Guitar legend Eric Clapton to celebrate 70th birthday with New York shows

New York (AFP) - Guitar legend Eric Clapton is planning to celebrate his 70th birthday by playing two concerts at New York's Madison Square Garden on May 1 and 2.

Clapton announced the shows on Thursday. These would come two weeks ahead of a previously announced residency of six sold-out concerts at London's Royal Albert Hall, also timed for his birthday on March 30.

Clapton and his former band Cream inaugurated the modern version of Madison Square Garden in 1968. The arena was built after developers knocked down parts of historic Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan.

The latest shows would take to 47 the number of times Clapton played at the 20,000-capacity arena, one of the most prestigious venues for big-ticket artists.

With the shows, the English guitarist joins the growing club of still-active septuagenarian rockers who include the Rolling Stones, surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and Paul Simon.

Clapton, hailed for his guitar style that merges rock with elements of the blues and psychedelia, last year went on a selective tour that included shows in Singapore, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

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