On this date in 1973, Eric Clapton returned to the stage for the first time in two years at the Rainbow Theatre in London, England. Spurred on by Pete Townshend of The Who, it was Townshend who took it upon himself organizing the show for his dear friend who had been battling serious addiction. Flanked by former Blind Faith band members Steve Winwood and Ric Grech, Jim Capaldi of Traffic, and Ronnie Wood, who would two years later go on to join The Rolling Stones, the Rainbow Concert rightfully put Clapton back in the public spotlight, however painful or uncomfortable that might have been.

The concert that night would be commemorated with a series of live releases, each one offering more and more music from that historic evening. The selections that night included memorable renditions of “Layla,” “Badge,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” as well as covers of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” J.J. Cale’s “After Midnight,” and Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads,” all tunes Clapton made uniquely his own.

In honor of this momentous concert, here is full-show audio from The Rainbow Concert:

[Originally published 1/13/16]