top of page

There Can Never Be Too Many Guitar Solos: Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2023 Night One

Eric Clapton hosted the 7th installment of his legendary Crossroads Guitar Festival starting September 23rd, 2023; a night of unparalleled guitar mastery.

Eric Clapton Crossroads 2023- The MIC

Guitar enthusiasts and music lovers gathered at the Arena for an unforgettable two-day musical marathon that transcended time and genres while benefiting a noble cause: the Crossroads Centre, a rehab facility founded by Eric Clapton himself in Antigua. The facility follows the principles of sobriety that have kept him on the path to recovery for 35 years.

The event began Saturday, September 23rd, at 9 am at the Guitar Center Village, bathed in the golden hues of California sunshine, with attendees strolling through tents filled with premium gear from guitar aficionado's favorites like Martin, Fender, and Gibson. However, it was the Guitar Center tent that stole the early show, showcasing legendary axes like Eric Clapton's "Blackie" and Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Lenny."

Eric Clapton, Jakob Dylan & The Wallflowers-Crossroads 2023-The MIC

As the clock struck 4 PM, the Arena came alive with the resonating twang of strings, kicking off a musical journey that would last until the wee hours of the morning. The night was hosted by the beloved Bill Murray, who ushered in ever performer with a comedeic entry.

Eric Clapton, though not playing a set of his own that Saturday night, assumed the role of a gracious and famous host, inviting the audience into an exclusive party of musical conversation. He seamlessly joined various acts, showing off his unparalleled skills including with Jimmie Vaughn and Gary Clark Jr. on "Early One Morning" and Stephen Stills, Jakob Dylan & The Wallflowers for "Bluebird."

One of the standout performances of the night came from the John Mayer Trio, who graced the audience with a lustrous set. Mayer, wielding his Monterey Hendrix Strat, paid homage to Jimi Hendrix with a spellbinding cover of "Wait Until Tomorrow." The performance paid tribute to California band and the end of Mayer's tenure with Dead & Company, as he treated the crowd to a rendition of the Grateful Dead's "They Love Each Other."

The stage at the Arena was a sight to behold, featuring a rotating platform that smoothly ushered in new acts. In an intimate set that felt like a nod to the iconic MTV 'Unplugged' series, a corner of the stage was transformed for sessions with Gary Clark Jr. and an acoustic set with Sheryl Crow.

While many anticipated a grand tribute to Jeff Beck, the tribute was understated, consisting of a brief video segment. Though during blues player Joe Bonamassa's set, he took center stage alongside John McLaughlin, delivering a face-melting performance of Beck's"Cause We've Ended as Lovers," leaving the audience mesmerized.

John Mayer Trio Crossroads 2023-The MIC

LONG STORY SHORT: In the end, Clapton's Crossroads proved to be more than just a concert—it was a celebration of the guitar's enduring legacy and the power of music to unite and heal. Saturday night was an incredible who's-who of the best guitar players in the game. Audiences were treated to a diverse palette of every genre, every scale and style of guitar playing, learning that it's true, you can never have too many guitar solos.

A disappointing taste lingered in the night as Eric Clapton, the event's central figure, did not offer a dedicated set featuring his iconic compositions. There was also not a grand, crossroads-style, finale where all the guitar heavy-weights come out together to perform "Crossroads." Instead, the audience was treated to an almost-too-long performance by ZZ Top, with an abrupt ending. Despite that, The Crossroads still hosted a bucket-list setlist of guitarists, showing off their chops for an unforgettable musical marathon.

Find more videos of the night on The MIC's YouTube Channel


Artists Featured in Night 1 of Crossroads


bottom of page