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Wellmont Theater Presents: The Cream of Clapton Band

originally published: 07/09/2024

Wellmont Theater Presents: The Cream of Clapton Band

(MONTCLAIR, NJ) -- On Friday, July 19, 2024, the Wellmont Theater presents The Cream of Clapton Band. Endorsed by the man himself, family, friends and band mates celebrate Eric’s record breaking '24 Nights' at The Royal Albert Hall in 1991. Joining the band on drums in 2024 is legendary drummer, Steve Ferrone (Eric Clapton / Tom Petty) along with very special guest Nathan East (Eric Clapton / Phil Collins). Showtime is 8:00pm.

Firmly establishing themselves as the ‘New Gen,’ go to band, celebrating the musical legacy of a legendary musician, The Cream Of Clapton Band continue to bring together family, friends and now bandmates, with indelible ties to the man and his music.

In 2024, founding members Will Johns (Clapton’s nephew) and Noah East (son of Nathan East, Clapton’s bass player for over 4 decades) will not only present ’24 Nights Revisited’ paying homage to the record breaking concerts in 1991 at The Royal Albert Hall, but will do so with the mastery and insight of Clapton’s drummer from that era, Steve Ferrone, and with very special guest, Nathan East, Eric’s bass player for over 40 years!

“It’s been a while since I’ve played this music” says Steve Ferrone, “but with my great friends and ex–bandmates, Nathan East and Greg Phillinganes, we were invited to sit in with the band for a few songs at The Balboa Theatre in San Diego on their recent tour. We had a blast and next thing I know I’m asked if I’d like to take up drumming duties! I checked with Eric and he was happy, so I felt I couldn’t say no! I love playing the music and this band, with some great young players, has huge potential.  I also get the chance to play some shows with Nathan which will be such fun! It’s in our DNA and blood and the mix of ‘new gen’ and those of us that have been doing this for a while, makes it exciting and quite unique. I’m looking forward to it immensely”.

Known for exceptional grooves and wicked sense of humour, in addition to his six-year tenure with Eric Clapton, which included touring and recordings on Journeyman, 24 Nights and Eric’s best-selling album, Unplugged, Steve joined Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 1994 through to Tom’s untimely passing in 2017.  He has also played with a myriad of top artists and musicians during a career spanning ‘at least’ five decades, including The Average White Band, Anita Baker, Bee Gees, George Benson, Johnny Cash, Tracy Chapman, Duran Duran, Bryan Ferry, Climie Fisher, Peter Frampton, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Christine McVie, Pat Metheny and Marcus Miller.

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Needing no introduction and when the occasion presents itself, long-time supporter and advocate of this band, Nathan East, thoroughly enjoys not only playing with his 24-year-old son, but with an ever-changing list of the very best musicians, all honoured and excited to be invited as guests to perform with this band.

One of the most recorded bass players of all time, East was 16 years old when he got his first break and found himself on the road with Barry White. The next time the phone rang, Quincy Jones was on the line. The calls kept coming and for the last four decades, East has been recording and performing with artists as legendary as Phil Collins, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Toto, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand, and Stevie Wonder. He is a founding member of the chart-topping contemporary jazz group Fourplay and has been one of Eric Clapton’s go-to bass players since 1984.

Given the successful 2023 reissue of the Royal Albert Hall concerts, dubbed ‘The Definitive 24-Nights’ and heavily influenced by the original foursome of Eric Clapton, Nathan East, Greg Phillinganes and either Steve Ferrone or Phil Collins on drums, this next generation of musicians believe it’s the perfect time to celebrate this historic and popular period of an extraordianry career.

“Of course, we’re playing classics like Cocaine, Sunshine of Your Love, Badge and Layla” says Will Johns. “But there are many great songs that haven’t been performed for some time from the Gold and Platinum selling albums Behind the Sun, August and Journeyman, such as Bad Love, Tearing Us Apart, Holy Mother and Run, all of  which led to Eric’s record breaking 24-night residency at the Royal Albert Hall.”

Wellmont Theater Presents: The Cream of Clapton Band

Will Johns, photo by Britton Hacke

Will Johns,  an established blues artist in his own right, is British icon Pattie (‘Layla’) Boyd’s nephew and got to know his “Uncle Eric” as a boy, which included an introduction to his two lifelong loves: fishing and the guitar. His father is the late, great, Andy Johns, legendary record producer and engineer for the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Van Halen.

24 year old Noah East has played the piano from four years of age and listened to his father play with Clapton since he can remember: “Our goal is to do justice to this incredible body of work and, blessed as we are, with the support not only of Eric and my Father, but many members of Eric’s band past and present, we have the confidence to interpret these songs in our own way, which is so exciting. With the addition of Steve Ferrone in the band, his musicality, his wisdom, his presence, this takes things to a whole new level. And with my father as special guest, well it’s going to be absolutely amazing”.

Tickets are available for purchase online. Wellmont Theater is located at 5 Seymour Street in Montclair, New Jersey.

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