Blind Faith had
been struggling to complete an album since 18th February.
A major US tour was booked to commence in July just over a month after
this debut concert. Robert Stigwood took the opportunity to promote them through
a free gig in Hyde Park. It was to
be their only UK performance. This
was followed by a short and very successful tour of Scandinavia.
On return they finalised the album.
To ensure plenty of
potential promotional material Stigwood engaged the Australian film maker Peter
Clinton to capture the concert on 16mm film.
This he did but on a restricted budget with just two cameras.
To recoup the cost and gain some cross-promotion Stigwood inserted part
of the “Well Alright” performance into the Bee Gees TV special Cucumber
Castle – recorded in August 1969 and first broadcast in 1971.
Cucumber Castle was a lightweight piece of pop fluff in the Monkees vein
but with a decidedly weaker humour – I actually suffered through it to just
see Blind Faith near the end! The
Bee Gees were Stigwood’s preferred act and he had used the revenue generated
by Cream to promote their careers. Baker
wreaked some revenge however: Baker,
Clapton and Winwood were waiting in Stigwood’s office enjoying his brandy with
Baker rifling through the desk drawers. Behold
he finds the final mix tape of the Bee Gees next single, pours brandy over it
and adds flame. They didn’t hang
around for Stigwood’s arrival.
This DVD almost
reproduces the full concert. The
opening Well Alright is the heavily edited version patched into Cucumber Castle
– basically starts after the instrumental break.
Other parts of the show are padded out with crowd and park shots to fill
out the visuals to match up to the audio recording – synchronisation is far
from perfect but quite acceptable. Do
What You Like is also incomplete missing all the solos except for part of
Baker’s. This looks more like
that the film had run out mid performance.
They are using
a WEM PA system and it is notable that Ginger has a fold back.
The sound would have been pretty ordinary by todays standards but
probably good for those days. Four Marshall stacks are on stage but one is a
Incomplete with split
screen effects to make it look more
impressive for Cucumber Castle. Steve
is playing an RMI Electronic Piano. A
solid if uninspired performance.
Sea of Joy
surprisingly well despite Eric being very laid back. Ginger is working hard locking in Rick. Unfortunately the recording is off-pitch – flat.
Sleeping in the
This song never got any better then ordinary.
Steve moves to
Hammond and puts in a quite spirited performance on the Stones number.
It is notable in this that Baker has now locked Rick in and is working
with Winwood. Clearly Steve is
enjoying having Baker provide the rhythmic drive allowing him to focus on keys
and vocals. His vocal performances
are the highlight of the whole show.
The electric version
is still haunting – a very strong performance and again great singing.
We get the vocals,
organ solo and some drum solo. The
batter of Ginger’s left kick drum has split but he plays on undeterred.
His black Leedy snare is behind him as a spare.
Some more split screen effects
Steve switches back
to Piano and Eric carries off a quite excellent solo. He gets a great tone out of his Telecaster with the Strat
This is announced as
the last number but is followed by the more exciting
Steve plays the RMI not guitar - disappointing
even though his guitar is there. EC's solo is laid back but shows off a
great tone. He is in the throws of reinventing his style.
© Graeme Pattingale 2006