Three gigs on consecutive weekdays – something of a record, methinks. Friday, and to the Cambridge Corn Exchange for a token dose of modern pop’n’roll, with The Zutons. Their selling point is more than just the originality of a female sax player at the forefront: they’ve cracked the formula of the singalong quite comfortably, although after two albums’ worth, they may have to find a different approach to repeating the chorus several times with full backing, then stopping the music to chant the chorus (along with the audience) before crashing back in with the music again. Terrible sound (in a venue where I’ve heard good sound before) which meant that only the familiar songs were worth the admission fee. And yes, I did feel old.
Monday, and to the Albert Hall to catch one night of Eric Clapton’s annual residency there. When you play like EC, and have the quality of material, you can’t go wrong, although I felt eleven band members made it all just too complicated. But hey, I’m not complaining. How could you with a gig that finishes with Wonderful Tonight, Layla, Cocaine and Crossroads? Wow. Another “must-do” event ticked off life’s list
And finally, to The Junction in Cambridge on Tuesday for another act which was at its peak when I was in short trousers: the Average White Band. There may only be two of the original members left, but these guys can still really cut it. Long before Level 42 made white boys playing jazz-funk mainstream, AWB – from Scotland – had proved it’s all in the groove, not in your background. Rather neatly, they first came to prominence as support for Eric Clapton in his famous 1973 comeback gig. “Pick up the Pieces” sounds as if it could have been recorded yesterday, the sign of a true classic.