I first remember seeing the name Derek and the Dominos back in June 1970 as WOLF Radio received a Atco promotional single of their song "Tell The Truth" b/w "Roll It Over" produced by the Hall of Fame producer Phil Spector. With Phil's name we all had to listen to this up tempo track. The band consisted of former Delaney, Bonnie & Friends band members Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon along with the British blues guitar great Eric Clapton (The Yardbirds).
Well, this single disappeared quickly and was not released commercially. We next heard the band (minus Phil Spector) was recording an album titled "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" at Criteria Studio in Miami starting in late August 1970. Now the Syracuse story begins, we received notice that Derek & The Dominos along with Toe Fat was scheduled to play the War Memorial October 18, 1970. This date quickly changed as their album was not yet completed. It was re-scheduled for December 2, 1970 with the addition of Elton John (yes that Elton John). The negative was that the band could not be advertised as Eric Clapton only as Derek and the Dominos, Derek is Eric.
For me the name Eric Clapton was already legendary. I couldn't wait to watch him perform or if I was lucky get an interview. I arrived early at this WOLF event and caught Toe Fat's set, watched Elton from backstage with anticipation of catching Clapton's entrance. The War Memorial side security door opened and in came the band who quickly went to their second floor dressing room. I introduced myself to their manager and asked for an interview with Clapton . He replied "I'll see want I can do."
A half hour went by and things didn't look good. As the band came down the stairs and entered the backstage area their manager spoke to Eric and he quickly asked me if I wanted to get in a picture with the Eric and the band. In what only took one minute of time that photo was taken. That was one of the greatest moment in my 48 year musical career. Little did I know that to my left stood Duane Allman who was playing as a special guest with the band that evening. Allman played with them in concert just twice.. The night before in Miami, here in Syracuse and never again. As you know he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident about a year later. Tickets for Derek & the Dominos concert were priced at $5.50, $4.50, $3.50
As for the song "Layla" it finally became a monster hit and entered the WOLF Radio music survey on June 26, 1972 peaking at number #9.
Eric Clapton would play two more concerts in Syracuse on May 29, 1979 with Muddy Waters at the War Memorial and again at the Carrier Dome April 7, 1990.