In 1969, Eric Clapton was already well established as a guitar god—if not the prime deity himself—while Steve Winwood had been cranking up his soulful voice, along with notable keyboard and guitar work, directing Traffic. Clapton's Cream had soured and Traffic was at a momentary standstill. So they went on Blind Faith, recruiting bassist Rick Grech from Family and drummer Ginger Baker, who had been in Cream with Clapton. Among the first supergroups, Blind Faith nevertheless fractured in less than a year after a single album and tour. Forty years later, Clapton and Winwood are sharing stages again, performing four of the six songs in the sparse Blind Faith catalog, along with nuggets from Traffic, their solo careers, and scattered covers of Jimi Hendrix and blues standards. Backed by bassist Willie Weeks, keyboardist Chris Stainton, and drummer Ian Thomas, Clapton and Winwood sound damn fine performing this now-classic repertoire on the double CD Live from Madison Square Garden, recorded a year ago when they returned to keeping the Faith in New York City. Expect the same here: consummate professionalism and a classically burnished sound, and if the sparks and highlights are somewhat predictable, they'll be thoroughly welcome all the same.
Thu., June 18, 8 p.m., 2009