Cream - Royal Albert Hall May 2, London 2005

Kamis, 24 Januari 2013

Size: 316 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Ripped From DVD 
(Different Length than the CD version)

Formed in 1968 by three of the eras most reputable and skilled musicians, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton, Cream was the original rock and roll power-trio. It was probably a stretch to call these guys a supergroup, at the time of their formation, since Clapton was the only really well-know member of the band, due to his earlier stints in The Yardbirds, and then with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, whose album, Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton, prompted all of that "Clapton is God" graffiti to be spray painted all over the streets of London.

Cream only managed to stay together for a little more than two years, producing two full-length studio albums, Fresh Cream, and Disraeli Gears, and two half-live, half-studio albums with Wheels Of Fire, and, the appropriately titled, Goodbye. Their music was a brilliant fusion of blues-rock, pop, and psychedelia that went on to influence countless bands, and eventually earned them a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - which must be a record for the band with the shortest lifespan to be inducted. 

After their "farewell tour" of 1968, Cream did not play together again until their 1993 Hall of Fame induction - 25 years after breaking up. This appeared to be a one-off thing, until, in 2004, it was officially announced that Cream would reunite for a series of shows at London's Royal Albert Hall, the site of their final concerts in 1968.

Cream played four nights, May 3, 4, 5, and 6, 2005, at the Albert Hall, and this recording captures performances from the last three nights, with most of them being taken from the May 6th concert. The best of these performances were seamlessly edited together into a 19-song, two-disc set, that also includes alternate takes on three of the songs. This show was filmed beautifully, from the opening shot of the front of the Albert Hall, through the backstage hallway leading to the stage, to peering out at the crowd right as the band walks by and takes their places on stage, and on to the brilliant closing finale of "Sunshine Of Your Love". The cinematography and widescreen presentation is amongst the best I have ever seen.

The show begins when the band casually walks out on stage and is greeted by a rousing standing ovation, which was to be expected. Clapton and Bruce glance over at each other with these two huge grins, which is a sign of the chemistry you are about to witness. Clapton kicks off the phenomenal opening number, "I'm So Glad", with some gentle fingerpicking on his black Stratocaster, before Bruce and Baker unleash the rhythm. 

The harmony vocals are right on the money, and these three legends have never sounded tighter. "Spoonful" certainly proves that Jack Bruce is deserving of the same legendary status as the man on the Strat standing beside him. Bruce is very thin, and doesn't look to be in the best of health — he plays sitting on a stool during many of the songs — but his phenomenal bass playing is still a marvel to watch, and his singing is as strong and passionate as ever.

As old as Bruce looks, Ginger Baker could almost pass for his father. It's amazing to look at the guy and realize he is still one of the world's best drummers. His incredible drum solo on "Toad" would have killed lesser men his age. Clapton is the baby of the bunch, and has aged rather gracefully for a 60-year old, road-weary, rock star with his storied past. As good as Clapton still sounds on the guitar, his playing has definitely dropped a notch since his heyday of the 60s and 70s. I don't know if it is so much his technical ability, but more his current refined style and sound. 

I've complained in the past about Clapton's lackluster performances of some of these once ferocious old Cream songs, and it is still evident here, although not as much as on some of his recent solo outings. If this Cream reunion didn't inspire him to break out some of his old Gibsons and Marshalls to give these songs the meatier sound they deserve, then I'm afraid nothing ever will.

With that being said, this is still one of Clapton's most inspiring performances in the last decade. He seems to get inspired by the people playing around him, whether it be Doyle Bramhall II giving him a good kick in the ass during the last few tours, or playing with his old Cream mates again. The slightly modified version of "Badge" he performs this night, was perhaps Clapton's finest. His singing has never sounded so good, and I loved the ultra distorted power chord he lets ring for about fifteen seconds at the end of the first two verses. Bruce immediately does him one better with a passionately sung and played "Politician".

The real highlights of the show came on the second disk, beginning with an awesome performance of "Crossroads", which was highlighted by Bruce's superb fretless bass work. Oh, and Clapton's solo wasn't too shabby either. "White Room" was pretty lackluster, but they rebounded nicely with the epic "Toad", which, just like the old days, featured a heroic Ginger Baker drum solo. At first, I dreaded an extended solo from the old guy, but Baker soon won me over with his dazzling skin work, leaving no doubt that he is still a force to be reckoned with. I'll certainly take a Baker drum solo over him singing that horrendous "Pressed Rat And Warthog" again.

"Toad" brilliantly closed out the set, as the director perfectly captured the atmosphere of the theater, letting you absorb the crowd's standing ovation as the band left the stage, and then taking you backstage to show the guys taking a well deserved breather, before coming back out to perform the stunning encore, "Sunshine Of Your Love". You couldn't ask for a much better performance of this classic song, and a more perfect way to end the show. [Review:]

Poster 1968
2 May 2005 was a very special day for fans of British 1960s music. It was the day that Cream returned to the stage of their final performance. Cream were billed as the original supergroup and produced music to match this billing. However, it was not all harmony in the band and so it was no surprise when the band split. Almost 40 years later, the three legendary members returned to the Royal Albert Hall for a brief series of appearances. In the intervening years, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce had been relatively quiet when compared with the prolific Eric Clapton. Slowhand had had his own problems to deal with but he still succeeded in releasing a series of superb albums. Remember that when Cream last played together? This was before Layla, before Wonderful Tonight, before Tears in Heaven and before many more classic Clapton tracks. So the question was how Cream would sound after all this time and would they complete the set without fighting?

The answer is that this is a band still on top form. Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton look much older. Surprisingly, Ginger Baker looks younger than he did in 1967! From the first few bars of I'm So Glad it was clear that the magic was still there. the set list covered the whole of Cream's brief career from the blues covers such as Spoonful and Crossroads to the more "psychedelic" tracks such as NSU. Sadly, there was no room for some of the classic such as Strange Brew, Tales of Brave Ulysees and I Feel Free. Still, with such as superb set, is it right to complain about the omissions?

Eric Clapton has played the Royal Albert Hall so much that he appears totally comfortable in this environment. Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker may not have played there for some time but that does not prevent them turning out superb performances. Bruce's voice is as powerful as it was on Disraeli Gears and he plays a wonderful blues harp lead on Rollin' and Tumblin. 

In the intervening years between Cream's performances at the Royal Albert Hall, concerts have changed with the growth of stadium rock and the inevitable light shows. However, this performance shows that such gimmicks are just not needed. OK, there was a psychedelic lighting backdrop but there was no need for theatrics, posing or anything else. Here, it is all about the music. These are three top exponents of their craft and any budding guitarists, bass players or drummers would be well-advised to view this Cream concert as an instructional DVD.

What are the highlights of the DVD? Every song is outstanding if that is not a contradiction. There are the surprises such as Ginger Baker's Pressed Rat & Warthog, the classic such as Sunshine of Your Love (two versions on this DVD), the rockier Deserted Cities of The Heart and the blues of Outside Woman Blues. There is something for everyone. What is lacking, and some would say fortunately, are the numerous extended solos. The only exception to this is Ginger Baker's showpiece of Toad. So what are the highlights of this DVD? Badge is particularly powerful. Crossroads is probably slower than we will remember but heavier. White Room is also a stand-out track. 

To say this is the best concert video or DVD produced is difficult but it will certainly rank among the best ever. the fact that the band had reformed after almost 40 years is totally irrelevant. This is simply a superb performance. 

* Jack Bruce – vocals, bass guitar, harmonica 
* Eric Clapton – guitar, vocals 
* Ginger Baker – drums, cowbells, vocals 

These Ripped DVD tracks to mp3 has different length than the CD version.

Disc one 
01."I'm So Glad" (James) 05:42
02."Spoonful" (Dixon) 07:26 
03."Outside Woman Blues" (Reynolds) 05:21 
04."Pressed Rat and Warthog" (Baker, Taylor) 03:22 
05."Sleepy Time Time" (Bruce, Godfrey) 06:09 
06."N.S.U." (Bruce) 06:28
07."Badge" (Clapton, Harrison) 03:58
08."Politician" (Bruce, Brown) 05:07
09."Sweet Wine" (Baker, Godfrey) 06:39
10."Rollin' and Tumblin'" (Waters) 05:57
11."Stormy Monday" (Walker) 08:18
12."Deserted Cities of the Heart" (Bruce, Brown) 03:59

Disc two
01."Born Under a Bad Sign" (Jones, Bell) 05:40
02."We're Going Wrong" (Bruce) 08:08 
03."Crossroads" (Johnson, arr. Clapton) 04:39
04."Sitting on Top of the World" (Chester Burnett) 06:00
05."White Room" (Bruce, Brown) 06:15
06."Toad" (Baker) (Including Drum Solo) 12:54 
07."Sunshine of Your Love" (Bruce, Clapton, Brown) 12:05

08."Sunshine of Your Love" (Alternate Take) 10:15

Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link
Selland Arena 1968

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