Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Band du Lac with Eric Clapton, Gary Brooker - Wintershall Estate, Bramley, Britain, 6-11-2005

For many years, Eric Clapton and Gary Brooker (lead singer of Procol Harum) had a fun and little known tradition going on. From at least 1988 to 2011, they held a concert about once a year that would differ from their usual concerts. These concerts featured a variety of stars taking turns singing lead vocals and collaborating with each other. They went by a variety of names, but most often used the name "Band du Lac." 

Apparently, Clapton and Brooker are friends, and both live in the Bramley area of England. These concerts were generally private, attended mainly by the local upper class, and done for various charity causes. Most often they were held at the Wintershall Estate, a private property with a lake on it. That explains the band name, which in French means "band of the lake." Sometimes the band did two shows a year, and other times they went a few years without any shows. But maybe the tradition is over, since it seems to have been over ten years since the last concert.

Nothing by this band has ever been officially released. I've found and listened to a handful of "Band du Lac" bootlegs. But generally speaking, the sound quality is good, since they're all audience bootlegs and there's only one concert to potentially record a year, if that, instead of entire tours. But recently I came across an excellent sounding version of the band's 2005 show on YouTube. What makes this one different is that a professional DVD was filmed and released of this show, called "One Night Only Live." I converted it to mp3s and broke it into individual tracks. In my opinion, it sounds as good as a typical official live album, and way better than all the bootlegs by this band, so this is the one to listen to.

Eric Clapton is probably the biggest name here, but Gary Brooker had a more important role in this show. He stayed on stage playing keyboards for virtually the entire show, and was the emcee that introduced the other artists. Clapton, by contrast, stayed on stage for about half of the show. I've included his name for the songs where he was involved. I was able to know for sure which ones those are, due to the video footage.

Generally speaking, the other stars in these concerts are the friends of Clapton and/or Brooker. For instance, Phil Collins played a lot of these shows, though he wasn't at this one. (Although, oddly, the last song was one if his Genesis hits, "I Can't Dance.") There tended to be lots of repeat appearances, but each year's show would have different artists, with different set lists. Ringo Starr probably needs no introduction - the drummer for the Beatles. If you don't know, Roger Taylor was the drummer (and occasional songwriter) for Queen. Paul Carrack was in Ace, Squeeze, Mike + the Mechanics, and had some solo hits. The Drifters is a famous soul group, though all the members from the band's classic years were long gone by the time of this concert. Chris Barber is a jazz musician most popular in the 1950s who helped launch the skiffle music trend that was pivotal in the development of rock and roll in Britain. Andy Fairweather Low was the lead singer of Amen Corner in the 1960s.

Katie Melua is the odd one out in this concert in two respects. For one, all the others are friends from an older generation. But also, many of them generally played on each other's songs for this concert. For instance, Andy Fairweather Low stayed on stage most of the time and took the occasional lead guitar solo. But for Melua's three song set, all the other musicians departed the stage and were replaced by Melua's band. I must say I'd never heard of her before (apparently she's bigger in Britain than in my country, the U.S.), but I liked her songs here.

This concert is one hour and 53 minutes long.

01 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
02 Tequila (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
03 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
04 Over My Shoulder (Paul Carrack with the Band du Lac)
05 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
06 Reconsider Baby (Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
07 Lay Down Sally (Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
08 How Long (Paul Carrack with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
09 Willie and the Hand Jive (Eric Clapton & Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
10 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
11 Crawling Up a Hill (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
12 talk (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
13 My Aphrodisiac Is You (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
14 The Closest Thing to Crazy (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
15 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
16 Glory, Glory - Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Andy Fairweather Low with the Band du Lac)
17 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
18 Say It's Not True (Roger Taylor with the Band du Lac)
19 These Are the Days of Our Lives (Roger Taylor with the Band du Lac)
20 I Want to Break Free (Roger Taylor with the Band du Lac)
21 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
22 This World Is Rich (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
23 talk (Ringo Starr & Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
24 Act Naturally (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
25 talk (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
26 Photograph (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
27 talk (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
28 With a Little Help from My Friends (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
29 A Whiter Shade of Pale (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
30 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
31 Call It Stormy Monday (Chris Barber & Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
32 Under the Boardwalk (Drifters with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
33 talk (Drifters with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
34 Stand by Me (Drifters with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
35 Cocaine (Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
36 I Can't Dance (Gary Brooker with Eric Clapton & Band du Lac)

For the cover art, I wanted a picture of as many of the band members as possible. I took a screenshot from the end of the concert, when many of the stars were on stage. The picture is dominated by the Drifters, who are the four guys in the red suits. But you can see some of the others if you look closely. For instance, Brooker is playing keyboards on the far left, and Clapton is in a purple suit behind one of the Drifters on the far right.


  1. Hey, this is great. I picked up one or two audio boots of different years' performances along the way, but had no idea this production existed. Thanks for putting this together -- especially if it helps people understand that there's more to Gary Brooker than A Whiter Shade of Pale!

  2. Thanks, great concert.
    I think the tittle of track 04 is "Over My Shoulder", a hit from Carrack.

  3. Hey, I'm a person who has benefits in my benevolent services to human kind! Tell me more about your incredibly legitimate moneymaking scheme, "Gary." Is there an admin here?

  4. It's really a shame that spam can get through to such a wonderful blog. Paul, I love what you do here, and I'm sure I haven't thanked you often enough. That's on me. Rock ON.

    1. If you're having trouble downloading things from my blog, for instance you click on a ZippyShare link and get an annoying ad, I have a few recommendations.

      1) Try right clicking on the link, and opening it in a new window. People say that helps.
      2) Use an ad blocker add on or extension for your browser. That's what I do, and it leaves Zippyshare free of all the crud. Plus, it's a good thing that helps you avoid ads when browsing on the Internet in general. There's a bunch to choose from, and they're generally free.
      3) Use a VPN. That stands for Virtual Private Network. Zippyshare is banned in a few European countries, so this is a way to hide what country you're in. Actually, it's a good (and perfectly legal) thing to do when browsing the Internet in general.
      3) If all else fails, I also share everything I post on my blog through the music file-sharing program SoulseekQT. It's free, no strings attached, and super easy to use. Just search for the artist and album title, plus "atse" (which stands for "Albums That Should Exist").

    2. Paul, to be clear, my comment, and I think Moondog's as well, referred to a long and blatant spam post near the top of the response thread. I don't see it in this readout, in which case, party on.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. It's on me to find and delete spam. Sometimes it takes me a while.

  5. Melua has some nice albums. I seem to remember that one was recorded at the bottom of the ocean?