Two years ago, Eric Clapton hinted at retiring from touring, telling Rolling Stone, "When I'm 70, I'll stop. I won't stop playing or doing one-offs, but I'll stop touring, I think."
Well, Clapton is 71 now, and he's staying true to his word. He's just announced a handful of new live dates for 2017, but that's exactly what it is—a handful, not a tour.
Clapton—along with special guests Jimmie Vaughan and Gary Clark Jr.—will play two shows at New York's Madison Square Garden (March 19 and 20) and two shows at The Forum in Los Angeles (March 25 and 26). These dates join his three previously announced Royal Albert Hall shows in May. You can see all seven dates below.
His band for the March shows will include keyboardists Walt Richmond and Chris Stainton, drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Nathan East and vocalists Sharon White and Michelle John. Wording from the shows' promotional materials describe them as "A Celebration of 50 Years of Music." We assume this means he won't be playing anything from before 1966, when two of his most important "guitar albums" were released: John Mayall's Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton and Cream's Fresh Cream.
The announcement comes as something of a surprise. Back in June, Clapton revealed he was suffering incurable damage to his nervous system; the condition apparently leaves him struggling to play guitar.
"I’ve had quite a lot of pain over the last year," he told Classic Guitar magazine. "It started with lower back pain and turned into what they call peripheral neuropathy, which is where you feel like you have electric shocks going down your leg. And I’ve had to figure out how to deal with some other things from getting old. Because I’m in recovery from alcoholism and addiction to substances, I consider it a great thing to be alive at all. By rights I should have kicked the bucket a long time ago. For some reason, I was plucked from the jaws of hell and given another chance.”
‘I can still play. I mean, it’s hard work sometimes, the physical side of it—just getting old, man, is hard'," added Clapton, who appears on the Rolling Stones' new album, Blue & Lonesome, which will be released this Friday.
A ticket pre-sale for Chase customers runs from noon EST December 1 through 11:59 p.m. EST December 2 via Ticketmaster. The general-public sale begins 10 a.m. local time December 3.
Eric Clapton 2017 Live Dates (So Far)
March 19 - New York @ Madison Square Garden
March 20 - New York @ Madison Square Garden
March 25 - Los Angeles @ The Forum
March 26 - Los Angeles @ The Forum
May 22 - London @ Royal Albert Hall
May 24 - London @ Royal Albert Hall
May 25 - London @ Royal Albert Hall
Below, check out Clapton's latest official video, a performance of "Wonderful Tonight" from his just-released album, Live in San Diego, which was shot and recorded in 2007.