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Sharp tones over guitar star Clapton

AT six minutes past eight on Saturday evening, an Eric Clapton fan posted an enthusiastic comment on the SSE Hydro's Facebook page.

"Clapton is God," he wrote. Two hours and 12 minutes later there came, from someone else, a query with a slightly different tone: "What happened????"

And that is when it all kicked off. After that, there were precious few comments about the guitarist's God-like status.

You won't need much reminding about the Clapton-at-the-Hydro story, but what I found intriguing was the torrent of mostly angry posts on Facebook and Twitter. It was my first experience of seeing, at first hand, a story taking flight on social media, and being partly shaped by it.

A brief recap: Clapton walked off during his second-to-last song, for what we later learned was an "unbearable" technical problerm with the PA. He returned, apologised, played the last song, picked up his discarded jacket and walked off without a word or backward glance.

The fans saw that gesture in the light of his earlier walk-off. At first there was silence, then disbelief, then anger. There were a lot of angry, disbelieving words exchanged in the charged atmosphere of the Hydro just after 10pm. I heard a lot of them.

At 10.18 came that 'What happened????' query. Most of the subsequent Facebook posts were harshly critical of Clapton: A lot of money for a sulk; he was 'a spoilt wean'; he had shown only disrespect. Some demanded refunds. Others rounded on the Hydro or the sound crew. Some asked why no public announcement had been made. A few voices defended Clapton.

It was the same story on Clapton's own Facebook page - a page that, however, seemed to be taken down at some point on the Sunday.

The people who made the adverse comments were not to know why Clapton had walked off during the penultimate song, or that he had in fact played his entire set-list. Many had read, beforehand, of the show's 'guideline' duration of two hours: no wonder they felt short-changed at the actual 95-minute running time.

Apologies and explanations offered the next day by venue and Clapton cleared things up. By then, though, partly because of the confusion that no-one could have foreseen, and the angry voices on social media, the narrative had been shaped.

It was an interesting experience in all sorts of ways. And I for one can't wait to see Clapton the next time he ventures into Glasgow,

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