Eric Clapton says he reserves “the right” to cancel performances at venues where proof of Covid vaccination is required of audience members, a largely hypothetical stance that nonetheless puts the guitarist’s anti-vax sentiments on full display.
Clapton’s statement today was made in response to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that vaccine passes will be required to enter nightclubs and other venues. Clapton’s next UK concert, at the moment, is nearly a year away, when he’s scheduled to play London’s Royal Albert Hall on May 7.
“Following the PM’s announcement on Monday the 19th of July 2021,” Clapton said via Telegram, “I feel honour bound to make an announcement of my own: I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present. Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”
Clapton currently is scheduled to play eight U.S. arena tour dates this September in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. At least as of now, he needn’t worry: The concert venues don’t seem to be following Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway approach of requiring all attendees to be vaccinated. Fort Worth’s Dickies Arena, for example, requires only face coverings (“guests are expected to provide their own”), while Austin’s Frank Irwin Center suggests that for “individuals who are not fully vaccinated or have weakened immune systems, social distancing is optional but recommended.”
Clapton has claimed that he experienced “disastrous” (albeit temporary) side effects after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine, and that his hands and feet were “frozen, numb or burning, and pretty much useless for two weeks…”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer previously had made known his opinions when he collaborated with singer Van Morrison in December on the anti-lockdown, largely panned song “Stand and Deliver,” which included such overheated lyrics as “Do you wanna wear these chains/ Until you’re lying in the grave?”