Review: Classic Clapton, Auden Theatre, Holt

Classic Clapton

Auden Theatre, Holt

He looks, plays and sings like the guitar legend they call Slow Hand.

But the Geordie accent, and the fact you are not taking out a second mortgage for a ticket to see him as a speck in a giant arena, are reminders that this is a tribute band - but a good one.

For fans of the mighty Eric this was a cheaper and certainly cheerful way of listening to the maestro's songs and riffs from across his career as Mike Hall and his band combined the hits with warm humour, some lessons for the less-informed and some singalong opportunities with some of the catchier numbers.

Classic Clapton have been going more than 20 years, and their show to an appreciative 200-strong crowd in the intimate Auden arena, cherrypicked styles and tunes from roots blues to his rockier years.

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Highlights of the 'quieter' moments were the emotional Tears in Heaven which featured some lush liquid bass from Dave Robson, and the novelty kazoo work on San Francisco Bay Blues.

Switching from his 'Blackie' Fender Stratocaster to a warm-toned Gibson 335 Hall impressed with Freddie King's rhythm and blues instrumental Hideaway, saying it was Clapton's version which hooked him into his music.

The band, with Paul Warren's howling Hammond keyboard and Danny Davison's tight drumming, rattled through the big hits and after delivering Layla returned for a community singing Tulsa Time.

It earned a big hand for a faux but fun Slow Hand - and there is a chance to see the band back in Norfolk next year at Diss Corn Hall on March 8.

Richard Batson

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