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Heroin addiction, family tragedy, homewrecking, MTV Unplugged—guitar legend Eric Clapton has borne the cross of rock stardom. And he’s done it all without a chin. From the Yardbirds to Cream to Blind Faith to Derek and the Dominos, Clapton cut a wide swath through the ’60s and early ’70s as the premier avatar of the white-boy blues. But EC hasn’t done diddly in well over 20 years, and his sad descent into chart-topping treacle actually makes me think good thoughts about the Rolling Stones (who, no matter how far they’ve fallen, have never stooped to anything like “Tears in Heaven”). Now Clapton has a new album—the aptly named Reptile—which proves that, though rust never sleeps, a certain Slowhand certainly does. But ya know, I might drop the dough to see Clapton—if I thought the specter of Duane Allman would appear to smack EC around for what he did to “Layla.” But they’d never let Duane through the door of a Clapton show nowadays. Not enough class. Clapton plays with Doyle Bramhall II and Smokestack at 8 p.m. at the

MCI Center, 601 F St. NW. $50-$75. (202) 432-7328. (Michael Little)