CLASSIC CLAPTON the World's No1 Eric Clapton Tribute Band featuring front-man Mike Hall will be making a welcome return to "home ground" this week after a gap of three years.

On the same day as the tribute act's Richmond show - tomorrow night - Eric Clapton releases his first ever Christmas album. A second show is in Hexham on October 26

The band’s previous concerts at these lovely venues mainly sold out, but there are a few seats remaining for both dates this time round.

They will perform all of Clapton's classic songs including Wonderful Tonight, Tears in Heaven, Crossroads, I Shot The Sheriff, Cocaine, Lay Down Sally and of course Layla! There will even be an “UNPLUGGED” segment.

The band was formed in 1985 in Newcastle long before the term “tribute band” was invented, and named themselves ''After Midnight'' after Eric Clapton’s first solo hit.

In guitar/vocalist Mike Hall, who was born Durham. they have a front man who not only looks like Eric, he sings and plays guitar like him too. In 1999, Mike won a national look-alike competition held at Madam Tussauds in London. Mike has met Slowhand twice, and even received a message of encouragement from the guitar maestro (written on a Concorde menu).

He's not the only local connection... keyboards player Paul Warren was born in Middlesbrough and now lives in Darlington.

In the past 33 years Classic Clapton has become something of a rock institution.

As well as Hall (lead vocals/guitar) and Warren (keyboards/ backing vocals), the band is made up of Danny Davison (drums) and Dave Robson (bass guitar /backing vocals). Dave is a former member of chart band Geordie. In fact he was with them at the time Brian Johnson left to join AC/DC. Mike, Dave and Danny are all original members of Classic Clapton. Paul who lives in Darlington joined the band in 2007.

In 2001 they embarked on an extensive tour of UK Theatres. They called the tribute show "CLASSIC CLAPTON". Since then, they have continued to perform throughout the UK and Europe including concerts at The Royal Festival Hall, London and a triumphant appearance at Glastonbury Festival in 2002. In the past few years they have performed numerous concerts in Europe including Spain, Estonia, Holland & France. In 2009 they appeared for the first time in Mumbai. They were invited back for 3 more concerts in India in 2016. This included performing in front of 3500 people in an open air sports arena in Mumbai. In March 2017 they appeared in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

CLASSIC CLAPTON have released three albums. Firstly “THE MUSIC OF ERIC CLAPTON” contains brilliant cover-versions of 17 Clapton Classics. Their second is a live double CD ''CLASSIC CLAPTON Unplugged'' recorded at Belfast Waterfront Hall. In 2005 they released their third album “CLASSIC CREAM” – featuring 20 songs made famous by the sixties supergroup. All three albums will be available at Richmond & Hexham.

Eric Clapton has been a major international star since the mid 1960's, when he revolutionised electric guitar playing, with his virtuoso performances in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He has won an incredible 19 Grammies and is the only triple inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of The Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist). For his 24th studio album, Eric Clapton is trying something different: a Christmas album. Happy Xmas will come out on Oct. 12. The collection contains one original track, "For Love on Christmas Day," mixed in with traditional and lesser-known tunes. Clapton says the challenge was to figure out how to re-interpret these songs in his signature style.

Eric is now in his 70s. His recent tours unfortunately have visited only a limited number of large UK arenas. If fans want to hear all of his hits performed in more intimate surroundings, they really should attend a CLASSIC CLAPTON concert. The whole of Clapton's illustrious career will be covered including Cream, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and the solo years.

n Classic Clapton, The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, Friday, October 12. 7pm. Tickets priced £16 on 01748 825252 or on-line at; Hexham Queen’s Hall, Friday, October 26. 7.30pm. Tickets £15 on: 01434 652477 or also on-line at