Richards joins Clapton at Crossroads Festival
Musician Eric Clapton performs at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 at Madison Square Garden on Friday April 12, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision for Hard Rock International/AP Images)
NEW YORK (AP) — Eric Clapton's Crossroads festival has become the mecca for riff worshippers, so it was appropriate that guitar deity Keith Richards made a surprise appearance to perform with Clapton.
The Rolling Stone received perhaps the most sustained standing ovation of the night as he joined his old pal toward the end of Crossroads, a two-night concert festival at Madison Square Garden that brought together a dazzling array of guitar masters, from John Mayer to Jeff Beck to legends like Buddy Guy, and of course, Clapton and Richards.
Richards — whose Stones announced another tour earlier this month — flashed his typical wry smile to the crowd before joining Clapton in playing the blues standard and Clapton favorite "Key to the Highway. "
Keb Mo, left, and Taj Mahal perform at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 13, 2013, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
"Now we're gonna rock it up," Richards said before launching into "Sweet Little Rock N' Roller."
Richards' appearance was only the beginning of Clapton's hour-plus-long set, which included hits like "Crossroads" and "Little Queen of Spades." It also featured other special guests, like Robbie Robertson, who sang the classic "I Shall Be Released."
"I just want to say it's an honor to be here in honor of Crossroads and Eric Clapton," Robertson said.
Crossroads Guitar Festival, which benefits Clapton's Crossroads Centre for substance abuse in Antigua, has been held every three years since 2004; this Friday and Saturday was its first at Madison Square Garden.