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Frank Sinatra
October 15, 1994
Eric Clapton
October 14, 1995

Some Concert Reviews

The United Center

Chicago, IL

Reviews by:
The Dude on the Right,
The Dude on the Left,
& The Mystery Dude
The Dude on the Right
We have quite a bit this week, so come on along for the ride. First from myself, I've got a review of the Frank Sinatra show last week, and even though I didn't get to go to the Eric Clapton show, I've got the next best thing - a review of his latest album. Then, a couple of guests arrive. Well, we have The Dude in the Middle who, because he loves Clapton sooo much, paid a scalper to get a ticket to the show (and you wonder why we keep our anonymity), and he comes with his review and a review from The Dude on the Outside who begged and pleaded to be able to review Sinatra too. Then of course, there's always my partner, The Dude on the Left. So, enough dilly-dallying, here we go.

Well, we'll start with me. Frank Sinatra - The Chairman of the Board - or as I call him, God. Maybe not the God, but a God. Well, he brought his retro-flashback show to the new worst place to see a concert, the United Center. It's a damn good thing I knew the words to the songs, because the muffled echoes of the UC Cave sure as hell didn't do Frank proud. In a little over an hour show (hey, it's frank Sinatra and he's older than many of your grandparents), Mr. Sinatra paid tribute to the writers and composers who, as he put it, have gotten old and fat and just sit on their duffs all day instead of writing good music. Some classics like "I've Got the World on a String," "I've Got You Under my Skin," and "Is it the Real McCoy" kept the crowd, which I was definitely under-dressed to be hangin' with, tapping their toes, humming along, and with "The Best is Yet to Come," the crowd got the best of what was to come with a rousing ending of "New York, New York," and "My Kind of Town." Although the man's voice may crack a little, and he just can't hit the high notes as long, his voice still rings grand. Instead of the high note, he hits a short low, and instead of the lengthy hold, he throws in a break. It still can stop your heart.

Well, in case you didn't guess, Frank Sinatra gets TWO THUMBS UP!!! And as Frank raised his glass high, I can now always say that I toasted with the one and only true Chairman of the Board.

Now on to Clapton, Eric Clapton that is. Well, unfortunately not able to see him, I thought I would do the next best thing and that's give a quick review of his latest album. It's entitled "From the Cradle" and I have two words for anyone who likes great blues, a great tribute to some classics, and some great guitar work - Buy It.

Finally, Clapton comes into his own, playing what his roots always begged him to play. There's no "After Midnight," no "Cocaine," just the blues, plain and simple. It's funny, as I sat there listening, at least on some tracks, like "How Long," I could just see Clapton, sitting on a corner at the old Maxwell Street, guitar in hand and brimmed hat on his head, playing his guitar to anyone who would listen. It's the blues, and about the only fault I can find, but I guess seeing him live is the only way to really see him let loose, is the lack of any truly, get down on your knees and praise, guitar solos.

The album is a refreshing change from anything mainstream, doing what you really want to do, and I guess that's where the inspiration really is. It gets TWO THUMBS UP from me. And now, a word from The Mystery Dude.

The Mystery Dude
Eric Clapton and his all Blues Tour blew the top off the new United Center Friday, October 21, 1994. Clapton started the show by saying it was great to be playing the blues in Chicago. He began his set on a 12 string acoustic guitar with a healthy rendition of "Motherless Child". He followed with two more acoustic blues tunes, Robert Johnson's, "Malted Milk" and Leroy Carr's, "How Long Blues". Clapton then plugged in the first of his many electric guitars of the evening for "Kid Man Blues". The sound inside the United Center was good for the first three acoustic songs, but seemed murky at the beginning of the first electric one. This murkiness cleared up by the song's end, and the sound seemed to improve throughout the night. Clapton did a fine rendition of Howlin' Wolf's ".44 Blues" complete with a bass drum accenting the song. Unfortunately there may never be another voice like the Wolf's, but Clapton made a try at singing in his deepest voice. Harpest Jerry Portnoy had a fine solo in Jimmy Roger's "Blues All Night Long". Muddy Water's "Standin' Around Crying" and "Hoochie Coochie Man" were next followed by inspired renditions of Elmore James' "Blues before Sunrise" and "It Hurts Me Too". Pictures of each legendary Blues artists appeared on the video screen at the end of every song to pay tribute to where this fine music came from.

The show seemed to shift into yet a higher gear with Eddie Boyd's "Third Degree" as the Clapton and the band's playing became more intense. The horn section made their first appearance of the evening on "Reconsider Baby" and stayed on stage for the remainder of the set. Clapton played one of his many amazing solos in Freddie King's "Some Day After a While" that brought the capacity crowd to its feet. Billy Myles' "Have you Ever Loved a Woman" brought a smile to many faces as a peek into Clapton's Derek and the Dominos past. Clapton's versions of Albert King's "Cross Cut Saw" and "Born Under a Bad Sign" remind us all of how we miss this one of the Three Kings. The crowd was excited to hear what sounded like "Willie and the Hand Jive", only to be surprised to see it turn into "Crossroads". Clapton ended the set with Bessy Smith's "Ain't Nobody's Business" accompanied only by pianist Chris Stainton, with the remainder of the band joining in for the final minute. After a thunderous applause Clapton and his band returned with Jimmie Vaughn for a rousting version of the favorite "Sweet Home Chicago". And so, I, The self-proclaimed Dude in the Middle, give Eric Clapton TWO HUGE, WHOPPIN' BIG THUMBS UP!

And that was it from our guest. Wish I could have seen Clapton too, but, oh well. That wraps it up for me, stay tuned for The Dude on the Left and The Dude on the Outside. Party Smart, and as always, Rellim Reeb, Rellim Reeb!!

The Dude on the Left
How do everyone. Boy is this turning in to the crem de la crem of articles, eh? We have guests, we have reviews, we have commentary, and we have everything. Best is that we are even getting paid for this.

Well, let me move on to the topic of the week, or at least the band of the week. And the band this week was Keith Eric and Waterhouse. And for all you cry babies out there, they were a reggae band, not the norm rock type band. Although in this reviewers not so humble opinion, I think that the programming people who do the Bog do a fine job of mixing up the variety of bands that come into the Bog. Granted they are the same variety every semester, but hey gotta bitch about something right?

Keith Eric and Waterhouse have been here on numerous other occasions and seeing that this article is chalk full of very new stuff I will let you utilize your library and dig up an old review of them becuz that is exactly what you would have seen in the Bog this past Thursday.

And now a word from our sponsors, or The Dude on the Outside even.

Frank (don't call me Francis) Albert Sinatra put on quite the show Saturday at the new United Center (more on the United Center later). Man does Frank have a great gig or what? He gets to hang out, drink and sing Sinatra tunes. Hell when I do that I normally get thrown out of the bar. My high point of the show had to be My Way. It gave me the chills to hear him sing it live. His voice sounded great, and he seemed to have the energy of a man half his age. By the time I'm his age I just hope I'm not in Depends, and drooling on myself in a home somewhere. He ending the night with New York, New York and My Kind of Town, which really got the crowd fired up. Well Frank get two thumbs up from me, and that's not just because he threatened to have them broken if I didn't.

Don Rickles opened the show with a refreshingly politically incorrect act. He offended just about everyone, Jews, Blacks, Italians, Polish, Catholics..... It's nice to see someone who could care less what people think as long as he gets some laughs. Don get one thumb up from me.

Now for (quite) a few words about the United Caverns uh Center. Cavernous, for lack of a better word, sums it up the sound pretty well. I hate to say it but it make the Horizon sound good. One can tell it was designed to amplify crowd noise for sporting events, and it does a great job of that, but for music it just doesn't cut it. Some other random thoughts on the United Center. With all the sky box lights on it was way too bright during the show, and during the opening act, they left the house lights on (or was that just a reflection off Rickles' head??). It feels a little like a shopping mall inside, (although I could find the Gap anywhere) until you take the stairs to the cheap seats. Then I felt like I was in an employees only area. The sight lines are ok, and the balcony should be a nice place to watch a Hawks game (if there ever is any hockey). I really felt under dressed, even with my bag on, it's the weekend lose the ties guys, relax and enjoy the show. (stepping off soap box now....)

Oh well, until next time I'm called upon to dust off the old brown bag, Hang Loose, Peace and see yuh at the show.


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