Clapton Returning to Hong Kong

Eric Clapton must like Hong Kong and Asia.  He seems to play here frequently – for a western artist, that is.  Last time around, he brought Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall II to share guitar duties for a really good mostly-blues show.

He’ll be at Asiaworld on February 18th.  The info says the band will be Steve Gadd (drums), Willie Weeks (bass), Chris Stainton (keyboards) along with Michelle John and Sharon White as backing vocalists.  No other guitarists.  Maybe Slowhand’s hand is feeling stronger.

Tickets will cost HK$1488, HK$1188, HK$888, HK$488 from all the usual sources.  I don’t much care for his latest album – well, I like a few tracks but could have lived the rest of my life without hearing him do Autumn Leaves or How Deep is the Ocean.  I’ll probably get tickets though – my gf has never seen him live in concert and he can usually be counted on to do a good show.

When was the first time I saw Clapton live?  February 1970, New York City, Fillmore East, as part of Delaney and Bonnie and Friends.  My friend and I lucked into 8th row seats.   Some cute blonde haired hippie chick from the cheap seats asked if she could sit on my lap during the show and I of course said yes.  Delaney & Bonnie were great, the show was memorable, still counts as one of my all-time favorite concerts.  (The blonde on my lap did help.)

Getting a bit more esoteric, the opening act was Wilbert Harrison, one of the great early r&b’ers, big hit with Kansas City, doing a cheesy one man band show, guess he couldn’t even afford a pick-up band.  And then Seals and Crofts, long before they’d had any hits.

Speaking of getting old, I’m looking at this web site that lists all the shows from the Fillmore East.   And I remember going to this show in May ’71 and remember Donny Hathaway being amazing and Taj Mahal having a 10 piece band that included 4 tubas and completely forgot that Leon Russell was the headliner.

(I am, by the way, quite liking the new Elton John & Leon Russell album, The Union, produced by T Bone Burnett, with guest appearances from Neil Young and Brian Wilson and others.  Elton’s a huge Leon Russell fan, has been known to go on and on about how he copied his piano style from Russell.  Nice to have Leon back in the limelight and this is the least annoying Elton John album in years.)

It’s Not Really News If Everyone Already Knows It

And yet, it’s important to keep calling attention to this until someone actually does something about it … though I’ve given up expecting it to happen anytime soon.

From today’s SCMP:

On once-vibrant streets like Robinson Road and Caine Road in Mid-Levels and Electric Road, the North Point street famous for its cafes and food markets, real estate agencies now dominate the landscape.

The city has always been a haven for speculators, but recent economic conditions such as negative real interest rates have made it even more attractive to become involved in short-term speculation. This, some experts say, is done at the expense of entrepreneurship.

“What is the cost of [business] experimentation in Hong Kong?” asked Zimmerman, who last month was elected a district councillor representing Pok Fu Lam.

“Who can afford the rent and living costs and experiment with research, creativity, arts or trying out a new business? Moreover, we have abandoned the diverse street [model] owned by many different landlords each with a small plot and street frontage and replaced it with podium structures owned by one person (or a consortium) and under one `retail management strategy’.

“Rather than opportunities to start a small shop, the only job available is as a 7-Eleven cashier. Hong Kong’s planning and lands policy is like a set of weights tied around the neck of a population thrown overboard in shark-infested water.”

Entrepreneurship matters in Hong Kong because small and medium businesses account for about 98 per cent of local companies and employ about 1.2 million out of a workforce 3.66 million. It is the ultimate factor in revitalising the city.