20th October 1968, Sports Arena, San
Sound Check - Royal Albert Hall
The standard bootleg set list from the 19th is : "White Room", "Politician", "I'm So Glad", "Sitting on Top of the World", "Crossroads", "Sunshine of Your Love". The San Diego gig was also recorded and a few tracks from the same source made available comprising "Traintime", "Toad" and "Spoonful". In the usual way of bootleggers these have all been combined and released as the concert of the 18th at the Forum. And as is also typical - the attributions are wrong.
There is no reason not to accept that "White Room", "Politician", "I'm So Glad", "Sitting on Top of the World" are from the 19th. But with "Crossroads" there is a major change - Eric is playing the ES335 and the sonic footprint changes drastically. It is possible that it is from the 18th but the change in bass frequency spectrum is a clear indicator that its a different venue.
The Forum tracks have already been reviewed and as such are among their best even if they are not their most inventive. On "I'm So Glad" Eric's rigid time but fast tempo playing gives the feel of free form against the rampant syncopation of Baker and Bruce.
White Room (Bruce Brown) 6.38 (From Forum of 19th October)
This is an excellent version, much better than Oakland. Unfortunately there was some recording outage and part of a verse was lost so it was not used. The bass dominates the sound with the vocals high in the mix compared to the released 'Oakland' version. The ending jam is fine with Baker powering it along.
Crossroads (Johnson arr. Clapton) 4.29
An all together stronger, up-tempo version with the sound of the ES335 strengthening the performance. They seem to have reached a truce and have now got it working. Again in the post Winterland style. Sound is better balanced.
Sunshine of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 6.40
Things are working and its solid but unfortunately Jack's amp fails during the guitar break - Eric comps and marks time with Ginger. Jack rejoins then drops out again. This indicates they were using single stacks for recording purposes. Jack eventually rejoins to ride it out.
Traintime (Bruce) 9.47
A long and unspectacular version. The drums are nice and clear for once so that is a real bonus.
Toad (Baker) 14.16
Baker is now fit and rolling. Not his best but solid and clearly evolving into "Do What You Like".
Spoonful (Dixon) 15.09
By this stage Eric seems to have lost interest. Again we hear his blues lick noodling approach until Baker gooses him and he picks up a notch. Once again its mainly the Baker/Bruce show. In the ending passage they get into some nice variations and interplay and thats worth the price of admission.
© Graeme Pattingale, 2000