This two-CD set captures 29 of the performances from the Crossroads Festival last April in New York. Eric Clapton puts this festival together every two years to benefit his drug-treatment center, and usually it’s been outdoors. This year he moved the fireworks inside to Madison Square Garden and even included local boy Robert Cray, who contributes an excellent “Great Big Old House.”
The set is dynamite. It helps that Clapton plays with an intensity on his seven tracks that he often lacks on his tours. But what really makes the show come alive is the pairings of players. Clapton, for example, performs “Lay Down Sally” with country guitar player Vince Gill, and it’s a fabulous rendition.
His duet with Keith Richards on “Key to the Highway” is somewhat less successful, as their styles don’t mesh as well and Richards sounds off his game. But when Clapton joins the Allman Brothers Band for “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad,” the results are epic. There’s also a two-disc DVD release with a slightly different track listing. Any fan of guitar rock will want them both.