Get a piece of the action: Snap up tickets to see Eric Clapton Live in Bahrain
ANXIOUS fans will be able to snap up tickets to watch music icon Eric Clapton perform live on stage in Bahrain from this coming weekend.
Social media platforms have been ablaze with conversations about his appearance for several days with mounting rumours about the validity of his booking being aired.
On Sunday organisers dispelled fears and announced the show was very much on as part of the Spring of Culture 2014 festivities and will take place at the 2,000-capacity Arad Fort on March 8.
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) told GulfWeekly that tickets, priced from BD30-50, will be available from the Spring of Culture’s website and a festival stand at Bahrain City Centre.
“We are proud to host Eric Clapton in Bahrain as part of the 9th annual Spring of Culture Festival in March. This concert is part of a diverse programme of art, music, and theatre events that offers Bahrain residents and regional and international tourists a range of cultural experiences.
“Eric Clapton is a legendary, multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist and the interest from the general public regarding this concert has been remarkable,” said an EDB spokesman.
The show will be the final gig of Clapton’s February/March world tour and is an incredible coup for the Spring of Culture diary.
He will be travelling to Bahrain the day after his appearance at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre as an additional part of his current world tour, which may be his last.
Despite the notoriously private British guitar virtuoso’s reluctance to give interviews to the media, fans in the kingdom are still trembling with excitement at the prospect of catching a glimpse of the man known the world over as ‘Slowhand’.
British expat Marc McBride, 29, from Adliya, is a life-long fan and says the gig is like a dream come true. “My parents are huge fans and I grew up listening to Clapton. When I heard he was coming to Bahrain I was so excited.
“I hope I can get a ticket when they go on sale. I’m sure this concert is going to be massive and the demand high for seats!”
Local musician and teacher, Brian Steene, 51, from Saar, says he’d still like to see the show but is pessimistic about securing a ticket because the website will be so busy and the queue in the mall a mile long.
He said: “He was THE guitarist that inspired me to become a complete and utter Fender Stratocaster nutcase.
“I really hope to be able to get a ticket to see him perform in Bahrain but I doubt I will as the demand will be so great and I’m too old to stand in a queue for hours on end.”
Teacher Steene added: “It’s great for Bahrain though. What a coup! It is truly incredible that he is coming here as Bahrain deserves it and there are so many other guitarists and musicians on this island such as me who have been inspired in some way by his contribution to rock and blues history.
“There have been so many rumours about this show, only yesterday someone suggested in had been cancelled. Thankfully, we’re told it really is going to happen. Fingers crossed I can grab a ticket in the end!”
Even Betsy Mathieson, one of Bahrain’s leading expat campaigners, asked anxiously on her Facebook page on Monday: “Anyone found tickets on sale anywhere yet for Bahrain?”
Although this will be Clapton’s musical debut in Bahrain, he is no stranger to the kingdom. As an avid Formula One fan, he has been captured on camera visiting the Bahrain International Circuit during race weekend.
In fact, his affinity with the Middle East goes back years. Arguably, Clapton’s biggest hit Layla (1970) was inspired by the classical poet of Persian literature, Nizami Ganjavi’s The Story of Layla and Majnun.
The book moved Clapton profoundly, as it was the tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman and who went crazy because he could not marry her. The song was further inspired by Clapton’s then unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician, the late Beatle George Harrison.
Clapton’s phenomenal career, which began in 1962, has afforded him the accolade of being the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a band member of the Yardbirds and Cream.
However, after years of rock and roll excess, touring, selling out arenas and stadiums across the globe, the 68-year-old’s priorities have changed. He is now winding down gracefully and wants to spend more time with his family, wife Melia and daughters Julie Rose, Ella May and Sophie Belle.
In an interview with Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt last year, he said: “The bit onstage, that’s easy. If I could do that around my neighbourhood, that would be great. You have guys in Texas that play their circuit, and it keeps them alive. But for me, the struggle is the travel. And the only way you can beat that is by throwing so much money at it that you make a loss. So the idea is I’m taking a leaf out of JJ Cale’s book: When I’m 70, I’ll stop. I won’t stop playing or doing one-offs, but I’ll stop touring, I think.”
It might be the last time music lovers in Bahrain will have the chance to catch the legend live on stage.