In June 2010, Eric Clapton gathered a veritable Who’s Who of the world’s most talented guitar players at the third Crossroads Guitar Festival, an 11-hour celebration of the six-string that attracted a sold-out crowd of more than 27,000 music fans to Chicago’s Toyota Park. All profits from this daylong display of guitar virtuosity benefited The Crossroads Centre in Antigua, a treatment and education facility Clapton founded to help people suffering from chemical dependency.
Two hours of highlights from the marathon event, Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 3 will air as part of Great Performances on Monday, June 6 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).
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Clapton notes, “The Crossroads Festival is the realization of a dream for me, to gather a group of amazingly talented musicians to perform on one stage,” and adding, “The Crossroads performers are all musicians I admire and respect.” Actor-comedian Bill Murray — host of the second Crossroads Festival in 2007 — returns as MC, and supplies the festival’s nonmusical highlights with his inimitable style.
Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media partners.
It’s no surprise a festival named for a Robert Johnson song would include a heavy dose of the blues, and the 2010 edition does not disappoint, with remarkable performances by Sonny Landreth, Gary Clark, Jr., Keb’ Mo’ and Buddy Guy.
The rock contingent is also well represented by ZZ Top, Jeff Beck, the John Mayer Trio, Doyle Bramhall II, the Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Warren Haynes and Steve Winwood, who teamed with Clapton for several performances including an epic cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile.”
Various styles find a home here too, with Vince Gill’s amazing take on Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally” accompanied by the legendary James Burton and others; and Jeff Beck who performs “Hammerhead” which won the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
Other artists making appearances include: Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Wood, Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang, Joe Bonamassa, Pino Daniele, and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas.
“Promise Land” – Sonny Landreth w/Eric Clapton
“Going Down” – Pino Daniele, Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph & The Family Band
“Waiting for The Bus” – ZZ Top
“Jesus Just Left Chicago” – ZZ Top
“Bright Lights” – Gary Clark, Jr.
“Our Love Is Fading” – Sheryl Crow w/Eric Clapton, Doyle Bramhall II & Gary Clark Jr,
“Lay Down Sally” – Vince Gill w/Sheryl Crow, Keb’ Mo’, Albert Lee, James Burton & Earl Klugh
“Who Did You Think I Was” – John Mayer Trio
“Midnight in Harlem” – Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band
“Space Captain” – Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band w/Warren Haynes, David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas & Chris Stainton
“Five Long Years” – Buddy Guy with Jonny Lang & Ronnie Wood
“Hammerhead” – Jeff Beck
“I Shot the Sheriff” – Eric Clapton
“Had to Cry Today” – Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton
“Voodoo Chile” – Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood
“Dear Mr. Fantasy” – Steve Winwood & Eric Clapton
The first Crossroads Guitar Festival, in June 2004 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, an unprecedented collection of guitar icons from blues, rock, and contemporary music, aired on Great Performances in December of that year. The two-disc DVD that has since achieved the 10x platinum mark in the United States alone. The Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007, the second such concert by Clapton and also staged at Toyota Park, aired on Great Performances in November 2007, and its DVD was certified 6x platinum. The complete 2010 concert was released by Rhino Entertainment on Blu-ray and DVD.
A Parallel 28 Equipe Inc. Production, Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival 3 was directed for television by Martin Atkins. Eric Clapton, Peter Jackson, James Pluta and Scooter Weintraub are producers; John Beug and Michael Eaton are executive producers. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer; and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for the Great Performances telecast is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, Vivian Milstein, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and public television viewers.