Both reviewers rated Orpheus as hyped up crap

Jon Landau reviewed the Cream concert of the 23rd of March.  The full review was published in Brandeis University’s Student Newspaper, “The Justice” on March 26, 1968.  An modified version of this review was subsequently published in ‘Rolling Stone’.  That issue also contained a long interview with Clapton.  

Another review of the concert, by Alan Heineman, was published in June 1968 Downbeat.  This review also encompassed the Jefferson Airplane who had played at Brandeis on April 28th.

It should be noted that both are Jazz reviewers straying into Rock.

We also have the bootleg and it is absolutely confirmed from the details in the reviews that it is a recording of the concert.


Alan Heineman, “Trippin’: Impressions of Cream and Jefferson Airplane”, Downbeat June 1968,  Pp 15-16.  

Jon Landau, “Cream On Its Way”, The Justice [Brandeis University], Vol XX, No.19, March 26 1968, p4.

Jon Landau, “Cream”, Rolling Stone, May 11 1968, p14. (Quotes from this are in italics).


Was Landau’s review balanced and fair?  Well let’s compare the two reviews on specific points (plus my criticisms – why shouldn’t I criticise the critics?):




[Jack] Cassidy and Bruce are the only two interesting electric bassists I have ever heard.



…few rock drummers, however dextrous, extend their rhythmic conceptions much beyond symmetrically divided 4/4; Baker {is an exception]

…Ginger Baker played every rock drumming break, every drumming cliché that there is during his performance of “Sunshine”.  And he …played his instrument flawlessly

Landau must be kidding – Rock drumming was overwhelmingly locked into “symmetrically divided 4/4”.  Baker opened up Rock drumming – no one I repeat no-one was playing Rock drums with anything approaching his technical skills.

[Jorma] Kaukonen and Clapton are among the handful of gifted guitarists, technically and conceptually.

Clapton is a master of the blues clichés of the last 40 years.

Well if Clapton is the master of these “cliches’ where does that leave, B.B., Albert, Freddy, Buddy etc, the ones he is supposedly copying? Landau demeans the creators of these so-called “blues clichés”.

Clapton in particular has few or no technical equals, in jazz or rock.  He has to be heard to be believed.

He knows the music of B.B.King and Albert King like the back of his hand and he didn’t play a note that wasn’t blues that Saturday night

Clapton does know their music and many other blues guitarists.  His influences were more nakedly obvious in the past.  Now they are blended into an architectural solo approach but it is firmly pentatonic scales.

Cream began its set at 2.15 a.m. .. of 3,000 present from 8.00 p.m., fully 2,500 remained, for the most part placidly. Quite a tribute.

After the endless succession of announcements the Cream were introduced to a standing ovation.


It was deserved.  If anything was worth the five-hour wait, its set was.



There are some groups that really should not perform live… For some the opposite is the case and Cream is one of these.



In the first place there is the matter of volume.  A trio – right? Wrong.  Seven orchestras.  Cream’s sound is just this side of physically tangible.  It assaults, drowns, lifts, transports, and when it stops, one feels alone, insufficient somehow.



Cream’s records …present the group as predominantly vocal…In person, it gets the singing out of the way in a hurry and gets down to business.

Unlike on their albums, the group came on as a predominantly instrumental trio with vocals used basically to begin and end each number.


Hunter College Auditorium, March 29, 1st Show.
Note: New stacks with wheels, EC on Les Paul

A Tale of Two Concerts? - Pt 2