Sunday, 24 May 2009

Liverpool 1

Me and the girlfriend visited Liverpool a couple of weeks ago. It was the first time either of us had been there, and we had a really good time. We stayed for three days and did alot of very cool things, although the reason we went in the first place was this man...

Eric Clapton. He was playing at the Echo Arena, which is rather good, like the NIA but exotic seeming because it was in a place I hadn't been before. Maria had got the tickets as a Birthday present, so I'd been waiting since November to be sitting in this concert. Being me, as it was actually about to happen I got a bit blase and prepared for an anti climax.

Probably people reading this will think one of the following things about me liking Eric Clapton, they might say why would someone your age be interested in that, they might say he is boring, they might say he can't play guitar like Steve Vai or Eddie Van Halen or Satriani.

But the thing is, when I caught sight of the man walking onto stage, and realised it was actually him, a few hundred metres away from me, I at once understood why I loved him and his music. He is the reason I decided to do more than just play chords on my guitar, he's opened my ears to so much music, particularly the blues, and he's been an inspiration as a singer and a songwriter.

Needless to say the concert was great. My favourite moment? Probably the solo in Old Love. He started so quietly that the whole arena leaned forward opened mouthed. A couple of minutes later and we were all being forced back against our seats by the notes firing out of his guitar. You might be one of these people who likes your guitar solos to be three notes very very very fast, but nothing talks to me like his guitar playing does.

The funniest moment of the gig was when, during Wonderful Tonight, which should of course been a very tender moment for all the couples in the place, a very very drunk middle aged man was helped up the stairs near me by some stewards. It would have been annoying to be distracted by him, but with cosmic comedy timing he passed me just as Eric sang "it's time to go home now, and I've got an aching head..."

After the concert we decided to go walking. I think really I knew where I was going. Matthew Street. The Cavern. Round the corner, and there it is. The street with the club that helped launch the band that changed music. Just like that. We spent a few minutes watching a band at what we took to be the Cavern Club, but which we later discovered was The Cavern Pub. Either way it was cool in there, and very rammed. Before leaving for this trip I decided I didn't want to just do Beatles things, there has to be more to a massive city like Liverpool than one band. The only Beatles pilgrimage I really wanted to go on involved getting on a mini bus and visiting two houses, one a modest middle class place with a funny road name, and the other on a council estate. But if the trip was good enough for Bob Dylan...

More later

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