Cream returned from the USA in Mid October. After a short break they were on the road again through U.K. and Europe. This tour must have held some trepidation's for them.
When they left for the US in August, they were essentially a song based band but now they were into extended improvisation. While this had been wildly accepted in the USA, England was still oriented towards the pop song approach. It has to be said that many of their fans didn't like the change.
There are two bootlegs documenting this period. One is from an unknown UK venue and the other from Stockholm's Konserthusert. Both are audience recordings of only reasonable quality.Unknown, UK, Oct-Nov? 1967
While the precise dating/location is unknown the general dating is correct. There are venues that could be guessed at but it is really not possible to say. Their UK touring in this period was not intensive as England lacked the large venues that were needed to pay the performance fee. The Ricky Tick clubs were simply too small.
This is the end of their set with the typical song list. Eric introduces "Spoonful" with a bit of hesitancy - reflecting the concern of how the audience was going to react to the upcoming 15 minute jam. This implies a conservative set list opening with the shorter songs, probably - "Tales of Brave Ulysses", "Sunshine of Your Love", "Sitting on Top of the World" and/or possibly "We're Going Wrong".
Sound Quality: Guitar and Bass are clear but vocals and drums distant. This indicates that the PA was not up to the mark (the mikes picked up and helped boost the drums). The bootleg recording is overspeed. Tape noise is quite high with some 'breathing' effects from the use of a volume limiter at the start of "Spoonful" and tape stretching.
To my knowledge this performance has never been on a bootleg CD and is also rare in collector circles.
A strong but not outstanding rendition. There are the familiar reference points ("Cats Squirrel" riff) and a different variation in the ending. Eric makes extensive use of the woman tone. In style it is not as rampant as we hear on the Grande Ballroom but approaching the architectural style of the Winterland recordings. However this really warmed them up.
Stepping Out (9.58)
"We'd like to do a long number" laughter "longer than that one"
A performance of typical length and Eric really lets fly. It clearly breaks into 4 sections, the trio then Eric unaccompanied for a while and he pauses on two occasions, deciding where he was going next! Each section is distinctive as he goes down another path including a high volume sustained woman tone - one of the best available performances.
A short version and better for it - compact, tight and strong and probably my favourite.
Ginger has been lambasted for the long Toads but those ones appear to be the exceptions rather then the rule - typically they were around the 10 minute mark. A brief group intro and then he's powering it out. A good one, showing continuing evolution after the US tour.
I'm So Glad (7.19) - incomplete
Eric asks "Do you have any requests" but Ginger signals on the drums that its 'Glad'. They launch into the typically frenetic performance, unfortunately it is just incomplete. Once again they really rip into this song.
A very interesting performance, not great by their standards, but very satisfying. By other standards its a knockout - one analyses Cream at their standard which is a very demanding one.Konserthusert, 14th November 1967
Visit Bengt's site and see more pictures from this concert.
(Stepping Out & Jack is getting a great action photo)
On 10th November Cream went on tour of Scandinavia. There early '67 tour had been a great success in establishing their reputation. On this tour they packed out the large venues.
This boot is an audience tape not a broadcast as sometimes claimed. It was never broadcast, unfortunately.
Sound Quality: A new version, very close to the master tape, provides significantly improved sound. It is still off pitch (flat), but only slightly, with tolerable wow. Sound balance is now very good with the drums reasonably defined, including the kicks, and only minor bass boom. The patches of frequency modulation remain, which identify this as a very close copy of the master. The corrections of the new digital remaster shows this to be one of their best concerts - the easier listening factor.
[Sound Quality: Sound quality is poor and is substantially underspeed (on all copies I have with some worse than others!). However with speed correction sound quality improves substantially. I believe this speed variation was deliberate to stretch the boot as it varies from song to song. Quoted times are for speed corrected - 65 minutes total corrected to 58. Unfortunately frequency modulation is present from tape oxide shedding - present on all versions so it is the source tape].
The band is introduced and there is a pause and then a very stoned Ginger says "I've just had an argument with a fireman".
Tales of Brave Ulysses (4.08)
A great warm up number and they sound like they're pretty hot by the time they've finished.
Sunshine of Your Love (7.33)
"And, the next number is umm no. 27 from the song book and its called "Sunshine from Your Love", no it's not, it's called "Sunshine of Your Love" - "bom bom". The Ginger man was in top form this night!
A compact version with intense playing from Eric including the "Blue Moon" quote. Jack and Ginger power it along especially on the final jam where Baker really rips. A great version very much superior to the official release.
Sleepy Time Time (6.14)
Without speed correction on the original boot version this sounded like they were on tranquilisers (and tuned very flat) but the new version is very clean with only the wow degrading it. EC burns like only he can on a slow blues, Jack in shouting blues mode and takes a solo. Another song that always seemed to come out very well.
"Eric Clapton on 5 string guitar and Jack Bruce on his first 6 string bass". They were in good humour.
Stepping Out (11.48)
EC quickly restrings, tunes up and launches. Fast and intense group section then Eric on his own for a passage before Ginger joins in. Eric drops back a notch doing some quiet blues lick variations, then turns on the picking power, sustained notes, feedback. Volume goes up, Baker powers up building to a great ending climax on which Eric almost fades out before the last crashing chords. This 'architectural' version contrasts with the fractured one from the UK. Jeff Aarons considers this the best "Stepping Out" of them all.
There's not much more one can say about Traintime that I haven't said before. Jack is an good harmonica player but he ain't a virtuoso to be able to pull this off for repeated recordings. Still it's one of the better ones.
He's in top form, what more needs to be said? Near the climax Ginger stops and apologises because his feet are sticking to the floor - doesn't seem to make any real difference!
I'm So Glad (9.10)
I haven't reviewed a bad version, yet. And this is another great one - no more to say. Unfortunately this is not on the new version so the old digital remaster has had to be used - the difference is obvious but more then acceptable to ensure a complete concert experience.
In conclusion a great performance despite escalating tensions. The
new bootleg sound makes it even better - indispensible.
Sunshine at the Konserthusert
© Graeme Pattingale, 2001