Eric Clapton Schedules Tour Dates Leading Up to Crossroads

Earlier this year, Eric Clapton announced that the fourth incarnation of his Crossroads Guitar Festival will be held next year, and now he has released a slew of U.S. tour dates leading up to that event.

The tour will kick off on March 14, 2013 at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, and will run through an April 6 date at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Crossroads festival will then be held April 12-13 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Other cities on the tour itinerary include Houston, Dallas, Nashville, New Orleans, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C.

The Wallflowers will open all dates on the tour.

Here’s how Clapton’s website describes the Crossroads Guitar Festival:

Over 30 of the world’s greatest guitarists play sidemen to each other over two nights at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, April 12-13.

The event will bring together some of most well-known guitar players from many musical genres. With Clapton, the expectation will be for blues and rock guitarists to make up the majority of the lineup, and these genres are represented by huge names including B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan and the Allman Brothers Band. But country music also will be well-represented, and superstars Keith Urban, Vince Gill and Brad Paisley will perform at the event. The superb guitar skills of all three of those stars are often highly underrated. Finally, Jazz players including Earl Klugh and John Scofield will join in the festivities.

For Clapton’s tour, he will bring along his longtime backing band made up of Doyle Bramhall II (guitar), Chris Stainton (piano), Steve Jordan (drums) and Willie Weeks (bass). Also joining the group this time around will be Greg Leisz (pedal steel guitar), Paul Carrack (keyboards), and Michelle John and Sharon White (backing vocals).