I have been a huge Clapton fan for years. But to be honest with you, his last record where he played with anything special for me was "From the Cradle" in 1994. He was amazing with the Blues Breakers, and Cream. His tone, phrasing, was just amazing. Blind Faith and the Dominos had some great stuff as well, but he lost the great tone he had in Cream and never got a great tone again. People like Jeff Beck and Robin Trower knew how to get a great tone out of a Strat. Then Eric got into drugs, and it was not until Slowhand came out where we heard some decent playing again. However it was not clear if it was Eric or George Terry playing lead on The Core. All his records after that he had good playing on, but nothing that would put him on top of the hill or even close to it. Rory Gallagher had more excitement and punch in his playing. Eric then got into the pop seen with music like Change your World. His acoustic record with the song about his song was moving. Some decent acoustic playing on that record I will admit. But after the Cradle, he really has not done anything that made me go WOW what a great player. In contrast, someone like Robin Trower would blow him off the stage with his energy, tone, and playing. Robin Trower live - I Want You to Love Me - YouTube
I was really excited about the Cream reunion, and though the notes he played were very good, no tone, and over the edge playing was not there. He played safe, and his solo's were well rehearsed. Cream was about tone, and playing over the edge. Why he would not use Marshall and a humbucking guitar is beyond me. No wa pedal was use in some of their classic songs either. Well I guess at this point, he has nothing to prove. At least his new record will have him playing what he does best. Even though he stick to just penatonic scales and has not learned a new lick in 20 years. He should buy the Larry Carlton Improv DVD and learn how to play a little of the diminished scale for one. Throw a couple of those notes in your blues playing.