Better late than never: Eric Clapton belatedly celebrated his 70th birthday on May 1, gathering a few friends and several thousand of his closest fans together for a concert at Madison Square Garden.

As previously reported, Clapton is ringing in his seventh decade with a series of shows this month, starting with the two-night stand he led at MSG on May 1 and 2 and continuing through a record-breaking run at the Royal Albert Hall that's scheduled to begin May 14.

The Associated Press reports that the Garden shows found Clapton in typically solid form, and assisted by a parade of special guests that included John Mayer (who joined in on "Pretending," which you can watch in fan-shot footage above), Jimmie Vaughan, Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall.

According to the AP's report, some of the set list's surprises included a reggae arrangement of "Tears in Heaven" and a performance of "You Are So Beautiful" led by Clapton's keyboardist (and solo artist in his own right) Paul Carrack, while the bulk of the evening was dominated by the headliner in his trademark laid-back fashion, serving up dependably solid renditions of catalog cuts like "I Shot the Sheriff," "Layla," "Cocaine" and "Crossroads" (which you can watch below).

Never the most talkative of rock stars, Clapton let the music speak for itself for most of the night, only alluding to his special personal milestone toward the end of the evening. "I want to thank you for helping me celebrate," he told the crowd. "This is the best birthday I ever had."

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