Cream on PBS

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by GrooveWarrior, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. GrooveWarrior

    GrooveWarrior Supporting Member

    Last night on our local PBS station, they aired the Cream reunion from Royal Albert Hall.

    Am I the only one who wasn't impressed? I have heard so much hype about it, I just wasn't impressed. Clapton's guitar tone was great (as was the flame maple on his guitar neck). Outside of that . . . meh.
  2. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I saw "White Room" on a local DTV multicast called "The Tube" recently. I liked it a lot!
  3. GrooveWarrior

    GrooveWarrior Supporting Member

    I will say that "White Room" and "Sunshine" sounded really good. Maybe I'm just not a big fan of Cream. Most of it seemed sort of rambling, and the bass was pretty random. Just not my thing I guess.
  4. maidenfreak


    Feb 13, 2002
    Omaha, NE
    I thought it was pretty good. I would like to watch it in 5.1 though.
  5. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    I caught half of it and got to record was sweet. I dont know what you guys didnt see in it or like about it but i will get the DVD or record it again when it replays. I thought they rocked and at the ages and health of Ginger and Jack give em props man they sounded great...Eric was Eric and sounded great as well...he always pushed his playing to the top in Cream and it showed.To even think those 3 would ever play together again is surprising...this will go down in the rock books and if you lived in the time they were at the top you would understand least i will...and alot of old folks here and from the crowds reactions showed that Cream was one of the forfronts of Jam and blues rock bands that will never be replaced...great players and songwriters who only lasted 2 years in their prime...shame...Thanks guys for getting back together warmed my heart and I thank you!
  6. its true...considering that they are all 60+ years old and jack has recently gotten over cancer, and ginger...well, is ginger, I'd say that it was very good!
  7. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I got the DVD and have watched it several times. I think it's fine. This isn't an SRV clone band we're talking about. These guys were some of the originals and had / have their own unique style. I'm not a big fan of that style but I'm totally impressed at how much those guys bring.

    Far as Jack goes, totally not my style or taste but the guy carries a lot of the vocal load and how many bassists out there do that and play monster chops at the same time ? Not many... To clarify - I'm not saying that Jack has 'monster chops'... Just that he's at least adequate as a bassist and he sings very well. ... and after all in a power trio, somebody has to hold the thing together...
  8. Wesley R

    Wesley R Gold Supporting Member

    this way "It is like a political debate, every one thinks thier side did well an the other side goofed up"

    Maybe its "If you liked them then, you got a pretty big kick out them now".

    I wonder how many band (besides my first one) back then were named after Cream songs, albums, lyrics and such.

    Best of Luck,
    Wesley R.
  9. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    I missed the PBS show, but I was lucky enough to be in the audience when they played Madison Square Garden on October 25, and I can offer my thoughts on the matter.
    Not only are they older and more frail (only Clapton seemed physically strong), but they are all fanatically dedicated musicians, and always have been, and thus the 2005 edition of Cream reflects their matured approaches to playing music.
    Jack has made statements to the effect that they weren't going to be "a tribute band to themselves"-- they weren't going to try to look or sound the way they did in 1968, because they've all been playing and developing steadily as artists in the last 37 years and to do that would've been ridiculous and demeaning to them.
    Chiefly, this meant more space in the music. Instead of constantly churning away, Jack and Ginger actually behaved like a tasteful, supportive blues rhythm section on Eric's feature, "Stormy Monday", for example. To me, a devotee, it was fascinating to hear the three masters in 2005, but at times the extra space didn't help Eric, who seems by now psychologically incapable of playing anything other than "less is more" guitar. There were actually two places where he decided to be gratutiously flashy, maybe just to prove he still has the chops -- "Stormy Monday" and "Deserted Cities of the Heart" -- and those moments struck the crowd like a lightning bolt. But for the rest of the evening, I was wishing he would be less self-conscious, as well as hoping for a little more aggression from Jack and Ginger to fill up the space and maybe goad him a bit. Also, a few people have complained about Eric's use of a Strat instead of a Gibson, but I can't blame him for wanting to feel comfortable.
    Jack can't sing the high notes any more (according to the recent "Bass Player" interview, he even lost his voice entirely for a while after his liver transplant, due to the tube down his throat), but he improvised around the problem like the master he is. And, he's a more expressive singer than ever. "We're Going Wrong" was stunning. His bass playing lacked the aggressiveness and middy, distorted sound of yore, but he was deeply in the pocket, and, of course, he sang while playing an unlined fretless for the last half of the show, and his intonation was flawless. On "Sitting on Top of the World", he played a harmonica solo (it was on one of those frames around his neck) while playing immaculate fretless bass, and -- well, I don't recall anyone ever doing that before!
    As for Ginger, he started out stiff, to the point where he almost looked like his joints were too creaky to let him get around to the floor toms easily. But as the night went on, he got better and better, and by the time "Toad" came around, he sounded every bit as dextrous as he was in 1968. I kid you not. He doesn't play with the same physical force now, and he doesn't fill as much space, but he is still superb. All three guys favored slower tempos and played with a more laid-back feel than in 1968, but I credit that to their matured musical sensibilities as much as to any physical infirmities. Ginger had to be helped off and onto the stage for the encore, which came as a shock, since he had just been playing like a young man moments before.
    There were three thrilling moments where the band sounded like the old days: "Sweet Wine", where they played a truly free and unmannered improvised section; "Sunshine of Your Love", the encore, where they conspicuously got louder and heavier on the coda, seemingly to give us, the people, what we wanted; and "Rolling and Tumbling", where the "train" groove set up by Eric and Ginger behind Jack's harmonica solo was monstrous.
    Jack seemed very moved by the ovations he got after a couple of his showcases, and Ginger got to toss his sticks into the crowd after "Toad" and "Sunshine of Your Love." These were moments when I was genuinely touched by the fact that Jack and Ginger were given another chance to soak up some much-deserved rock concert adulation, after all these decades of plugging away at more creative, less mainstream music.
    I suggest that anyone wondering what the fuss is all about should listen to them in their prime, and then consider their age/health and admire their musical integrity today.
  10. They played White Room and Sunshine on a NY radio station recently (the ones from England, not MSG). I thought they sounded amazingly good, even a little heavier then the original (more of a ROCK sound). But they could've digitally raped it into sounding good if they wanted to, so it's hard to say.

    BTW---Did Ginger play with them this time around? Is he even still alive?
  11. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Yup, Ginger is still alive and he was palying like a fiend with Cream this time around. This amazes me considering he has arthritis now, it's a great testament to his musicianship and persevereance.
  12. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    Doug...thanks for your review and post...i agree with you and others these guys are some of the greatist players the world will ever see together and to see them again made it special to me and millions of others.I cant recall another band who had the music and vocals as well as hit songewriting wrapped up in a power trio who only lasted a bit over two years and it was over 30 years ago. they are truly the best trio in rock ever.
  13. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    -cough- The Police -cough- :)
  14. bassbully43


    Jul 1, 2005
    Please...never....never :rollno: The police good yes as good as Cream... no...and please dont compare.... Don't stand so close to me to any Cream tunes and Roxanne gee thats a hard one to play ...really like the police but far form Clapton,Baker and Bruce....i did like their hair thou and those videos :D
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Sting may not seem as technically proficient as Bruce to you, but he's a hell of a player. Try singing and playing "Spirits in the material World" on a fretless some time to get an appreciation of the level of technical talent Sting brings to the table. I submit Andy Summers is easily Clapton's equal talent-wise on guitar (just listen to his extremely impressive jazz catalog - I have it all) and Copeland is Baker's equal, easily one of the most important rock drummere ever to pick up sticks.

    As for compositional talent, Sting's pop/rock catalog, Summers' Jazz works, and Copeland's scoring catalogs speak for themselves.

    I don't want to get into a "this guys better than the other" pissing contest, but if you want to talk about the best trios ever in rock history the Police definitely have a very compelling case. You say "they are truly the best trio in rock ever." and then follow up with "please don't compare"? Preposterous. The first statement is a blanket comparison to every other rock trio that ever played and an open invitation to other comparisons.

    Back on topic - I just found out that the Cream Reuion concert is going to be on my local PBS HD station tonight! I'll definitely pull up a seat for that and watch!
  16. nysbob


    Sep 14, 2003
    Cincinnati OH
    I enjoyed seeing them together very much...Bruce has tremendous intuitive feel for phrasing & hasn't lost that. His sound was a little disappointing, but not his playing. I was never a huge Ginger Baker fan, but he impressed the hell out of me in overcoming his physical problems and totally holding up his end of the bargain. I'm glad they did it. ;)
  17. I haven't heard much of their work and my dad recorded it off of PBS, so I am going to watch it with him tonight before our usual Friday night jam session.
  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge

    I was never a Ginger fan either. I think a part of that is that as a band, they've acquired the patience to leave a little air around the notes. Basically they don't all overplay, all the time anymore. After listening to and watching the DVD - I *get* Ginger's style a lot more. Not to say I like it. Not really sure if I do or don't actually... At least now I can hear what he was attempting to do. I really like the Pressed Rat & Warthog song. Weird for sure, but the drum figure is cool and GB's extremely precise with it. That aspect I like a lot.

    Go back and listen to say (Live Cream Vol2) and while it's genius chops'man'ship going on, these guys have matured into much more tasteful musicians.
  19. GrooveWarrior

    GrooveWarrior Supporting Member

    I guess I am the only one who wasn't impressed. :D

    Oh, and I, too, find the Police to be musically superior to Cream . . . at every position.
  20. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    Hey, I think that's the same show I saw last night. Well, just a bit of it.

    I was mesmerized by JB; he's the reason I started playing bass in the first place. And the song too - that's the one they were doing when I happened on that channel - Crossroads. I wish he'd been up in the mix a little more though, but I could 'see' him doing some of those famous little fills of his.

    Thing is, and this is slightly OT; I was staring at his right hand and realized he plays the same way he always had (from the old videos), but after all this time to see him play again, and after all the talk of 'where to anchor?' and all that. He has that 'floating hand' thing going on there, quite unlike most bassists I've seen, and it looked like he favors the index finger for plucking. I never really noticed it before, or if I did I thought it was a 'show' sort of thing for 'lipsyncing' they did for some of those old videos. But there he was, his hand sort of flapping or fanning over the strings and the one finger curled and plucking.

    And then I remembered he started off on Cello, and, I 'think' that's the way bowed instrument guys pluck - the one finger while the others hold the bow. Just a small little realization there, but...I never sat and analyzed his technique adult, I guess. Seeing him as a kid is one thing - everything is amazing - but it all sort of blurs together and then you're not 'really' looking at it anymore. Being forced to confront the present version of a past hero was, really good.

    He really is as good as he used to be imho. :)

    I mean, he could play rings around me and I wouldn't have a grudge at all!