Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010



Rock ’n’ roll as a genre couldn’t exist without the electric guitar. That means Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, put on by the guitar legend tri-annually since 2004, is in essence a celebration of rock ’n’ roll’s very raison d’être. For each event Clapton handpicks a lineup of axe slingers that embraces a broad range of styles and generations, from his own contemporaries and influences to up-and-comers who’d love to be the next Eric Clapton. The third outing, held in June at Toyota Park in Chicago, sported relative youngsters like John Mayer, Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II alongside elder statesmen like Clapton, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy—not to mention really elder statesmen like 78-year-old Hubert Sumlin, who performed with his oxygen tank at the ready.
With all that talent on display, naturally Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010 can’t help but be stuffed full of top-shelf six-string voodoo. Lovingly shot by director Martyn Atkins and punctuated with knockabout stage introductions by guitar fanatic Bill Murray, the two-disc set is always engaging and occasionally electrifying. As with most various-artist DVDs of its type, your enjoyment of Crossroads will wax and wane along with your interest in the performers onscreen at any given time—and the ever-humble Clapton doesn’t stint on giving plenty of room to acts much farther down the bill than himself. “Are you sick of the sound of the electric guitar yet?” Clapton asks the crowd as his headlining set finally begins. The answer is obvious, and one imagines it will always be thus. –CN

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