2005 Reunion Concerts at the RAH

FRIDAY MAY 6th

Same setlist - another review from Paul Olsen who got Saiichi's ticket as he was getting ready for his gig with Peter Brown that night:  http://www.modernguitars.com/archives/000712.html

 

THURSDAY MAY 5th

Same Set List, Saiichi's review: http://www.modernguitars.com/archives/000705.html and note that Saiichi is just getting a ticket each night!

Review from Rick Kent:

Cream Fans,

Thursday show. This is getting serious. They are even better again
tonight! The band has hit it's stride full tilt. The only thing holding them
back is they are playing so many songs they can't into a full fledged
jam of 20 minutes on N.S.U. , Spoonful, Sweet Wine ....

Tonight I was 7th row floor. My ticket broker originally said 10th row
and I had no idea if was right, left, center. My 7th row was situated
on Clapton's side on the aisle. Being on the aisle is key for rushing
the stage after the last number (Toad) before the encore. Everybody is
hip to rushing the stage after Toad so it's a free for all to get position.
How good of a time I have depends a little bit on how crazy the people
are seating around me. I'm crazy and I don't hold anything back however
I do keep my manners intact. This would a great night for having fun
people around me. They were totally into it!


I had fantastic acoustics on the arena floor compared to the crappy 
sound of Tuesday's Stalls O section. Real close but bad mediocre
sound. For the record I was Stall's K Monday which had awesome sound.
All of these seats have a killer view.

I'll hit on my personal high points for Thursday the 3rd Show.

They did the same set list but a better set.! For the second number 
Spoonful they got more serious with it. This has to be the best song on
the planet that has only two notes. Both Clapton and Bruce did some
improvisational work that wasn't present the other nights. I'd guesstimate
that an extra minute or even two minutes was added for this little jam
on Spoonful. The concert was just getting started. 

Sleepy Time Time was incredible again. Monday was incredible but
tonight Clapton bumped it up a notch again. Eric seemed to be more in
charge tonight. He was on.

When Ginger started with the vocals on Pressed Rat and Warthog the 
audience let out a cheer. People are expecting the songs and the order
since the set list is published so many places. It has become a delight
to hear Ginger Baker do this song. It's such a novelty. Once again
Ginger and Jack were kidding around and cracking each other up
and even Eric got in the act Thursday. Right away Ginger flubbed a lyric 
(same as Tuesday) and let out a big belly laugh (but much louder that 
Tuesday). I'm telling you those three guys are having a great time up 
there! No question.

N. S. U. is a Cream fan staple and arguably their best jam song. When the
time came for what could be the jam Clapton took his stance and seemed
to plant his feet for the Jack, Ginger, Eric strut. It happened folks. They
light it up for about a 4 minute jam and it was heaven. Jack seemed to
cut it off pretty quick. They have so many numbers to do it's a shame in
a way since the jams have to be shorter. No 15 minute free for all's. One
more night to change that. This was not a frantic jam of immense proportions
but it hit the spot. A couple minutes longer here too.

Born Under a Bad Sign was totally bad ass. Is that a musical term? Jack
was so strong here. His singing, his bass. People don't realize it but
they never did this song ever live. Technically this was only the fourth
time they'd played it live if you include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Awards. They are getting right! The audience went nuts after this one.
I'm going to credit it mostly with Jack's singing. He really drew out the last
bit.. "if it wasn't for bad luck, I've have no luck at all"... over and over and over
sang different each time. Eric would have made Albert King proud tonight
with his treatment of the blues guitar.


We're Going Wrong was the best they'd done it and again Jack was on
for this one. They are so much better tonight. It's the third night and it's
looser. Each song is seeming to be just a tad longer and more drawn out.

Badge has got wonderful reception each night. Badge has been the same
every night and one of the only songs that was totally on from the first show.
This could be due to Clapton doing it so many times in his solo shows over
the years. It's really a Clapton number. 

Crossroads was great Thursday. The other nights not so great. I really like
this song but I've always said it's hard to hit it just right with the changes in
it. Clapton seemed to really concentrate. A lot depends on how well Ginger
and Eric mesh on this one and it worked. Great job guys!

White Room was tasty. You can tell they are starting to wind up for the finish. 
It's getting more intense. The last bit of White Room gets a jam thrown in and 
not a song you'd expect that to happen but it was done right. It was incredible.

Toad! I love it! Ginger was on again. Best tonight. I'm ao down with those 
African beats. He could stay on the toms all night and that would be enough
for me. He has that swing that Eric talks about. He doesn't need to hit the
skins hard to get his message across.

Most all know Toad is the last song before the encore. Just before Baker
finishes up there is rush to the stage on the arena floor and I was ready,
I got to center stage less than 10 feet away from Mr. Eric Clapton. I could see
the different color of his nose hair. This is a close up view. I was next to this lady
from German that runs the Germany Eric Clapton fan website. She was taking
pictures the whole time. We are having a good time!

Encore

and they said.......
Iím with you my love, The lightís shining through on you.
Yes, Iím with you my love, Itís the morning and just we two.
Iíll stay with you darling now, Iíll stay with you till my seas are dried up.
In the Sunshine of Your Looooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeee!!

The last couple minutes of Sunshine was a total frenetic free for all
jam. This is what we want. This is Cream. The pace was way over the top.
They exceeded all the speed limits they've been putting on themselves.
I was overwhelmed. This could have been my high point of the reunion.
I don't see how it can get any better for Friday night. I'll try hard to exceed
some speed limits for myself Friday night. I don't know what that means
yet. I'll let you know if I find out.

One more night and that's it. Maybe forever.

Rick Kent
Austin, Texas
Cream Fan since age 11

 

Some Photos (courtesy of Andy):

 

Nice to see Ginger's drums are well miked - close and distant.  Looking forward to the DVD/CD!

TUESDAY MAY 3RD

Same set list but generally a better concert - more relaxed and less nervous.  All concerts are being filmed & recorded so at least a DVD and probably best version collection for Live CD(s).

Review (Apologies to whoever did this review, I am very happy to attribute or just link but it was emailed to me)

"After opening night, I just had to get a ticket for last night!  Same set exactly but as Art Arias said afterwards, it seemed like Eric was maybe a touch looser, possibly more at ease after wondering how things would go the first night (Probably relieved that the reviews were generally very good).
 
A few thoughts:
 
1.  One one song (Outside Woman Blues, I think), Eric was so into it that he was moving his head side to side and "missing" the mike a bit with his vocal!
2.  On Born Under a Bad Sign last night, E started to solo but abruptly stopped after Jack continues singing another verse!
3.  E missed his vocal at one pooint on Sunshine and then remembered it was his turn.
4.  I didn't mention the laser light show behind the stage but very cool swirling psychedelic colors.
5.  Ginger obvioulsy wants to make some cash since he was wearing and pluggin the T-shirts both nights.
6.  Len beat me to mentioning Jack saying "Eric Clapton on vocals" - is the mystery now solved?
7.  Crossroads didn't match the WoF version IMHO but no other version ever has for me. Still great to hear  fast version.
8.  Badge sounds so differenet with J & G. Jack's bass sounding like the album version. This is the first time Cream has ever played this song live.
9.  I was thinking it would have been so cool if George were still alive and walked out to play that intro guitar before E's solo.  Watching from above though.
10. The sound that these 3 guys make sounds like such a much bigger band.
11. The bass and drums stand out because they are so different from anyone else E has played with since Cream.
12. Jack did not have the agonized expression last night as on Monday where he seemed to be having huge problems with perhaps arthritis in his hands.
13. So great to hear Deserted Cities, a song I always loved. A guy shouted for it Monday right before they went into it.
14. E's slide guitar was not quite loud enough to hear well on Rollin' & Tumblin'
15. Jack's vocals are superb
16. We're Going Wrong was a huge surprise and really well done for one of the lesser known songs.
17. Last night's crowd didn't seem quite as over-the-top as Monday's. Great applause but not standing ovations on each song.
18.  I imagine many hardcore fans just had to be there opening night.
19. As Art said last night, very little wah-wah but the guitar tone was great anyway. Again only Strats."

 

Review Links

A review from Saiichi: http://www.modernguitars.com/archives/000691.html

And note link to his review of 1st night, and the other review of 2nd night.

 

MONDAY MAY 2ND

Set List ( Thanks to Bob Elliott, once again!)

"Off to a great start!!  And, a few surprises!

I'm So Glad
Spoonful
Outside Woman Blues
Pressed Rat and Warthog
Sleepy Time Time
N.S.U.
Badge
Politician
Sweet Wine
Rollin' & 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

encore of :
Sunshine of Your Love"


A Detailed Review (Apologies to whoever did this affectionate and balanced review, I am very happy to attribute or just link but it was emailed to me)

Rock & Roll Hall of Famers rediscover blues ancient and modern at Royal
Albert Hall

On November 26, 1968, Cream walked off the stage at London's Royal
Albert Hall for what they fully expected to be the last time. Exhausted
by infighting and non-stop touring, their rare instrumental telepathy
creeping into formula and all but obliterated by arena-PA volume, rock's
first supergroup -- guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Jack Bruce and
drummer Ginger Baker, already individual stars in Britain when they
formed in 1966 -- held rock's first super-wake in this majestic
Victorian concert hall, playing two final shows of what Clapton once
described as "Blues Ancient and Modern" to audiences that literally
begged them not to go, with massed cries of "God save the Cream!"

Those prayers were finally answered, thirty-seven years later. At 8:10
p.m. on May 2nd, Clapton, Bruce and Baker walked back on to that stage
to a standing, delirious, disbelieving ovation, opening the first of
four shows this week at the Albert Hall with the perfect, galloping
sentiment: the Skip James blues "I'm So Glad," from their first album,
Fresh Cream. This was, admittedly, not the breakneck, juggernaut Cream
of the concert half of 1968's Wheels of Fire or the post-mortem live
albums. Clapton's old wall of Marshall cabinets was gone; he played
through just two small tube amps, with a Leslie for that majestic bridge
lick in "Badge." And Clapton has long since exchanged the assaultive
snarl of his original Cream weapons -- the Gibson SG and Les Paul -- for
the cleaner ring and bite of a Stratocaster. There was less assault in
the music, but more air, which allowed the original swing in Cream's
power blues to come through: the conversational way Bruce improvised
inside Clapton's slalom runs and grinding notes during the instrumental
breaks in "Spoonful" and "N.S.U."; the taut fire of Baker's snare and
tom-toms under Clapton's solo in "Sleepy Time Time."

Clapton's brief remarks to the crowd suggested lingering nerves and
fears of overexpectation. "Thanks for waiting all these years," he said,
after a rare live outing of "Outside Woman Blues," from Disraeli Gears.
"I think we're going to do every song we know," quickly noting, "We'll
play them as well as we can." But when Clapton pointed out that "the
slings and arrows of misfortune cut us down in our prime," Bruce was
having none of it. "What do you mean?" he interjected with needling
glee. "This is our prime."

It was a bold claim for a band, which, with the exception of a brief
reunion set at their 1991 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,
had not played together in nearly four decades. And much that was once
remarkable and unique to Cream -- the fusion and compression of jazz and
blues dynamics into pop song; the instrumental democracy of the power
trio; the license to jam at great length -- is now established rock &
roll language and tradition. But the deliberate tautness of the
performances tonight, sounding at first uncomfortably close to
overrestraint, was probably closer to the way Cream first heard
themselves in 1966 and early '67 -- a modern R&B trio of equal, virtuoso
soloists; blues purists with futurist nerve -- before the live extremes
and routines of '68 took over.

Many of the highpoints were in the details: the odd bent and time of
Bruce's and Clapton's twinned riffing in "Politician" against Baker's
straight, anchoring motion; the heightened tension of Bruce's high,
choking bass notes and Baker's tom-tom bombs under Clapton's solo in
"Sweet Wine." In a stunning exhumation of the trance-rock gem "We're
Going Wrong," from Disraeli Gears, Baker's mallets rolled across his
tom-toms in liquid 6/4 time as Bruce sang with operatic despair over the
simple, climbing tension of Clapton's strumming. And at the end of the
encore, "Sunshine of Your Love," Clapton, Bruce and Baker locked into a
powerful, mounting suspense, a droning, one-chord crescendo that,
frankly, climaxed too soon with a final reentry into that immortal riff.

The only venture outside Cream's recorded library was a cover of T-Bone
Walker's "Stormy Monday," a Clapton vocal-and-guitar showcase that made
clear how the balance of power and celebrity has shifted since he was
the band's junior genius and the quiet mediator between Bruce's and
Baker's combative tempers. "Crossroads" also bore the matured Clapton's
touch, taken at the country-funk gait he has long favored in his own
shows. But the surprise of the night was the focused power and
undiminished strength of Baker, who sat ramrod straight as he fired off
precise, provocative accents -- cymbal stings, snare gunshots and
double-kick-drum eruptions -- without loosening his grip on the pulse.
Even in the inevitable "Toad," he soloed with startling control, never
breaking the snapping, high-hat beat as his sticks flew over the rest of
his kit.

And it was Baker who left the audience with the defining image of the
night: stepping out from behind his drums after "Sunshine of Your Love"
with a huge smile, pumping his fists in the air like a former
championship boxer who had just gone twenty rounds with history -- and
won.

Review Links

http://qcwizards.chem.warwick.ac.uk/~taylor/cream.html

http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Music/05/03/cream.reunion.concert/index.html
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4506185.stm
(Be sure to click on the photo of Jack. 
This will open up a six-photo album.
Each photo has an excerpt from a different reviewer that saw the show.). 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/02/arts/extra/02cream-extra.html?ex=1115784000&en=adbaae74bd90fccf&ei=5070


 http://breakingnews.iol.ie/entertainment/story.asp?j=141711850&p=y4y7yz556

http://www.canada.com/news/national/story.html?id=d59658df-9bb0-4bf2-baf9-c1bf986411d3

http://today.reuters.co.uk/News/newsArticle.aspx?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=2005-05-03T095933Z_01_JON335919_RTRUKOC_0_ARTS-CREAM.xml

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music/4506185.stm

http://www.mp3.com/updates.php?artist_id=3371&article_id=41176

 

http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/05/02/195238.php
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/05/03/ncream103.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/05/03/ixhome.html
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,14936-1595943,00.html
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=4494036
http://www.starfileonline.com/
 
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/reviews/story/0,11712,1475325,00.html

Some Photos
http://www.core-sound.com/Cream1.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/Jack1.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/Ginger1.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/LeeList.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/Cream2.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/Lee1.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/Stage1.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/Jack2.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/LeeList.jpg
http://www.core-sound.com/Cream3.jpg

The Official Merch

http://www.cream2005.com/thestore_merch.lasso

 

Many thanks to the various contributors - Nick,  Neil, Alan, Mark, Bob etc.  Any reviews welcome!!!!
(I'll always be a 2 days late - the time difference to OZ + I'm at work!)