Secret Slowhand

A small Connecticut newspaper got the jump on its larger brethren when it mysteriously came into possession of what’s believed to be an unsigned CAA deal memo for Eric Clapton to play a private fund-raiser for the pet charity of a major financier.

The Fairfield County Weekly published some of the details of the memo – though not the actual date of the alleged Clapton concert at the Belle Haven Club in Greenwich, Conn. – shedding some light on the somewhat secretive nature of high-dollar private gigs.

According to the paper, Clapton is to be paid $1.5 million to perform in late July for a fund-raiser benefiting the China Care Foundation, hosted by hedge fund billionaire Raymond T. Dalio. In addition, Dalio will donate $1 million the night of the show to a charity of Clapton’s choosing. Clapton founded the Crossroads Centre rehabilitation facility in Antigua.

According to terms of the purported deal memo, the event is not to be announced to the media and is limited to 350 concertgoers. The memo specifies that "the artist [is] to perform one sixty (60) to (70) minute show," which the Fairfield County Weekly helpfully crunched the numbers to determine a rate of $416.67 per second.

It’s a sign of the times that high profile artists like Clapton have warmed to the idea of the big payday for playing private events. Such behavior was considered somewhat anathema until recent years.

Other big names to play the China Care fundraiser in prior years reportedly include Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Sheryl Crow, Carlos Santana, Robert Randolph, The Allman Brothers Band and Bonnie Raitt.

But so far, neither the Fairfield County Weekly nor other publications – including the New York Times, Editor & Publisher and Pollstar – have received comment or confirmation of the show, or the authenticity of the memo, from CAA.