Steve Winwood played The Hollywood Bowl September 14 with Mavis Staples! A great night. Steve has a new live 2 CD set out called WINWOOD GREATEST HITS LIVE. It’s very good quality.
Steve Winwood is often touring the US & Europe. Check SteveWinwood.com for more details.
Steve & Eric Clapton played concerts in London a few years ago. They played in Japan a couple years ago. Steve has a song on Steve Cropper's CD. Steve Winwood's new compilation ICON has a couple remixes and the music is from the 80's. Steve Winwood toured the eastern US with Santana. Steve played again at Eric Clapton's Blues Guitar fest in Chicago at the end of June 2010. Eric played guitar on a song on Steve's last new CD "NINE LIVES". Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton were nominated for Grammys for their live double CD set from Madison Square Garden. They ended their 14 city tour of the US on a perfect night at The Hollywood Bowl 6-30-09. They walked on the stage around 8:20 to the sound of cheering fans and without fanfare went into the very powerful "Had to Cry Today". The set was similar to the Madison Square Garden set with a few nice refinements like substituting an acoustic solo on the piano of "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" instead of "No Face, No Number". While it would have been nice to have seen "No Face, No Name, No Number" live "Low Spark" is one of Steve's signature songs. Even tho I've seen "Low Spark" performed with a band as many, many times, watching just Steve alone with the piano doing this song made the night very special. Another nice refinement was adding an acoustic "Layla" on which both guitarists were perfect but Steve stole the show as usual. Eric's guitar work on "Pearly Queen" made me think of what could have been possible if BLIND FAITH could have been allowed to exist longer than one tour, one album. Other highlights similar to the MSG video include "Voodoo Chile" on which Steve played with Hendrix on the original recording and of course the encore rock anthems "Cocaine" and "Dear Mr. Fantasy". Throughout the night Abe Laboriel Jr. beat the **** out of the drums. He is like a octopus & makes enough noise for two Ginger Bakers. Perhaps the best drummer in the world backing Eric and Steve gives you three wonders of the world. I wish they had made the MSG video with Abe. I have seen Abe with McCartney a few times and he is always amazing. With Willie Weeks on bass you can't go wrong. Was that Eric Idle on keyboards? No it was the great Chris Stainton who just looks a bit like Eric Idle. The backup singers Michelle John & Sharon White were needed for fill in on a few songs but as a purist they and even Eric could have sat out on singing the BLIND FAITH songs. When I saw BLIND FAITH almost exactly 40 years ago it was Steve's voice only and I usually like to hear things the way I heard them on the record. So is it going to be boys, another 40 years before you do it again? No, recently they have set tour dates in Europe. Caught up with Steve after the show at the after party. Eric had to leave right after the last show. I understand that as I like to leave work and go home when I'm done but Steve & his wife were very gracious. Steve signed a CD for a girl that was hangin' out with us and Steve shook our hands. Steve told me he has to concentrate on Europe for awhile as the Europians are feeling a bit left out as he has been spending so much time touring in the US. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood played Madison Square Garden on Feb. 25, 26 and 28, 2008. A Blu-Ray disc & 2 DVD & 2 CD set have been released of that event. Clapton & Winwood also played for Countryside Rocks at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, UK on 19 May 2007. They played songs that they originally played in Blind Faith as well as some other music. They also played together in Chicago on July 28, 2007 as part of the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2. The DVD of CROSSROADS 2 was released November 20, 2007.
The Somewhat Secret Spencer Symposium
In 2012 I happened to read about the Tribute to Americana: The British Invasion Rocks America Symposium at spencer-davis-group.com which was held on Catalina Island. On the boat on the way over to the island I was sitting isles across from a couple of guys talking about the symposium. The only way the one of them had heard about it was that Spencer’s wife had put up a poster about it at their workplace. Other people at the Catalina Island Museum Avalon Casino where the symposium was held told us they just stumbled on the symposium as they were walking by. Not much advertising had been done for this event.
It was the world premiere of a short film edited by the Museum which included band footage and interviews with Spencer. Then Martin Lewis introduced the panel which included: Spencer Davis, Mickey Dolenz, Emperor Rosko and Peter Asher. They covered many subjects including music origins, growing up listening to radio and watching TV and old movies. Spencer said he and the Beatles were music aficionados seeking out blues records in local record stores and sharing with other music aficionados like stamp collectors. It was a hobby for Spencer that became so much more and brought him to where he is today. It was part of the thrill of the chase to find new music and many musicians just enjoyed playing the new music for other musicians. The old story that the Beatles got blues records from sailors coming from America had been previously denied by the Beatles. During the question and answer period Spencer said if Steve had toured America with the original band they could have been as big as The Who or The Stones as they had that sound. Also a very young girl asked Mickey that because he was so funny if the producers of the Monkees ever asked him to tone it down and he said no they encouraged improvisation.
Following the symposium all the panel participants signed autographs. During the signing Spencer jokingly told Mickey that I was the President of the Steve Winwood fan club. I said “not really”. Mickey said “Oh, Chief Executive Officer then”. Spencer and Mickey are still as funny as ever.
Then it was on to the opening of the Spencer Davis exhibit in the museum. The opening was catered with great food and all the beer and wine you could drink. The exhibit includes many photos of the band and a few platinum record awards. One of the photos which had been hanging in the Davis household for many years was blown up to a huge canvas from floor to ceiling and it includes the children. One of my favorite photos in the exhibit has Spencer drinking a beer and Steve smoking a cigarette while reading what looks like a comic book. The exhibit runs through August 22. A concert with Spencer and the Catalina Island All Stars will take place on the 4th of July.
The Museum store had some items specially made for these events. I bought a CD with Spencer Davis and the Catalina Island All Stars which was put together by the Museum (probably from recent CD’s by the musicians living on the island that are in the newly formed band). Music from this CD is playing on my Classic Rock n Blues station on Live365.com. I also bought a poster of a young Spencer wearing a John Lennon t-shirt in front of American and British flags which was made to promote the 4th of July concert. http://www.spencer-davis-group.com/index.htm