Q - 1/04, p.1163 stars out of 5
- "Mixing standards like 'Hoochie Coochie' and Freddy King's 'Hideaway' with some solid Mayall originals, he gives one hell of a birthday bash."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1213 stars out of 5
- "Of the guests, Mick Taylor moves between slide and regular guitar playing with eerie ease..."
Proceeds from the show benefited UNICEF which, aims to raise awareness for the End Child Exploitation campaign.
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers: John Mayall (vocals, guitar,harmonica, piano); Buddy Whitington (vocals, guitar); Tom Canning (piano, organ); Hank Van Sickle (bass); Joe Yuele (drums).
Additional personnel includes: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar); Mick Taylor (guitar), Henry Lowther (trumpet); Dave Lewis (tenor saxophone); Julian Arguelles (baritone saxophone); Chris Barber (trombone).
Recorded live at Liverpool Kings Dock, Liverpool, England, July 19, 2003.
Personnel: John Mayall (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano); Eric Clapton, Buddy Whittington (vocals, guitar); Mick Taylor (guitar); Dave Lewis (tenor saxophone); Julian Arg?elles (baritone saxophone); Henry Lowther (trumpet); Chris Barber (trombone); Tom Canning (piano, organ); Hank Van Sickle (bass guitar); Joe Yuele (drums).
Audio Mixers: David Z. ; John Mayall.
Recording information: Liverpool Kings Dock (07/19/2003).
Photographer: The Darren Edwards Project.
Arranger: Henry Lowther.
Though almost always well-intentioned, events like this usually don't pan out on record, let alone on DVD. Thankfully, this is not one of those occasions. John Mayall in his 70th Birthday Concert is as spry, ferocious, and on top of his game as ever. There is nothing tired about the presentation or the performances. Mayall's own umpteenth version of the Bluesbreakers is yet another example of his uncanny ability to pick the right cats for the job. They play with plenty of fire, brilliant musicianship, and taste. There are two discs in this package encompassing 19 cuts. The show broke down as follows: the bland play two burning tracks on their own -- "Grits Ain't Groceries" and "Jacksboro Highway," -- before Mayall joins them for three, including a stunning rendition of "Dirty Water." Mayall then invites Mick Taylor to the stage for no less than four cuts -- two of which are "Blues for the Lost Days," and "Oh Pretty Woman." But it gets better. Eric Clapton and Chris Barber join the Bluesbreakers for seven cuts -- "Hideaway" (what else?), and a beautiful duet performance of "No Big Hurry" between Eric and John. Both Clapton and Taylor are in hungry, fine form, and hold nothing back. The last finale features Taylor and Clapton, and is a guitar orgy, as one would expect. What it all adds up to, however, is a stinging, overdriven performance of modern electric blues by a master bandleader who shows no signs of slowing down physically, and most importantly, creatively. Highly recommended. ~ Thom Jurek