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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : An Intimate Evening of Blues With Eric Clapton

November 14, 1994|STEVE HOCHMAN

It took a middle-aged Englishman to do it, but the House of Blues really lived up to its name over the weekend. If Eric Clapton's all-blues show at the Forum the previous week was dazzling, it was transcendent on Friday in the first of three nights in the cozier confines of the Sunset Strip nightclub.

Though Clapton played virtually the same set as at the Forum, the intimacy of the smaller room (with a tables-and-chairs configuration limiting the capacity to 675) allowed him and his band to dig deeper into the nuances of the wide range of Chicago and Delta blues. Clapton took full advantage of the opportunity, especially in his guitar playing, emotionally exploring a fretboard vocabulary that may be unrivaled.

Where he didn't take advantage of the setting was in non-musical communication, missing an opportunity to share personal stories about the songs and the blues. But then, the smile on his face as he finished the show with a frisky, piano-accompanied "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do" spoke volumes.

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