Eric Clapton Hosts Crossroads Guitar Festival in Los Angeles, Pays Tribute to Robbie Robertson

September 26, 2023
Eric Clapton Hosts Crossroads Guitar Festival in Los Angeles, Pays Tribute to Robbie Robertson

Photo Credit: Bill Kelly

Over the weekend, Eric Clapton hosted the Crossroads Guitar Festival at Arena in Los Angeles. Over the course of two days, the gathering boasted a slew of memorable moments, from rare performances to sought-after collaborations and more. Amongst the high points was a special tribute to Robbie Robertson, who was billed to participate in the gathering prior to his August 2023 passing. 

The homage to the original member of The Band occurred on Sunday, September 24, and took place at the top of Clapton’s set as takes on the Canadian rock group staple material like“The Shape I’m In” and “It Makes No Difference.” Covers continued to unfold during Clapton’s stage time and included Charles Segar’s “Key to the Highway,” The Wailers’ “I Shot The Sherif,” an acoustic take on Jimmy Cox’s “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” and Derek and the Dominos’ classic “Layla.” 

After another acoustic rendition featuring “Tears in Heaven,” Clapton welcomed fellow guest Stephen Stills to the stage for his original “Love The One You’re With.” After taking on the ensuing “Littles Queens of Spade,” Clapton welcomed Stevie Wonder up to assist on “Cross Road Blues.” 

Following Clapton’s stage time, Santana delivered a set that stretched just over an hour and featured a plethora of favored material like “Soul Sacrifice,” “Evil Ways,” “Oye Como Va,” and more. Two songs featured assistance from special guest John McLaughlin, who added to John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” and his own song, “Marbles.” After a few more numbers, including “Smooth,” Clapton arrived, helping with Black Magic Woman and The Door’s “Roadhouse Blues.” Watch below.

Also included on yesterday’s lineup were Gary Clark Jr., Samantha Fish, Los Lobos, Robert Randolph, Keb’Mo’ with Taj Mahal, Marcus King, Sheryl Crow, Citizen Cope, Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, and more. Notably, Saturday’s event boasted a rare appearance from the John Mayer Trio. During their set, the group performed “Vultures,” “Gravity,” and covered The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Wait Until Tomorrow” before debuting Jerry Garcia’s “They Love Each Other.” The last time, the group joined up from the 2023 edition of Love Rocks in New York City.