Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Venue: The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)
Date: Thursday July 12th, 2018
I first heard of Eric Johnson when he performed with Joe Satriani and John Petrucci as part of the G3 Tour back in 2006. Since then Eric has performed with other great guitarist on the ‘Experience Hendrix Tours’. Eric is considered “one of the most respected guitarists on the planet” (quote from Guitar Player magazine). Besides electric guitar, Eric plays acoustic, lap steel, bass guitar and piano. His style runs a wide gambit from blues, jazz fusion, folk, classical and of course rock. Eric has won a Grammy for his song, “Cliffs of Dover” and a platinum album, Ah Via Musicom.
However, for this tour, Eric is performing solo with just a couple of acoustic guitars (steel stringed and nylon stringed) and a grand piano. This show was perfect for the MIM. Eric used the house sound system (no stage amps) and you could truly experience the beauty of the acoustics of the theater. The acoustic guitar sound was amazing. I could hear every note crystal clear.
Eric broke the show up into 2 45-minute sets with a 15-minute intermission. The first set consisted of a set of 6 acoustic guitar songs, followed by 4 piano songs and ending with 3 additional acoustic songs. The second set was comprised of completely acoustic guitar songs. You can see from the setlist, Eric played a number of songs that do not appear on any of his albums. I did noticed that a few people were hoping for electric guitar songs or his big hit “Cliffs of Dover”. But in reality, Eric showed us his true musical versatility. I know a number of performers that hate to perform solo, because it can show their weaknesses and any mess-ups. But Eric was incredible. The way his fingers glided and danced across the frets on the guitar truly showed his brilliance and talent as a musician. His song selection ranged from folk to jazz with a little blues thrown in.
Eric told one funny story about meeting Les Paul, founder of Les Paul Guitars at a show one night. While Eric was talking with Les, Eric pulled out his SG guitar. Les was beside himself and said that “the SG was not a true Les Paul guitar and should never have been made”. Eric then went on to tell us that the next song, “The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise” was dedicated to Les Paul.
The encore was a little different. First Eric came back on stage and played 2 acoustic guitar songs, “April Come She Will” and “Nothing Can Keep Me From You”. He then left the stage. After about a minute he reemerged with his blue Stratocaster and played a short electric guitar solo song. He left again and as people were leaving, he came back out and went to the piano to perform his final song of the night, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”.
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2018, All Rights Reserved
You will notice that this setlist is different from the setlist on “Setlist.fm” for this show. I am working with the setlist that Eric had on stage. The 4 song Encore was not listed on the stage setlist and I added it with my personal best knowledge. If there are issues with the setlist, please let me know and I will attempt to correct them.
Eric Johnson’s Set list: (Album)
A Tribute To Jerry Reed (Bloom)
Gift Of Love
Song For Irene (EJ)
Song For Lynette (Venus Isle)
Valley View / Present Time
Over The Moon
If I Do
Song For George (Ah Via Musicom)
Black Mountain Side (Led Zeppelin cover)
Mrs. Robinson (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
My Finest Champion
Desert Song (Tones)
The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise (John Steel Cover)
All Things You Are (EJ)
Once Upon A Time In Texas (EJ)
April Come She Will (Paul Simon Cover)
Nothing Can Keep Me From You (Ah Via Musicom)
Electric Guitar Solo
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (Beatles Cover)