The fifth installment of Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival took place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas this past weekend, September 20-21.
As would be expected from a show that featured Billy Gibbons, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Joe Walsh, Bonnie Raitt, Derek Trucks and Gary Clark Jr. among others, the electric guitar highlights were many.
One of those standout moments came on the first night, at the end of Peter Frampton’s three-song set, when the guitar legend welcomed Clapton himself for a rendition of the Beatles’ White Album classic, While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
Clapton, of course, lent his guitar skills to the original, while Frampton recorded his own version for his 2003 album, Now, and has made the song a staple of his current farewell tour.
While Frampton handles the lead vocal and main guitar solos here, the real treat comes roughly five minutes in, when he and Clapton begin to trade off lead licks, leading to an explosive guitar climax. Great stuff.
Frampton can be seen playing his legendary ’54 Les Paul during the performance, while Clapton strode out with an unusual guitar – a new “Crashocaster” painted by graffiti artist John “Crash” Matos, who has finished several guitars for Clapton over the past two decades.
Regarding the guitar, created especially for the Crossroads Festival, Matos explained to Where's Eric!, “The new idea came about by chance. I was looking at some old ideas from the mid-Eighties involving the dripping tags, which we did using very watery inks or paints.
"So when Eric asked me to create something new, I was already in the mindset, and I went with it. As always I tend to hide imagery and letters in my work, creating hidden meaning, such as Jasper Johns, the American painter. And as usual, I am not shy with colors, so I went with bright and bold colors.”
Regarding the Crossroads performance, Frampton noted onstage that, amazingly, the While My Guitar Gently Weeps duet marked the first time he and Clapton had ever paired up. “It’s been a dream of mine for many, many years, decades, and I can’t believe it’s gonna happen right now,” he said.
“But I’m going to invite out a friend I’ve known a long time but we’ve never played together – Mr. Eric Clapton.”