IMHO, Clapton's vocals whith Cream were the band's best offerings. Also, his vocals at this time were, in my considered opinion, the best of his career. Like many artists that cleaned up from drugs (James Taylor comes to mind) I lost interest as they lost their musical soul. Clapton's last great music was with Derek And The Dominos. Not promoting drug abuse, just making an observation.
37 responses Add your response
Not certain if you need to be on AOL to view/hear the following Cream clips (Albert Hall earlier this year), but here's a link.
Cream was the second large concert I attended in my youth (first was The Loving Spoonful).
I assume Ginger no longer tears a tourniquet from his arm just prior to beating out Toad's drum solo. LOL!
I also agree with Lugnut. I went to see Clapton at MSG a couple of years ago. He opted for the adult contemporary thing and I had to sit through a lot of that for every electric rocker he played. IMHO his voice is nothing special. His guitar playing is and he still can bring it. At least I won't have to sit through the wussy acoustic version of Layla at The Cream concert.
Agree with Surfgod and Judy, Bruce was the best vocalist in the group; his energy was palpable, Clapton was far more a complementary voice rather than a lead singer. Last time I saw and heard them in concert was 1968 at Olympia Stadium in Detroit; I'm just amazed Baker is still alive, given how he looked then!
I've seen pictures of Ginger now and although 66, he looks every bit of 75-80. Saw Jack Bruce and friends at the Bottom Line. Played with David Sancious, Clem Clemson and Billy Cobham. An incredible show . Think it was 79-80. Usually I avoid old rock acts that have stuck around too lon, but for some reason I'm really psyched about seeing these guys. I just hope Jack remains lead vocalist on all the stuff he did originally.
Ginger Baker had been slamming crank when he was with Cream and Blind Faith. He was a user plain and simple. When I was young I had a black and white poster of Cream and (L-R Clapton,Baker,Bruce)no matter where you went in my bedroom Ginger's eyes would be staring right at you.His jaw bone was so gaunt,his pupils were pins, I'm surprised he is still alive today and still recording jazz.
Cream is acting like the gestapo. For ticket pickup you need photo ID. You must be with the person you are going in with and you must go into the show as soon as you are handed your tickets. You can only pickup the tickets one hour before the show and you must present the credit card you bought the tickets with. So much for the spirit of Woodstock! Sounds more like Part 2 of the RNC (also at MSG).
I'm all for anything to stop scalpers, they don't even go to the show,they take away the show from people,real fans who can only afford one or two concerts a year. A 370 dollar ticket being scalped could go for a 1000. If they come to L.A. I'll go,this is one group I missed in my youth and let's face it the other one Hendrix won't be coming around anytime soon.
Actually the gestapo tactics only apply to seats in the elite 370 dollar areas of the garden comprising perhaps 20% of tickets sold. The cheaper seats for 200 plus are sent in the mail and can easily be scalped. So what's their message? We don't want you making big money off our show but a little is OK? If you charge 370 a ticket you don't care about the working man anyway. Check Cream tickets for sale on e-bay to see how restrictive and effective this policy is.
I am 46 years old and paid my dues with obstructed view and GA tickets when I was young and broke. For me location is crucial for enjoyment. I bought my tix online and got socked with UPS charges , ticketmaster charges etc. It was an Amex gold card pre-sale and I couldn't have got them any other way. If Cream gets together every 35 years I'll go for the 700 bucks but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
Boycott Clear Channel entertainment; patronize your local venues. This is one monopoly we can boycott and still get on with our lives (unlike oil...).
I weakened and bought nice seats for Loggins and Messina; it was a disappointment although the Angry Eyes, Be Free, and Holiday Hotel were very good although nothing special. The magic was simply not there; funny how that happens after 30 years.
Your suggestion is not practical. In a way Clearchannel is the Exxon of concert venues. Cream is not playing in any local venue and I choose to see them. I was at the Garden last night for a Sumo wrestling event and saw the Cream t-shirts in the team store. Very cheaply made and I expect overpriced. They basically printed some old album covers as T-shirts in a very one wash and the shirt fades kind of fashion.
Did you see the show? Nothing is as it was 35 years ago. Are you? Forget original records and go see live concerts. Jack Bruce is on his 3rd liver and doing great. All the negativity aimed at the older bands on this site, ie; the Rolling Stones, Cream etc is a waste of energy. Yeah, I saw the band last night and I listened to Cream in 1968 and the band was fantastic. Everyone had a great time. Get out of the house more and turn that super expensive system your so proud of off for a night. Life goes on.
You're conveniently avoiding the "top of the game" comment YOU made not me. I've seen and heard the DVD. So I'll make the point again based on YOUR comment. Bruce's voice neither has the strength nor range it did 35 years ago. Stop dancing around the issue with "live concerts", "energy", and my "super expensive system". Your assessment was nothing but hyperbole.
I saw the show last night. I will tell you that for me,Jack Bruce was the highlight of the show, his singing was just amazing, no he is not twenty-five anymore,but he played his ass off and really carried the show. Ginger Baker was a treat, I guess I did not expect too much from him but he held it together, and Toad well Toad was very cool! Now for Mr.Clapton; he has been letting me down now for 30 some odd years, so safe, so controlled, almost as if any feedback or overdrive would have put him into some scary exposed place, just those "masterful" blues licks he does over and over, it is as if his guitar does not have anything to say anymore, alas. But as I said that is what I had expected, but hope springs eternal...
But it was Cream! wow...it was really Cream...
OK now you can pile on and tell me Clapton is still god and I'm missing the point, I'm ready
Your absolutely right, my top of their game comment was nothing but hyperbole. The fact that I was 12 years old in 1968 and had not had the opportunity to see the band live in what was no doubt the peak of their creativity makes my observation a bit of an exaggeration. Never the less, Jack Bruce sang incredible last night and hit every note. Ginger Baker's 20 min. drum solo was rhythmic perfection and at times the whole band recaptured the psychedelic blues sound that Cream had perfected. The band I saw last night was Cream, not a pale imitation. The real thing with all the original members playing with all the passion only years of experience can muster. In 1969 Goodbye Cream and Sgt. Pepper were the first two records I had ever purchased with my own money and it all started from there.
I went on opening night and am going tonight as well. I agree that this was the best concert in recent memory, but I don't go to many concerts. I saw Clapton solo a few years ago and I can't stand his adult contemporary and acoustic blues stuff. He simply doesn't have the vocal ability to pull it off. Cream may be close to their expiration date, but they mostly rocked. I think Jack's vocals are a lot better than Mick's . I thought there were some obvious lowpoints: 1. Crossroads: It was abbreviated and played like Eric was driving 20 mph in a 65mph zone.
2. White Room: The alternating vocal arrangement sucked.
High points: Tales of Brave Ulysses: Great guitar work by EC. Wah wah peddle etc. Pretty close to what I remember.
Spoonful: Jack's phrasing and EC's extended solos on this were the best part of the show for me.
Looking out into the crowd I noticed a lot of bald guys with ponytails and a lot of gray beards. The weed policy was very relaxed.I have not seen MSG tolerate it to this level in recent years.
Lastly, It didn't seem that EC was enjoying himself that much. He looked very stoic and was all businees throughout. I wouldn't expect Cream to stay together long. Ginger Baker did a competent job but at 66 can not flail away at lightning speed . It slowed the pace down a bit.
I'm being overly critical, but as far as nostalgia acts go, this was the best I've seen.
I went last night and sat on the jack bruce side this time (1st nite was EC side). I am sorry I went. The initial shock of seeing Cream had worn off and since they played the exact same show I concentrated more on the technical stuff. Seeing Cream twice with no variation in set lists substantiated my observation that EC was robotic and not having fun. Jack Bruce had to sit in a chair for several songs. He looked old and I guess he's not too healthy either. Ginger Baker did fairly well although his drum so-slow was boring and unnecessary. I may be in the minority with that judgement as the crowd seem to have liked it. Maybe I'm still turned off from all those solos at Dead Shows. I took my brother who is a musician and he was unimpressed . I agree with his comment as he surveyed the crowd; "Damn man! People are sooo desperate for entertainment. " Because few classic rock lovers care about the music of today, it puts bands like Cream in a powerful position. I wish I had only gone once and would not see them again if they came around.