In this Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019 Blu Ray review, I tell you everything you want to know about the concert. This article summarizes the guitar festival’s musical performance highlights and gives technical blu ray specifications, including audio and video quality.
If you like the Eric Clapton Crossroad Guitar Festival concert series, then you will enjoy this review.
Basic Overview Of The Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019 Blu Ray
The 2019 Crossroads guitar festival was recorded on September 20th and 21st at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, and released on November 20, 2020. The blu ray comes in a digipak with two disks and a booklet.
The running time is 269 minutes, during which you are treated to 43 performances. The concert was produced by James Pluta snd directed by Martyn Atkins. There are no bonus features available on this blu ray package.
The Crossroads Concert Series – A Little Background
In case you don’t know, Eric Clapton has done a series of guitar festivals as a charity event. The concert proceeds go to the Crossroads Center in Antigua that he founded in 1998. It is a drug dependency rehabilitation and educational center. Eric did the first crossroads concert in 1999, and others have followed in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013.
The Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019 Blu Ray Cover Art And “Crashocaster” Strat
The artwork for the front and rear covers and the inner panels of this blu ray package were all designed by the famous American graffiti artist Joh “Crash” Matos.
I like the artwork on the Blu Ray packaging, which is carried over onto the booklet included with the disks. Everything is artistically laid out and coordinated to make it the best-looking package of the Crossroad concert series.
Eric has used Crash’s graffiti art on his guitars from previous Crossroads guitar festivals and once again on the guitar he plays during this concert. The 2019 Crash guitar, better known as the “Crashocaster,” looks absolutely amazing, and I personally think it looks better than all the others that came before it.
A “mini-version” of the 2019 “Crashocaster” was designed by Axe Heaven to be given out as a promotional gift to VIPs attending the concert. It came in a guitar case that Eric signed and said, “Thanks for your support for the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019.” They were also being sold directly by Axe Heaven for $100.
Songs And Artists
Here is a list of the 43 songs and artists on the 2 blu ray disks. The same material is also available in the 2 DVD, 6 LP, and 3 CD versions of the concert. The introduction was done by the master of ceremonies Bill Murray. Bill seemed to portray the part of a burned-out elderly hippie whose snarky remarks often drew mixed feelings and even boos from the audience.
Blu Ray Disk 1
2. “Native Stepson” – Sonny Landreth
3. “Wonderful Tonight” – Eric Clapton & Andy Fairweather Low
4. “Lay Down Sally” – Eric Clapton & Andy Fairweather Low
5. “Million Miles” – Bonnie Raitt, Keb’ Mo’ & Alan Darby
6. “Son’s Gonna Rise” – Citizen Cope with Gary Clark Jr.
7. “Lait / De Ushuaia A La Quiaca” – Gustavo Santaolalla
8. “I Wanna Be Your Dog” – Doyle Bramhall II with Tedeschi Trucks Band
9. “That’s How Strong My Love Is” – Doyle Bramhall II with Tedeschi Trucks Band
10. “Lift Off” – Tom Misch
11. “Cognac” – Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang
12. “Everything Is Broken” – Sheryl Crow & Bonnie Raitt
13. “Every Day Is a Winding Road” – Sheryl Crow with James Bay
14. “Retrato” – Daniel Santiago & Pedro Martins
15. “B-Side” – Kurt Rosenwinkel with Pedro Martins
16. “Baby, Please Come Home” – Jimmie Vaughan with Bonnie Raitt
17. “How Long” – The Marcus King Band
18. “Goodbye Carolina” – The Marcus King Band
19. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – Peter Frampton with Eric Clapton
20. “Space for the Papa” – Jeff Beck
21. “Big Block” – Jeff Beck
22. “Caroline, No” – Jeff Beck
Blu Ray Disk 2
23. “Cut Em Loose” – Robert Randolph
24. “Hold Back the River” – James Bay
25. “When We Were on Fire” – James Bay
26. “Mas y Mas” – Los Lobos
27. “Am I Wrong?” – Keb’ Mo’
28. “Slow Dancing In a Burning Room” – John Mayer
29. “How Blue Can You Get?” – Tedeschi Trucks Band
30. “Shame” – Tedeschi Trucks Band
31. “Is Your Love Big Enough” – Lianne La Havas
32. “I Say a Little Prayer” – Lianne La Havas
33. “Feed the Babies” – Gary Clark Jr.
34. “I Got My Eyes on You (Locked & Loaded)” – Gary Clark Jr.
35. “Pearl Cadillac” – Gary Clark Jr.
36. “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” – Vince Gill with Albert Lee & Jerry Douglas
37. “Tulsa Time” – Vince Gill with Albert Lee, Bradley Walker, Albert Lee & Jerry Douglas
38. “Drifting Too Far From The Shore” – Bradley Walker with Vince Gill, Albert Lee & Jerry Douglas
39. “Badge” – Eric Clapton
40. “Layla” – Eric Clapton with John Mayer & Doyle Bramhall II
41. “Purple Rain” – Eric Clapton & Ensemble
42. “High Time We Went” – Eric Clapton & Ensemble
Musical Performance Highlights
There are simply too many great performance moments to mention them all but here are some of the real highlights.
Sonny opened the show (on the Blu Ray) with “Native Stepson.” His slide guitar style is nothing short of amazing! Bill Murray introduced him as “The sultan of the slide guitar.” He had what looked like a Seymour Duncan Hot Rales pickup in the bridge position of his guitar.
This dude played an incredible piece of classic music (“Lait/De Ushuaia A La Quiaca”) on a fascinating-looking musical instrument. Check it out!
Robert did a great job on “I Shiver.” I wish he would have chosen a tune that showed off his soloing ability a little more. I love his trademark twin Matchless Amp setup. He also played his Fender Artist Series Robert Cray strat.
Marcus King Band
Marcus really rips it up with a Tele and an Orange Amp (among others). This guy is unbelievable! Nice horn section.
Robert did the song “Cut Em Loose.” One of the first things you notice is how tight his band sounds. I really love the way he uses distortion on his lap steel guitar!
Los Lobos really belted out their patented brand of “Mex-Rock” with one of their big hits, “Mas Y Mas.” Check out how well the drums sync up with the bass guitar to create a unique vibe.
Tedeschi Trucks Band
The band dedicates this song to the memory of B.B. King, and Derek Trucks does the best imitation of a B.B. solo that I’ve ever heard! You’ve got to see and hear this one to believe it.
Eric Clapton’s Acoustic Set
Eric Played a great acoustic set with Andy Fairweather Low and Nathan East. Nathan sounded great on his electric acoustic bass guitar. The set included wonderful Tonight and Lay Down Sally, two of Clapton’s most popular tunes.
Bonnie Raitt, Sherly Crow, And Jimmy Vaughn
Bonnie fingerpicked the tune “Million Miles” with Keb’ Mo’ playing smoking hot blues riffs! Bonnie also did “Everything Is Broken” with Sheryl Crow (check out the tall dude playing an SG through a Bad Cat amp – amazing stuff!). On the tune “Baby Please Come Home,” Jimmy Vaughn pulls off his trademark staccato licks while Bonnie plays some slide guitar that will knock your socks off!
Citizen Cope And Gary Clark Jr.
Citizen Cope got some help from Gary on his tune “Son’s Gonna Rise.” They really sounded great together! The contrast of their two totally diverse styles really made the song pop.
Doyle Bramhall II And The Tedeschi Trucks Band
Check out the ranchy “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” where Derek Trucks plays killer slide guitar. The three-piece brass section sounds excellent!
Buddy Guy And Jonny Lang
Buddy and Jonny did a fantastic rendition of “Cognac.” It was a shame that Jeff Beck didn’t join them since the original version was done by Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, and Keith Richards!
Eric Clapton With John Mayer And Doyle Bramhall II
Eric closes out the show with “Badge” and his classic tune “Layla.” It was a real treat to hear him do the electric version of Layla since he seems to favor the acoustic rendition these days.
The Encore – Eric Clapton And The All-Star Ensemble
Eric returns one last time with as many artists as he can fit on stage to play “Purple Rain” as a tribute to Prince and his new go-to show-closer, “High Time We Went.” There are not enough amps on stage for all the guitar players, so it’s amusing to watch them unplug and hand off a guitar cable to the next person to play a solo.
There is plenty of backstage footage that is shown during the actual concert. The footage is short and does not detract significantly from what’s happening on-stage. It’s interesting to see the inner workings of a musical production of that size.
Special moments like guitar solos are not really interrupted to any extent. If you’ve ever seen the Black Sabbath “The Last Supper” DVD, then you know what I’m talking about with the multiple cutaways to an interview when Tony Iommi is doing guitar solos.
Stage Setup And Appearance
The stage has a high-tech backdrop with geometrically arranged rectangular areas that light up and change colors. In the middle is a multi-aspect screen that is used for highlighting particular singers, players taking a solo, and quick shots of the audience. It’s not too flashy, and the crew uses it tastefully, so it doesn’t detract from what’s actually going on with the music.
If you are a “gear head,” then you will love picking out all the custom shop guitars and boutique amps. Most of the performances give a glimpse at the multi-effects boards that the guitarists are using but not close enough to pick things out clearly.
Audio Specifications And Quality
The soundtrack is encoded in high-definition DTS 5.1 and stereo LPCM 2.0. The high def recording sounds great! It is professionally mixed, has good sound imaging, and a “live” feeling that makes you think you are at the concert. The stereo track sounds very clear and would be the go-to option for viewing on a TV without a soundbar or digital sound processing unit.
Video Specifications And Quality
The video is high definition MPEG-4 AVC. It was pro-shot in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in a resolution of 1080p. The video looks crisp and clear in almost every scene. It pairs well with the audio quality. Multiple camera angles are frequently used. Sometimes the wrong musician is spotlighted instead of the person taking a solo but not excessively so.
My Favorite Moments
My two favorite moments in the show were definitely Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton performing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and the Jeff Beck set.
Eric Clapton And Peter Frampton
The Clapton and Frampton rendition of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was nothing less than phenomenal! Eric first did the guitar solo on the original recording that George Harrison wrote, which appeared on the Beatles 1968 double album “The Beatles.” Peter Frampton started as a pop star turned guitar slinger and is a fabulous player.
Eric and Peter each play separate solo parts and then come together to solo in unison. Peter’s guitar work is very emotional, with searing solo passages that really fit well into the song’s melody. Eric displays his usual total mastery of the guitar that reminds everyone of the well-known phrase “Clapton Is God” and why he was chosen to do the original version in the first place.
Jeff Beck’s Set
Jeff Beck followed Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton. Bill Murray introduces Beck and aptly points out he’s the only guy with the chops to be the next act. He came on-stage with Vinnie Colaiuta on Drums, Rhonda Smith on Bass, and Vanessa Freebairn-Smith on cello.
Jeff did a three-song set, opening it with several bars of “Space For The Papa” to remind everyone that he can play techno and anything else you can think of.
It wasn’t long before Jeff launched into one of his most in-your-face rockers, “Big Block,” which instantly filled the arena with his trademark flash.
For me, the best song of the set was his version of the Beach Boys Caroline, No, during which Beck and Vanessa both played hauntingly beautiful solo parts that were interwoven like a fine tapestry.
Here is a video of Jeff with his band playing “Caroline, No.”
For more info about Jeff see Jeff Beck’s Guitar Style – The Guitar Player’s Guitarist!
What I didn’t Like
The video footage is missing some key musicians that participated in the show, like Billy Gibbons and Joe Walsh. They were both reported to be scheduled to take part in surprise artist collaborations. When you see Billy backstage, you expect to see him in the next set or at least somewhere in the show.
Billy and Joe could have been included instead of some of the less well-known artists that made it onto the recording. I realize that Eric likes to help up-and-coming musicians that he feels have potential, which is a testament to the well-known fact that he is an awesome individual.
Everyone, of course, wanted to see Eric Clapton do something with Jeff Beck. These two titans, who both played in The Yardbirds, never seem to be able to make it happen even though they are together in the same building! Come on, guys, give us what we are dying to see!
You can see Eric and Jeff play two songs together in the Jeff Beck – Live at Ronnie Scott’s 2007 concert, available on Blu Ray and DVD, where they perform “Little Brown Bird” and “You Need Love,” with spectacular efforts on both their parts. Jeff and Eric also played together with Jimmy Page (all three Yardbirds) at The ARMS Ronnie Lane charity concerts for multiple sclerosis done in 1983.
I would also like to see a wider variety of artists chosen as headliners, but Eric makes it no secret in saying, “I’m only inviting people that I like.” It does get a little tedious, even though the song material is always different. A little more variety might go a long way to boost sales for his charitable foundation as well.
Final Thoughts On The Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019 Blu Ray Edition
I think that the Blu Ray edition of this guitar festival was one of the best, if not THE best, in the series. Every performance and musical collaboration was outstanding, each in its own way. I would highly recommend that you see this concert and each of the other concerts in this series.
It’s too bad that the recorded material on these disks only represents a fraction of the music actually played live! There has been some talk online about releasing supplementary tracks, but there is nothing concrete set to happen in this regard.
I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment and hope to see some more new faces in the headliner department.
Tell Us What You Think
Please let us know what’s on your mind in the comment section, or if there is anything I can help you with.
- Have you seen Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2019?
- Did you see it at home or were you actually at the concert?
- Did you enjoy the concert?
- Who are your favorite guitar players or bands in this concert?
- Would you buy this Blu Ray after reading this article?
For info about when Eric used a Telecaster, see Best Telecaster Players – These Tele Masters Will Shock You!