Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007 Review

by Zane Ewton

The second Crossroads Guitar Festival in July 2007 traded Texas for Chicago and the stomp of rock and roll for a deep dish of Chicago blues. The inaugural festival was such an avalanche of guitars from every genre that this tighter, more focused set is a bit of a let down.

Last year's festival included guitarists from across the globe. African sitar players to Steve Vai and every picker, plucker and howler in between. Several of the same faces came back for year two, including Robert Randolph, Jimmie Vaughan, B.B. King, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy.

Two elements do add a little something to what is essentially an unnecessary sequel. A great female presence with Susan Tedeschi and Sheryl Crow, among others. Sheryl Crow is an odd choice, given that her music is not necessarily guitar music, the blues or conducive to the tastes of a crowd that largely appears to be sun burnt, drunk, middle-aged white men and their guitar-hero-to-be teenage sons. Thankfully, a notable mini-reunion of Blind Faith occurred as Steve Winwood joined Clapton on stage.

The festival directly benefits the Crossroads Centre founded by Clapton. To call it an unnecessary sequel is unfair as it was a success, for all intents and purposes. Unfortunately, it pales in comparison to the Texas-sized smorgasbord of guitar madness in 2006. The Illinois version gets the job done sufficiently and without the bloated gut afterwards.

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