Date Title
Feb 26, 2004 Lowell
Feb 27, 2004 Emotional Night
Mar 18, 2004 Hello Atlanta
Mar 18, 2004 Z93 and Styx Rock Atlanta Hard Rock Cafe
Mar 22, 2004 Did You Know?
Mar 27, 2004 Life Is A Beach
Apr 01, 2004 Does This Look Like A Man Who's Ready To Go Back On The Road?
Apr 09, 2004 No, Your Honor, I Said I Was Going To TAMPER With Her
Apr 10, 2004 Thank You Tampa/St. Pete
Apr 15, 2004 Let's Get This Engine Started
Apr 26, 2004 Styx 1st To Record At Chess Studios 2120 S. Michigan In 15 Years
Apr 27, 2004 We're Here! This Is The View From My Room
Apr 29, 2004 Johnnie Johnson Speaks at 2120 News Conference
Apr 29, 2004 Chicago Tribune
Apr 30, 2004 Hey Memphis!
May 03, 2004 Getting Close
May 06, 2004 Thank You Cleveland, Hello Indianapolis!
May 07, 2004 Styx Follows VH1 Outing With Headlining Tour
May 08, 2004 Giving New Meaning To The Term "Front Men"
May 11, 2004 VH1 Music First
May 15, 2004 Texas Views
May 16, 2004 Houston Ruled
May 18, 2004 Albuquerque, We're Here, We're Caffeinated, and Ready To Rock!
May 19, 2004 Thank You Alarqueque
May 19, 2004 Luke AFB, Thanks For The Hospitality
May 20, 2004 VH1 Music First
May 25, 2004 Greetings From Colorado
May 28, 2004 JY: Styx On Tour
May 28, 2004 Hello, Salt Lake City
May 29, 2004 2120 Signals New Era For STYX
May 29, 2004 Thank You Idaho Falls, Idaho and Hello George Washington
Jun 05, 2004 LA Times On Eric Clapton's Monumental Weekend
Jun 08, 2004 Ronald Reagan
Jun 19, 2004 Jay Mouton Reviews Chatanooga Show
Jun 20, 2004 Pittsburgh, PA
Jun 23, 2004 Hello, NYC!
Jun 23, 2004 Todd Rips It Up In NYC
Jun 25, 2004 VH1 Music First
Jul 04, 2004 Hello, Ohio
Jul 07, 2004 What A Difference A Couple of Days Make
Jul 07, 2004 New Member Of The Family
Jul 09, 2004 Aidin Vaziri insults Styx and Styx Fans
Jul 10, 2004 Hot Springs, Arkansas, you Were Awesome
Jul 11, 2004 Making Up Was Easy To Do
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Jul 15, 2004 So Long Spokane
Jul 21, 2004 We'll Be Right Back
Jul 22, 2004 Does This Look Like A Man Who's On Vacation
Aug 03, 2004 Styx at the Vic
Aug 07, 2004 Hello Colorado
Aug 07, 2004 Ole' Ole' Ole' Oh Lay Thah!!!
Aug 08, 2004 Rockin' At The Buffalo Chip
Aug 14, 2004 The Dells Sure Rang Our Bells
Aug 15, 2004 Nick Rogers reviews Styx in Springfield, IL
Aug 20, 2004 Hello Boise
Aug 22, 2004 Greetings From The Road
Aug 24, 2004 Suiting Up For The Show
Aug 24, 2004 Alaska, YOU Are Awesome!!!
Aug 26, 2004 We Love Alaska
Sep 10, 2004 We Are Here, Are You?
Sep 11. 2004 We Are Still Here, Encore!
Sep 15, 2004 Hello Montana
Sep 15, 2004 Montana Rocked!
Sep 17, 2004 Hello, Washington State
Sep 17, 2004 Puyallup, WA, Rocked In The Rain
Sep 18, 2004 Massula ROCKED Hard!
Sep 24, 2004 Albuquerque Was A Smokin' Gig
Sep 25, 2004 Unleashed In Henderson...
Sep 28, 2004 Back On Our Heads
Sep 28, 2004 SMILE/Thank You Alpine and Vejas!
Sep 30, 2004 Saratoga Ruled!
Oct 01, 2004 When In Ventura, Do What The Venturas Do!
Oct 06, 2004 Today In The Life
Oct 08, 2004 Hello From Konocti Harbor
Oct 15, 2004 Styx Is In Rama, Mama!
Oct 16, 2004 Gowan in Gowanville
Oct 23, 2004 Hola De Puerto Rico
Oct 25, 2004 Loose Lips, Synch Ships
Oct 26, 2004 New Orleans In October...
Oct 28, 2004 New Orleans, Updated
Nov 18, 2004 Inmates Running The Assylum at 135 Stations
Nov 21, 2004 If It Weren't for Flashbacks, We'd Have No Memory At All...
Nov 22, 2004 Styx To Play Christmas Party
Nov 27, 2004 Styx Rocked The Boat
Dec 04, 2004 All Star Jams
Dec 06, 2004 Styx To Play Christmas Party
Dec 07, 2004 Q104 Christmas Bash Was A Smash
Dec 09, 2004 Back In The Studio

LA Times On Eric Clapton's Monumental Weekend

JUNE 5, 2004

June 8, 2004

Strum of its parts;
Music overshadows celebrity at Crossroads Guitar Festival's gathering of greats.

Randy Lewis, Times Staff Writer

"Is it hot up here or what?"

Blues master B.B. King's query had nothing to do with the 90-degree temperature or 55% humidity that turned Cotton Bowl Stadium into a steaming wok for most of Sunday's star-studded finale of Eric Clapton's historic, three-day Crossroads Guitar Festival.

King was humorously but accurately describing the unusual meteorology on stage as he gazed from side to side to see Clapton along with veteran bluesman Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan and John Mayer trading licks.

Their freewheeling jam session embodied the appeal of this unprecedented gathering of dozens of the world's top rock, blues, country, jazz and folk guitarists, a benefit for the Crossroads Centre rehab facility in Antigua, West Indies, that Clapton established in 1997 after conquering his own battles with drugs and alcohol.

After the late-afternoon blues summit, Clapton dropped in on Carlos Santana's set and then was joined during his own performance by Jeff Beck, who replaced him in the Yardbirds in the mid-'60s, for a meeting of rock guitar gods on Beck's instrumental version of Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended as Lovers."

Even more than the cumulative power of the individual musicians who participated, it was these rare collaborations that drew some 40,000 fans from around the U.S. and several other countries for what many described as a once in a lifetime event.

"We'll probably never see these guys on the same stage together again," said Mark Griffith, 45, who flew about 1,100 miles from Maumee, Ohio, for the show. "You've got guys who are 21 on the same stage with guys who are 84 years old. He has really bridged a gap."

Clapton's guest list showed little regard for age or style, ranging from erstwhile blues wunderkind Jonny Lang to 89-year-old Honeyboy Edwards, from emotive pop-rock heartthrob Mayer to grizzled singer-songwriter J.J. Cale, from jazz fusion proponent Larry Carlton to boneheaded rocker Joe Walsh.

The Cotton Bowl stage on Sunday proved large enough to accommodate the screeching arena-rock histrionics of Steve Vai and Journey's Neal Schon as well as the gentle folk-rock strumming of James Taylor and the fleet country picking of Vince Gill. World music-laced sounds from John McLaughlin and Indian guitarist Vishwa Mohan Bhatt complemented the intrinsically American music of Louisiana's Sonny Landreth and gospel steel guitarist Robert Randolph.

The only thing missing was a Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi to prove the guitar isn't the exclusive domain of men. The only thing approaching a sour note was a thunderstorm that rolled in late Sunday, forcing Texas' own ZZ Top to cut its set slightly short and scotching a planned final jam that would have had Clapton and Beck join the trio.

And the only thing more inescapable over the weekend than the wilting heat was the sound of guitar strings being bent, plucked, tapped, strummed, stroked and banged. Respite from the Sun Belt assault was a few steps away inside the air- conditioned climes of two buildings within the 277-acre Fair Park grounds that housed the festival's other key components.

They included an exhibition of 33 donated guitars cherry-picked from among the 88 instruments to be auctioned June 24 by Christie's to generate more money for the Crossroads Centre. (Those 33, among them instruments owned by Clapton, George Harrison, Santana, Pete Townshend and Stevie Ray Vaughan, will be on display Wednesday through Saturday at Christie's Beverly Hills gallery.)

But even indoors, the sounds of guitars were omnipresent. Dozens of musical equipment manufacturers set up booths in what was called Guitar Center Village, to tantalize guitar-heads with a small-scale version of the industry-only NAMM shows.

"People are really excited about this," said Yamaha marketing representative Jerry Andreas, at a booth where Clapton's bassist Nathan East was signing photos. "At the industry shows everybody's so jaded, but here people are like, 'You mean I can get a sticker and it's free?' "

Fans posed for photos in front of what were billed as the world's largest amplifiers, functional 12-foot-tall behemoth versions of Ampeg and Crate models. They could become Claptons or Becks in their own minds trying out Fender, Gibson and other makers' instruments.

Musicians relished the communal aspect of the festival, hugging and shaking hands backstage with old friends.

"It would be great if we could do this every year," said James Burton, the seminal rock guitarist who gained fame in the mid-'50s backing Ricky Nelson before being snapped up by Elvis Presley and later Jerry Lee Lewis, Emmylou Harris and other country and rock figures. (Clapton has said he considers this gathering a one-time venture.)

Still, the showdown of six-string-wielding aces had its intimidating side.

"You'd better be real comfortable with yourself with so many seasoned experts around," said Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw. "There's 95% of these guys who can play faster and more accurately than me, so it's real easy to get insecure."

A sense of cultural insecurity also figured into the event, which gave some Dallas residents a feeling of pride.

"We're really glad he brought it here," said audience member Kim Young, 45, while waiting to hear Lang play on Saturday. "Everybody talks about the music scene in Austin, but when you look at all the musicians who've come out of Dallas-Ft. Worth, from Van Cliburn to Norah Jones to Scott Joplin to the Polyphonic Spree, there are quite a lot. Dallas just doesn't celebrate it as much as Austin."

But the real draw and the ultimate star of the show -- which was recorded for anticipated PBS telecast in the fall and subsequent DVD and CD release -- was the music.

Those who attended all three days' worth of activities spoke glowingly of Friday night's meeting of Honeyboy Edwards and Robert Lockwood Jr., a disciple and relative of blues titan Robert Johnson. Country fans listened in awe at the lick-trading session with Burton, acoustic guitar whiz Doyle Dykes and Marty Stuart, who played for years in Johnny Cash's band. Classic rock fans cheered when Walsh waltzed onstage to supply bluesy riffs as Taylor sang his "Bartender's Blues."

Whether by design or happy accident, Sunday's lineup progressed from players such as Schon and Vai, whose style seemed to make fans count every note, to the likes of Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, King, Beck and Clapton, who placed more faith in the idea of making every note count.

There also was a sense of cosmic scales being balanced in a frequently unjust and superficial pop universe when the 78-year-old King received a standing ovation for his six decades of performing.

As for Clapton, this member of the Grammy Awards frequent-flier program and three-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has a reputation as one of rock's most enduring and influential guitarists and one of its true gentlemen.

He isn't generally considered a revolutionary, but with his Crossroads festival he can add that credit to his resume. For even more than the unique musical moments it provided, the not-so-obvious upshot was a celebration of music over celebrity, of substance over style, of artistry over commerce.

As the music industry has become ever more bottom-line-driven, the festival, especially Sunday, was blessedly free of the crass product-plugging that makes so many of today's pop music festivals feel more like marketing confabs.

It also was devoid of the back-slapping, congratulatory air that has marred other big-name gatherings, whether in entertainment, sports or politics.

Clapton's one comment about the benefit aspect of the show was typically low key.

He told Sunday's audience that he chose to open the treatment center because "a lot of my heroes worked hard and died drunk." Regarding the logistics of assembling a show that he earlier said took about four years to pull off, he told fans, "The idea of this was fairly simple.... I just wrote out a list of all the people I ever wanted to hear play. I wrote to them and they showed up."

By example, not pronouncement, the invitees demonstrated the value of commitment to their craft, the joy of real musicians playing real instruments, and the ability to communicate emotion that requires more than surviving a few weeks of network TV sing-offs.

In that respect, the Crossroads Guitar Festival was truly a revolutionary shot. We'll see whether it's one that will be heard around the world.


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