RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Eric Clapton – Planes, Trains and Eric
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rating: B+

I respect the heck out of Eric Clapton.  As a huge music fan and quasi-rock scribe, how could I not?  The guy has been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, and done it all again, and again, and again, and again.  When he turns 70, however, he ain’t doing it no more, or at least that’s what he says.  The issue is talked about with Clapton and his band during the interview sections that occur between songs on this Blu-Ray disc.  While many are hopeful he won’t retire from touring, Eric seems to have had enough of the travel.  He will likely do some live shows, but the days of his international touring conquests are likely relegated to history, and that’s what makes this concert film so pertinent.  This is a sneak peak behind the scenes and on the stage of what perhaps could be Clapton’s last huge tour, and certainly it is his last Far East and Middle East sojourn.

Clapton has been fairly tight-lipped with the press for the last few decades, so the interview sections are very interesting.  He is calm and cool and open with the interviewer, leaving the viewer/listener on the edge of his or her seat every time he opens his mouth.  There are other interviews with management, band members and the road crew, but let’s face it... Slowhand is the man of the hour.  The same can be said for the music that is performed on stage.  His band, which consists of Steve Gadd (drums); Paul Carrack (Hammond & vocals); Nathan East (bass & vocals); Chris Stainton (keyboards); Michelle John (backing vocals); Shar White (backing vocals) contains amazing musicians, but this film was created for the guy on the stage named Eric Clapton (guitar & vocals).  His voice is pure and his playing is top notch.  The set list covers most aspects of his career from the early days with “Crossroads,” to his ‘70s heyday with “I Shot the Sheriff,” to his love of the blues with “Hoochie Coochie Man,” to an acoustic version of the Derek & the Dominos hit “Layla,” to his 1980s comeback with “Pretending” and more. 

The music is amazing...  The band is out of the stratosphere, the stage set is cool, the acoustic solo numbers are spellbinding and the footage of rehearsals and soundchecks is cool as hell... and the interviews are even interesting!  The set list is solid, and the version of “Cocaine” is as good as that famous live version circa somewhere around 1979 or 1980 that is still played on classic rock radio somewhere every day... hell, every hour. 

There is footage of Japan with Clapton meeting with the famous music promoter Mr. Udo celebrating Eric’s 100th performance in that country, which demonstrates how music transcends culture and boundaries. That segment pretty much sums up what Clapton is all about.   He is not all about music; he is his music.  Eric Clapton was born to write, create and perform music.  In fact, there are very few who deserve the title of Living Legend; one who does is named Eric Clapton.  After viewing Planes, Trains and Eric, one hopes his band is correct and that he will stick around ‘on tour’ a few more years. 

1) Tell The Truth
2) Pretending
3) Crossroads
4) Driftin’
5) I Shot The Sheriff
6) Little Queen Of Spades
7) Layla
8) Wonderful Tonight
9) Key To The Highway
10) Before You Accuse Me
11) Tears In Heaven
12) Cocaine
13) Hoochie Coochie Man
14) High Time (Credits – Audio Only) 

By Jeb Wright