Eric Clapton Is God, but Steve Winwood Is Not

The good news: God is coming — soon. The bad news: He's bringing Steve Winwood.

The good news: He smites with guitar instead of cricket plagues. The bad news: He won't be smiting the Jonas Brothers.

The good news: "After Midnight." The bad news: "Higher Love."

Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton

The good news: You don't have to be on Peter's "list" to get in. The bad news: You'll probably pay a scalper more than $100 to get in.

The good news: Rumor has it he's resurrected Blackie, his favorite guitar. The bad news: Insert "Tears in Heaven" joke here.

The bad news: Those who pass through the gates will find themselves in Glendale. The good news: People will be smoking pot. A lot of it.

The good news: God will be playing "Layla." The bad news: Steve Freaking Winwood.

So, yes, it's a reunion for Eric Clapton — long ago anointed "God" by a London hood using spray paint on a subway wall — and Steve Winwood, who is known simply as "Steve Winwood." It's been 40 years since the two men formed Blind Faith, and in its current iteration, the duo truly shows us the two faces of geezer rock. Clapton represents the noble side: serious guitar skills topped with serious songwriting that only occasionally is appropriate for the soundtrack to a John Travolta movie. When he collaborates, it's with Elton John, B.B. King, or Jeff Beck.

Winwood is the dark side. Yes, there was "Gimme Some Lovin,'" and a few other gems back in the '60s, but since then, he's been focused on writing pap cravenly designed to top the charts. Now it's been about 30 years since he's recorded anything worth listening to.

But both men have records to pimp — Clapton has an upcoming collaboration with J.J. Cale, and Winwood is pushing his Nine Lives — so why not hit the road together?

I'll admit that I haven't listened to Nine Lives — primarily because it's a Steve Winwood album. I have heard the first single, "Dirty City," which features Clapton. It was just enough to know better than to waste any money or time on the rest. It was heavy on the bongos, light on the rock, and seemed like much more of a Winwood song than what I would hope to hear Clapton writing.

But if Eric Clapton thinks it's worthwhile to go on tour with this caliber of musician, then that's his call. Winwood has been whining for years that Blind Faith never reached its true potential, that there was so much more they could have done, that he's spent years trying to recapture the magic. Maybe Clapton just decided to throw him a bone.

The reviews have been positive. Even in their 60s, these guys have stamina. Clapton hasn't lost anything, playing with all the power he ever had and the maturity to dial the intensity back as necessary. The set lists have focused more on the early-era work and Winwood, understandably committed to rekindling the flame that he let die 40 years ago, has been highlighting his early work and mercifully neglecting the blue-eyed soul chapter of his repertoire. That passes for the good news to me.

 
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18 comments
david.o
david.o

What a load of rubbish. Find some other topic to write about.

Bennythebr
Bennythebr

I first saw steve at the Big Apple club in Munich in 1965. He was 17, one year younger than me. He played a creme colored Strat, a Hammond B3 and sang like no Brit I have ever heard. As a guitarist of 40 years experience and as a film composer, it is my schooled opinion that Steve is God. I love Eric, but believe that Cream hype created an overating for Mr.Clapton that to his fortune exist today as a legacy of dishonest rock fantacy.

Felix
Felix

you are probably the most retarded person to ever write a public commentary on the music of steve winwood. Are you kidding me? Steve is a phenomenal singer, superb guitarist, extraordinary song writer and one of the most humble person I ever had the chance to come across!So go back to your cave, listen to Steve's entire musical career and return with a shameful apology.

PS: It might be worth considering why Eric absolutely adores Steve and loves to play live as well as record music with him

Nickrosefield
Nickrosefield

You twat. Gimme some loving and a few others? How about the entire Traffic back catalogue. If anything, Clapton represents the appalling muso tendancy and Winsoon the true soul. Twat.

judy brewer
judy brewer

steve winwood,great voice,great music,you clueless fag. long live s.w.

guest
guest

you're a moron

Glen Norris
Glen Norris

Yes Brian Bardwell! You have colossally miss the point. Eric Clapton has written...I am co wrote: "Change the World" (Yawn) Oh, Yes, and those countless other awesome songs in recent years. Why no luv for the steve. I mean he can see, play guitar, organ, keyboards, and drums, yet you Brian Bardwell dismiss him as if he is some pop flaw. Shame on you. You really don't know your music, do you? Do you write music reviews for a living? Wow! Good luck with that.

Eric
Eric

There is really no defense for this article. Total trash. It's sad that someone like this even gets hits.

Jen
Jen

I seriously hope you saw last night's show and are still trying to get your foot out of your mouth or finish eating this morning's crow that was for breakfast. You obviously have no knowledge of Winwood's career, hence no knowledge of the superb, peerless musician that he is. Did you HEAR his guitar work on Voodoo Chile, Had to Cry Today, etc.? I hope you got a little musical education last night and have a newfound awareness of Steve Winwood the musician. While his career may have taken a more under the radar course than Clapton's (save for the mid to late 1980's), I'm sure Steve would tell you that suits him just fine, as he has taken to writing/producing the music he wants to make.

Dark side? Please...Winwood definitely shined some light on the crowd last night in Phoenix, a crowd that, from my vantage point, was more than happy to experience it (pot or no pot!).

Rafael
Rafael

The column was written by a fucking idiot...

The collaboration between Winwood and Clapton last nigt was better than the individual shows I've seen over the past few years. This synergy, alongwith the rich catalogs each musician has to offer, proved to be a treat not to betaken lightly. The sound was perfect, the stage fairly simple and the musicians/singers accomplished.

Winwoodhandled his green strat admirably and with confidence, especially standing next to The Clapton. When sittin gbetween his Hammond and Leslie, he provided that Winwood sound that he is so famous for. The solo rendition of Georgia on my mind was fantastic.

Clapton was a lot more loose and in control thatn he has been on recent tours. Without Bramhall and Trucks to carry a signiicant load he drove. When the band launched into Hendrix Voodo Chile the magic was on....

Next time New Times is goig to have someone write a column about music, make sure the writer knows what the fuck he is writing about.

Karl
Karl

Really missed the mark on this one....great show last night!

Craig
Craig

You are a hack and obviously don't have a clue as to what you are talking about. Steve Winwood is a very gifted musician and vocalist and his work in Traffic and Blind Faith solidifies a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The reason why Eric is playing with him is because Winwood is a musician's musician. If you knew anything about music (actually went to a show or did a little research) you would have surely recognized that. Why don't you try putting a little more effort into your job or go back to flipping burgers.

don
don

you are a fuckin idiot

NO1UKNOW
NO1UKNOW

Brian, I'm glad you don't consider yourself a legitimate critic or journalist. Did Steve steal your girlfriend or something?

Goldy
Goldy

Bongos??? I really hope you end up at concert because you have no idea what your even talking about and I'm certain after seeing SW play you'll be eating your Bongo words..what planet have you been living on..your article was boring too

Duke
Duke

What a sophomoric piece of trash. I saw the concert in Denver and it was fantastic. By the way, when did you exceed Winwood's career and where is your bank? You are a tiny piece of crap that needs to go back to bagging groceries and stay away from a keyboard.

karen
karen

you are an idiot.

jack
jack

Yet more proof how underappreciated SW is. Why don't you wait till after the show to tell everyone how bad it (was) will be. Moron.

 
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