UPDATE [31 July, 2006]: Red Square Concert of Eric Clapton Cancelled
The concert of the illustrious guitarist Eric Clapton to take place in the Red Square on August 3 is already an event. But it is still more remarkable in relation to the startling bicycle race ‘Moscow – Taganrog’ with the participation of Russian paraOlympians. Clapton’s charitable concert supports this unique marathon that will start the day after it, on August 4, at 9 a.m.
‘This performance will crown the European tour of the 61 year-old musician. At the Moscow concert he will present the program ‘The Best Of’ in accordance with its title including all the best works from Clapton’s repertoire’, - the organizers of the concert inform. Clapton himself refers to this concert as to 'very meaningful for my personal and creative life'.
The Robert Cray Band will be opening for Eric Clapton and his tour band consisting of Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks on Guitar, Chris Stainton and Tim Carmon on Keyboards, Willie Weeks on Bass, Steve Jordan on Drums, The Kick Horns: Simon Clarke, Roddy Lorimer, and Tim Sanders on Brass, and backing vocals by Michelle John and Sharon White.
The proceeds from the concert of Eric Clapton are to be partly contributed to ‘Moscow – Taganrog’, a bicycle marathon of physically handicapped sportsmen. Eric Clapton himself had hard times in his life, but managed to find the strength to get rid of alcohol and drug addiction and became a faithful person. For many years already the musician has concerned himself with charity. He is the founder of the rehabilitation center "Crossroads" for people suffering from various forms of addiction. With great feeling and fervent enthusiasm Clapton has supported the idea of the marathon project. So, both the events (the bicycle marathon and the concert) have been interrelated and organized at the same time.
The sportsmen will start off from the Vasilyevsky Spusk (near the Red Square) at 9 a.m. to pull through the distance of over 1800 km that will supposedly take them 24 days to do. The route of the race runs through the cities of the Central and Southern Federal districts of Russia and covers the regions of Tula, Lipetsk, Voronezh and Rostov cities. In Taganrog city the cyclists will be met on August 30, the day of the city’s liberation from fascist invaders.
What is most amazing about this project is the initiator and the participant of this race Sergey Burlakov, who underwent amputation of both hands and feet over a dozen years ago. He lost his hands and feet after an accident in the army: as the result of chilblain the doctors had to amputate them. Today Sergey Burlakov works on computer on his own, swims and runs on artificial limbs. In 2003 Sergey was awarded with a medal at the international marathon of the disabled in New York. That marathon 42 km long turned very tough for Sergey, as his artificial leg broke on half way – nevertheless, he did not drop out of the race…After this, American journalists called him the Man of the Planet. Moreover, Sergey is the first person with fourfold amputation to have carried out delta-plane flights on his own.
It took Sergey Burlakov about a year to get ready for the bicycle race. He trains three times a week. Sergey will go by a highway bicycle with 27 speeds equipped specially for him. Around 24 days of race are ahead, not less that 130 km to get over every day. That is eight hours of toil daily. What a common person would consider an outstanding feat has long become part of life for Sergey Burlakov.
Vera Ivanova, 28 July