June 26, 2010 was a scorching Saturday in Bridgeview, Illinois as Toyota Park, home to the Chicago Fire Soccer Team, was converted into a guitar enthusiasts Mecca, as it was the site of Eric Clapton’s third-ever Crossroads Guitar Festival. The all-day festival featured such a wide range of talent including long time blues legends, rock gods, modern virtuosos, younger rising forces in the blues realm and everything in between. Few people have experienced such an event that has featured performances by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, ZZ Top, B.B. King, Derek Trucks, Sheryl Crow, Susan Tedeschi and Buddy Guy all in one concert, and now everyone has an opportunity to relive the ultimate guitar lover’s dream on the two DVD Crossroads Guitar Festival.
A must have for music connoisseurs, the DVDs include un-replicable performance, intimate backstage footage, while taking you on a journey through generations of blues music and guitar work brought to life by some of the world’s greatest guitarists. Interviews and with musicians like Doyle Bramhall II, Hubert Sumlin, and Bert Jansch give extraordinary insight into the history and evolution of music that equally inspired many of the musicians at the festival.
The first disc highlights standout performances from Robert Randolph and the Family Band, ZZ Top, Robert Cray featuring Hubert Sumlin and the John Mayer Trio. To see Hubert Sumlin full of life amongst many younger guitarists shows a direct passing of the torch from generation to generation. Bill Murray returns as festival host, proving mid-set commentary and comedic transitions as he dressed up as Elvis and Hendrix at different points in the day.
One of the greatest aspects of Crossroads is the unity that represents musicians collaborating for a greater goal and a mutual love for playing with one another. All profits from the Crossroads Guitar Festival go directly to the International Centre of Excellence for drug and substance rehabilitation in Antigua which Eric Clapton founded himself.
Disc two, which is what you might consider a “power lineup,” starts off with an extended five-song set from the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band which features Warren Haynes on The Allman Brothers’ “Soulshine” and Los Lobos towards the end of the set. Up next is a trio of musicians that includes a blues legend, a legend in the making and a Rolling Stone. Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, and Ronnie Wood go to town on the Stones’ “Miss You,” a performance that has Lang pouring out emotion on stage. One arrangement you don’t want to miss is Jeff Beck’s take on “Nessun Dorma.” His fierceness is controlled in such an elegant way that puts forth what is one of the best sets of the entire festival and closes with Beck on his knees in complete spiritual connection with the music.
Closing out the DVD is a mammoth set from Clapton that enlists Citizen Cope’s broken-jaw style of voice on “Hands of The Saints” and Steve Winwood on, what else but “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” And then prepare yourself for a finale that brings together B.B. King and Clapton along with all of the other musicians from the day closing out “The Thrill is Gone.” Crossroads is definitely something to archive for years to come, offering up a once in a lifetime event that can’t be duplicated.