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DVD: Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6 2005 by Cream

This historic 2005 reunion at London's fabled Royal Albert Hall stacks up to be a classic reunion, packaged in the high definition Blu-ray format. Featuring 19-songs culled from Cream's relatively brief tenure, the band along with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, helped define the rock power-trio format.

Cream's string of hits comprised a twofold process. In the 60's, many pop and rock fans were not accustomed to higher levels of musicianship, intertwined with sustainable compositions and scorching improvisational segments. Here, guitarist Eric Clapton turns up the heat via his distortion-tinged breakouts and a few teaser segments keenly injected at various intervals. For instance, on "Spoonful," he dishes out a sweltering solo and harmonizes with Bruce to raise the overall pitch. At times, the renewed vigor and dynamic of the concert yields lucid imagery of a fabled monument undergoing restoration.

Baker vocalizes and drums on his endearing and quirky piece "Pressed Rat and Warthog," offering lucid imagery of a psychedelic, Alice in Wonderland vibe. However, Bruce and Baker integrate a jazz improvisation element into various jam movements. And the psyched-out lightshow projected behind the stage offers a flashback into the grassroots hippie movement era of the 60's and 70's.

Bruce lashes out on harmonica for the hard-hitting Delta blues-rock vamp "Rolling and Tumbling," where members of the audience rise to the occasion and dance to the music. On "We're Going Wrong," Baker's African rhythmical influences come to the forefront with his use of mallets and regimented tribal patterns across the toms. However, justice wouldn't be served if the trio neglected "White Room," and "Sunshine of Your Love," performed here with all the conceivable vim and vigor imaginable.

Baker stretches via his customary solo on "Toad," and reaffirms his legendary status as one of the premier, pace-setting drummers in rock, not to mention his rather historic jazz and jazz-rock endeavors with artists such as bassist Charlie Haden, guitarist Bill Frisell and others. Moreover, his extended solo features difficult cross-sticking techniques and tumultuous double bass drum maneuvers.

Interviews, including Baker's remark that Clapton is basically a jazz guitarist provide interest amid the musicians' insights concerning the reunion. Cream's masterful performance vividly translates into a historic rock video. Nonetheless, the musicians' conviction and gusto tenders a modern portraiture of an important era in pop music. Indeed, Cream helped raise the bar by setting higher standards in rock music and were catalysts for the musical renaissance that was soon to follow.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Cream
  • CD Title: Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6 2005
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Eagle Vision
  • Tracks: I’m So Glad, Spoonful, Outside Woman Blues, Pressed Rat And Warthog, Sleepy Time Time, N.S.U, Badge, Politician, Sweet Wine, Rollin’ And Tumblin, Stormy Monday, Deserted Cities Of The Heart, Born Under A Bad Sign, We’re Going Wrong, Crossroads, Sitting On Top Of The World, White Room, Toad, Sunshine Of Your Love, Sleepy Time Time – alternate take, We’re Going Wrong – alternate take, Sunshine Of Your Love – alternate take
  • Musicians: Jack Bruce (bass. vocals), Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals), Ginger Baker (drums, vocals)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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