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Eric Clapton pays tribute to the late Robbie Robertson

Lyle A. Waisman/FilmMagic

Eric Clapton is paying tribute to The Band‘s Robbie Robertson, who passed away August 9 at the age of 80.

“The Band to me was amazing because they were all giants,” Clapton shared during an interview with The Real Music Observer. “Every one of them was a giant on his own, and [Robbie] was the visionary. I have no doubt that he wrote all those songs.” 

Clapton has said in the past that he wished he could have been in The Band, although he now says he knows it would never have worked, noting, “I was already like, this kind of, celebrity [at the time] and none of them personally, individually, were celebrities.”

“That was their thing – even the name was anonymity,” he explains. “That was also what was magnetic for me because I always wanted anonymity…And if that had been possible to sneak in, even where I’m disguised, and played rhythm guitar then we could have done it. But it was never gonna happen.”

Clapton says he plans to pay tribute to The Band at his upcoming solo shows as well as his two-day Crossroads festival, which featured Robertson on the bill. He says he knows it won’t be easy. 

“I know him well enough to know that he was really precise about what he did,” Clapton shares. “It’s so difficult to recreate that kind of on the edge of expression and not making a mistake, not blowing it. It’s really, really difficult.”

Clapton kicks off his new tour in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 8. His two-day Crossroads Guitar Festival is happening September 23 and 24 in Los Angeles. A complete list of dates can be found at ericclapton.com.

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