world hit Dallas this past weekend for the Crossroads Guitar Festival. The three-day event, which was organized and
hosted by Eric Clapton, saw performances, workshops, and jams with Clapton and his hand-picked list of friends and influences. Camera crews shot throughout the weekend, and a DVD and live album will be released later on. The proceeds from the weekend, from an upcoming guitar auction in New York City on June 24th, and from the CD and DVD will go to the Crossroads Center Antigua, the substance-abuse rehabilitation facility that Clapton founded on the Caribbean island back in 1997.
ERIC CLAPTON WATCHES BLUES LEGENDS FROM THE AUDIENCE & MEETS ROBERT JOHNSON’s FAMILY
Clapton wasn’t just the organizer of the Crossroads Guitar Festival — he was also a spectator. On Friday night (June 4th), blues legends Honeyboy
Edwards and Robert Jr. Lockwood played a set with modern-day blues singer-guitarist Duke Robillard (pronounced Ro-bee-yard). While they were on stage, Clapton, his wife, and some friends walked out into the audience to watch the performances, and Clapton applauded enthusiastically after each song. Surprisingly, Clapton didn’t have a huge security contingent — there were just a couple of guards near him, and they only had to tell a few people not to take pictures or otherwise intrude, since Clapton was there to watch the show, just like everyone else. Clapton was expected to get on stage during the set, but he didn’t want to take the spotlight away from Lockwood, Edwards, and Robillard, and he left when they wrapped up.
During the performance, Clapton got to meet the surviving family of his hero, blues icon Robert Johnson. Clapton was introduced to Claud Johnson, who is Robert Johnson’s only son, as well as Claud’s sons Michael, Greg, and Steve, who are Robert Johnson’s only grandsons. Steve Johnson told LAUNCH that the family was honored by Clapton’s decision to record his new album Me And Mr. Johnson: Eric Clapton actually sent us the CD, and it’s wonderful music. It’s music that my granddad recorded and wrote himself, and for Eric Clapton to even want to do it was a real honor for us, that he would even want to sing my grandfather’s music.
STYX DOES DOUBLE-DUTY AT CROSSROADS FESTIVAL
Styx did double-duty at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. The band played a three-song acoustic set at a special VIP party of Friday night that featured Blue Collar Man (Long Nights), Snowblind, and Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man). They followed that up with eight songs on Saturday morning (June 5th) that ranged from some of their better-known material to choice covers including Jimi Hendrix Manic Depression, the Beatles I Am The Walrus, B.B. King’s The Thrill Is Gone, and the blues standard I’m A King Bee. The performance also featured a special guest — guitarist Jeff Skunk Baxter from Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, who soloed on Blue Collar Man (Long Nights), I’m A King Bee, The Thrill Is Gone, and Renegade.
Singer-guitarist James J.Y. Young — who handled lead vocal duties for Manic Depression and I’m A King Bee — described the Styx performance for LAUNCH: It was so much fun up there, and we heard afterwards that actually, Mr. Eric Clapton was in the audience for part of what we did. What a blast to come here and be able to play some cover songs — Manic Depression by Hendrix, which is, you know, I, I thought was a really cool thing, and for Tommy to do The Thrill Is Gone, which was his sort of signature piece before he got into Styx.
Young also told LAUNCH why his band covered I Am The Walrus : You know, it’s just, like, a left-field thing that even great cover bands can’t do a good job on, but a band like us, we can kill on a song like I Am The Walrus. We would never do it at a Styx show, but here, it just — you know, we wanted to just make it a little bit different, but make it resonate with the 60s on some level, but also make it resonate with the blues.
ERIC CLAPTON JAMS WITH J.J. CALE AT CROSSROADS FESTIVAL
Singer-songwriter J.J. Cale was one of the performers on Saturday at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. While Cale and his band played, Eric Clapton quietly joined them at the back of the stage and just supported his old friend and collaborator, with many in the audience not even realizing he was there until the performance was almost over. They played three songs together — Cocaine and After Midnight, which have been core parts of Clapton’s setlist for years, and Call Me The Breeze, which is probably best known from the Lynyrd Skynyrd version.
BLUES TITANS JAM AT CROSSROADS FESTIVAL
Saturday night at the Crossroads Guitar Festival ended with a blues summit. On the stage together were Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Howlin Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, and original Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Jimmie Vaughan. They traded vocal and guitar leads on songs including blues standards like Sweet Home Chicago and Hoochie Coochie Man, along with more recent material like Vaughan’s Six Strings Down, which is his tribute to his late brother Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Cray told LAUNCH that he was honored to be there, especially since it was for such a good cause: First of all, it’s great to be in support of the Crossroads (Centre), you know? And then second, to be invited is great because, I mean, look at all the people he’s invited — it’s an honor to be amongst one of those. Cray also did a set with his band at the all-star concert yesterday.
JOURNEY MATES KICK OFF CROSSROADs CONCERT WITH SOME SPECIAL FRIENDS
Yesterday’s (Sunday, June 6th) day long, all-star concert at the Crossroads Guitar Festival kicked off with Journey guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who were joined by bassist and American Idol judge Randy Jackson and drummer-producer Narada Michael Walden. They started off with an extended, solo-filled version of The Star Spangled Banner, then followed with a long medley that included bits of Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and Third Stone From The Sun, Santana’s Everybody’s Everything, and Amazing Grace. Schon’s history with Clapton goes back to when, at the age of 13, he turned down an invitation to join Derek & the Dominos, and instead became a member of Santana. Schon told LAUNCH that he really wanted to be at the festival, and Clapton made it happen: I wanted to play this festival, but you can imagine, every guitar player on this planet — and any other planet — wanted to be on this festival. So, it took some time until Eric was actually involved in (picking names). At the end, after they got most of the preliminary stuff together, and then he took a look at the list, and he saw my name, and he says, Yeah, I think Neal should be there.
Cain told LAUNCH that everyone was happy to come out and play, but that Clapton has the kind of power that only mob bosses seem to have, so artists would have shown up no matter what: Just because Eric swings a big bat, people are here, you know, cause he has that kind of respect, you know? He’s like the Godfather, so when he says ’show up, we’re here. You know, he’s Don Corleone — I mean, what are you gonna
do? You’re gonna show up!
SANTANA LOSES VOICE AT CROSSROADS FESTIVAL
Carlos Santana and his band — well, almost — were one of the main performers at the Crossroads Guitar Festival yesterday. There was nosinger with the group, so Santana led his guys through several extended instrumental workups, none of the titles of which were announced. Towards the end of the Santana set, host and organizer Eric Clapton came out on stage and hooked up with the band for a version of Jingo.
B.B. KING CALLS CROSSROADS FESTIVAL A HIGHLIGHT OF HIS LIFE
B.B. King has played all over the world, and at age 78, you’d think he’d seen and done it all. However, he claimed that he’d reached a new pinnacle at yesterday’s all-star Crossroads Guitar Festival concert. While chairing a blues guitar summit of sorts with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, and John Mayer, King told the audience, Never have I enjoyed sitting in a jam session more than today.
JEFF BECK PLAYS LOST-LOVE SONG WITH ERIC CLAPTON AT CROSSROADS FESTIVAL
Jeff Beck was Eric Clapton’s special guest last night at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. Towards the end of his set, Clapton brought his fellow ex-Yardbird out for a jam on Beck’s Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers, which is from Beck’s 1975 album Blow By Blow. Beck joined the Yardbirds in late 1964, after Clapton left the group to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Beck stayed in the Yardbirds for about two years, and when he left, Jimmy Page was brought in as the lead guitarist.
CRICKETS GUITARIST GLAD TO PLAY CROSSROADS FESTIVAL
Sonny Curtis, who played with Buddy Holly in Holly’s early days and then led the Crickets after Holly’s death, was one of the performers at this past weekend’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. Curtis told LAUNCH that he was honored to take part in the event, especially since it was for a great cause, and since Eric Clapton, who was the host and organizer, invited him: It’s a wonderful show, and I think that, kinda, all Eric has to do is ask, you know, and I think everybody in the world would love to be here. And it’s a real honor for me to be invited, and it’s an honor for me to get to perform for such a wonderful cause that he’s stirred up here, Crossroads.
ZZ TOP CLOSES CROSSROADS FESTIVAL
ZZ Top were the closing act at last night’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. They followed the Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck team-up with a set featuring hits from throughout their 35-year career. Unfortunately, some really nasty weather was quickly approaching the Fair Park area of Dallas, where the event was being held, and ZZ Top’s set was cut short, before Clapton and Beck could join them on stage for a planned finale of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads. Singer-guitarist Reverend Billy F. Gibbons told LAUNCH that he just had a great time at the event, especially in that he got to hang out with a bunch of his friends: This is so much fun. It’s so exciting — I’ve talked to Jimmie Vaughan, and Doyle Bramhall, and Jeff Beck, and David Hidalgo, and Carlos Santana. Ands without question, from a musician standpoint, it’s really guitar heaven.
Gibbons also told LAUNCH that besides being that lil ol band from Texas, there was another good reason why ZZ Top got to close out the night: Well (laughs), we don’t get up very early in the morning. We had to close the show, cause we would be still in bed! (chuckles).
This would be an awesome weekend! I wish I could be there for this one! So many great talents all weekend and together! Zakk & Lynch together… damn that will be a hot one! Looking forward to hearing about this one from whoever can go! – said theloudestrock on May 05, 2004
I will be there for Sunday’s huge show! 8) Can’t wait to see Steve Vai!!! Paine – said CrazyMikePaine on Jun 06, 2004