Craig Thatcher Band: An Eric Clapton Retrospective | Review by: Janel Spiegel

Review by: Janel Spiegel

Craig Thatcher Band: An Eric Clapton Retrospective

Friday, June 21, 2024 at 8:00pm

Musikfest Café

3rd Floor, MFC Main Entrance

ArtsQuest Center

101 Founders Way

Bethlehem, PA 18015

What a beautiful day. June 20, 2024 was Summer Solstice, the first day of summer. And… the BEYOND incomparable, Craig Thatcher brought his talent, along with equally talented band to the Musikfest Café on the night of the full moon. My friend and I started our journey at Superior Diner in Emmaus, Pa. A local spot that we all love, and frequent.

It was a beautiful day. Summer seems to go fast while winter, fall, and spring seem to get lots of time. It was nice to feel the sunshine, and spend time at ArtsQuest. They have concerts and films at Levitt Pavilion. There are plenty of events, and don’t forget Musikfest is coming. The Sabor Latin Festival is an absolute blast. The One Earth Reggae Fest is coming up. So many amazing events.

Tonight was about the one and only Craig Thatcher. Craig Thatcher is a staple in the Lehigh Valley. He ventures all over, and can play anything. The man is walking talent. He has worked with everyone including: Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Rosanne Cash, and so many more. The last time I saw him with friends for his Christmas concert, and it was beyond impeccable. He has a calmness, and you can see and hear his genuine love of all genres in music.

He floats on-stage. He glides with ease, and he finds some of the most talented musicians, singers, songwriters that are out there. Tonight, the Craig Thatcher band paid tribute to Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton is one of the most influential musicians in rock history. He influenced everyone. He has dabbled in rock, blues, soft rock, and more. His blues influence is heavy as he often lists some of the legendary Robert Johnson, John Lee Hooker, Bukka White, Blind Willie McTell, Elmore James, and more. By the way if you do not know those artists, I HIGHLY recommend getting to know the music. The blues is so much more. It’s feelings, stories, fun, memories, lifetimes of struggling. Artists that did not get the true GENUINE credit they deserve.

Freddy King, B.B. King, he was a legend but at times often overlooked. Wes Montgomery. Eric Clapton mentioned he became interested in the Blues when he was a kid. It followed him with his music. There are so many talented Blues artists. Mississippi John Hurt, Gary Clark Jr. I could go on and on, and on… I could talk about the Blues every moment.

Craig Thatcher considers Eric Clapton to be one of his favorite artists along with many Blues artists. The innovative style is something that Craig wanted to accomplish in his music. Eric Clapton has quite a discography. He has been in a few bands, and the songs keep flowing. Cream formed in 1966, The Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, The Dirty Mac, Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, Derek and the Dominos, Blind Faith, and more.

Craig Thatcher and his incredibly talented band picked a wide-variety of Clapton songs, and a few that may have been influenced. One extraordinary artist that joined Thatcher was the talented, Cliff Starkey who played keyboard, and sang tonight. He could sing anything, and play anything.

He is from Reading, Pa, and so talented. There are NOT ENOUGH WORDS. Thatcher was joined by Nyke Van Wyk, an incredible violinist who kept up with everything. He dove in, and made everything better.

He was also joined by: Chico Huff, and Billy Wear. The Craig Thatcher band will be Blues, Brews, and BBQs at the PPL Plaza on June 22, 2024.

It’s never hard to explain a concert, it is feelings, and memories. Songs that made an impact in your life. Songs that make you remember someone you love or loved. It’s completely beautiful. The Craig Thatcher Band went ABOVE and beyond. They returned for an encore, and it was so intense. The energy was pure magic. Thank you ArtsQuest, the staff, the volunteers, the people who work so hard to keep all of these incredible shows going.

Of course, after leaving the show, we wound up outside at another concert. The band Hot4Robot was playing on the BlueCross/ Blue Shield stage. They did an awesome job.