Thursday, May 22, 2014
"Crossroads" - Cream (Live - 1968)
Few groups have ever achieved the stature of Cream, the forerunner of all hard rock music as we know it today. Although founding member Eric Clapton never has never “kissed the sky” in quite the same way as Jimi Hendrix, he did kick music in the ass a bit when he left The Yardbirds to form a new sound of his own.
And what a sound! Along with virtuoso bass player Jack Bruce and the maniacal drummer Ginger Baker, Cream went on to mesmerize the entire world of rock and roll in the last half of the 1960’s. By the time 1970 rolled around Clapton was already in Blind Faith and on his way to creating some of the best music of the time with 1970’s double album “Layla.”
Of course, today he is known as the Ambassador of the Blues, and is sort of in charge of keeping classic blues alive. His goal seems to be to pass the music on in as pure a form as possible. But every now and then I hear some of the old Cream records on the radio; “Badge” has weathered time particularly well; and then I start to look around on You Tube for something I haven’t heard in a while.
This clip is of Cream at their “farewell” concert at Royal Albert Hall on November 26, 1968. It was broadcast on BBC the following January, but never released in the United States until 1977. The group Yes opened the show; along with Rory Gallagher, who was in a band called Taste at the time.
There are many problems with the film; the most notable being that the cameramen seemed to have no real experience filming music; most of the footage is focused on the faces; rather than the hands; of the musicians. Guitar players everywhere are disappointed when watching this film. We already know what they look like. We just want to see their hands.
Also, if you do watch the entire concert you will notice that Clapton and Baker seem to change clothes in the middle of some songs; and Clapton even has a different guitar for part of some numbers. This is because the film was cobbled together carelessly, with footage from the first show as well as the second show. Still a good video, in spite of the annoying camerawork.