by Kjell Åshede
Cover of Nov '67 Scandanavian Tour Program
|In January of 1967 I turned 15 and for my age I think I had already acquired a quite distinct taste in music. Ever since my oldest sister and her boyfriend brought Elvis to our home I preferred the roughest, toughest and loudest music. When Beatles hit it big with "She loves you" they became my new favourite act and remained so until I heard Rolling Stones` "Little red roster". That then was the ultimate roughness for me and I even saw them in 1965 at the same time as they had released "I cant get no satisfaction" and their third album. Seeing Stones also made me realise how fascinating live performances can be. 1966 was the year I discovered The Who and "My generation" was a world hit. Then came 67 and after finishing school in June our family moved to our summercottage for the holidays. That became the summer of love in much of the Western Hemisphere. Although I liked music a lot I only had a couple of singles and one LP to play, so when my parents left me alone and went on a 2 week vacation a friend of mine moved in, bringing his tape recorder. We had friends over and lived like hippies partying every day. On one of his tapereels, my friend had recorded the radio broadcast of Creams first appearance in Sweden, the march 7 at Konserthuset in Stockholm. I had heard about Clapton before but the sound and the very different songs made me fall in love with Cream at "first hearsight". The broadcast had only four songs, "NSU", "Stepping out", "Traintime" and "Im so glad", with some "funny" cheerful commentaries in between but we listened to it again and again for those two weeks and the rest of the summer. I especially liked the trio concept with all three being of equal status. And they were the loudest band in the world!||
Review of March 7 Stockholm Performance
Came spring and I bought a second-hand taperecorder and made a copy of the broadcast. Also my middle sister borrowed "Fresh Cream" from a classmate so I taped it to. The local papers had short notices about a new album and a new Scandinavian tour and a date was set for Gothenburg, November 15. In October the tickets where released and I bought mine immediately. About a week before the concert I purchased "Disraeli gears" the day after it got to the stores. The psychedelic cover, new songs and sound made me even more addicted. My favourites were "Sunshine" and "Tales" but I loved the album as a whole.
The venue for the concert was Lorensbergs Cirkus, which was right in the heart of central Gothenburg. Situated 500 meters from the, then, fanciest hotel in town (where all the real stars lived, Hendrix for example smashed a suite there). It was a wooden building originally built for circus acts and vaudeville theatre. Inside it really looked like a circus with pillars holding up the rather high ceiling. If you were unlucky you might be sitting behind one of the pillars and you would only be able to see half the band! I think it could hold an audience of about 1000-1200 people. On the outside it was green, high without any windows, and from 1964-65 it had been used for popconcerts regularly. A lot of local bands were around and if they werent in "popband competitions", they were used as support acts when the big elephants came to town. I had seen two British acts there before. A concert, back then, was called a popgala and late in 66 I was at an almost painfully extended one with lots of local bands doing three or for numbers each, only waiting for The Who. They hadnt even released "My generation" yet but where really worth waiting for. Apart from the music they did their full visual act, Pete smashing his guitar on the stack, Keith kicking out his drumkit and Roger swinging his mike by the cable high to the ceiling and letting it drop to the floor, dead.
Pete demolishing his tele on European tour in May '67
In February67, just a month before Creams first visit, I saw a great popgala with Spencer Davies Group as headliners. They were impressive with their tight sound and their good songs; especially "Keep on running" and "Gimme some more lovin".
But now it was November and the event of the year was approaching. As I had the new album I was very curious how they would manage their new songs, especially "Sunshine" and "Tales" with that strange, but wonderful, new sound, the WaWa. Was it only a studios gimmick, like phased drums, or would they have it live?
15th was a Wednesday and it was school as usual for me. But anticipation grew in me during the day and at last it was time to go to the concert. I took a tram to the city from my suburb and arrived in good time. I guess my recollections of the concert is of course blurred after all these years but putting together what can be read in the reviews of it and other facts, with my memories I can give a pretty accurate picture of it.
There were three support acts; Young Flowers from Denmark who tried their luck with a couple of Cream numbers! Not too impressive though. Then there were two local bands of lightweight pop class. None of left any impression at all. After an intermission the lights were dimmed and then finally Cream came on.
They started with "NSU" and there was only one spotlight on Ginger battering his tomtoms. Then a spotlight on Eric as he started playing and finally one on Jack as he came bouncing/dancing up to his mike. He turned his right side towards the audience and started singing over his right shoulder. Then the first chorus and I were in heaven! The setlist included "Sunshine", "Tales" and "Were going wrong" from the fresh new album. The live performances of "Sunshine" and "Tales" was just as fantastic as I had hoped and my eyes were glued to Ginger as he let his mallets wander around his toms in "Wrong". I was much into drumming and I took it up myself in March 68. Because of/thanks to Ginger it was perfectly natural for me to use, not only regular sticks, but also mallets as well as brushes. The rest of the set was "standard": "Stepping", "Traintime" and "Toad". Im not sure but I think they left out "Sleepy" for "Wrong" and Im pretty sure they finished off with "Glad". The improvisations were quite extended although I dont think any was longer than 10-12 minutes. As far as I can recall Eric played his SG and Jack his EB3 for the whole concert. They had double stacks and they were fantastically loud. Its hard to remember everything correctly after all these years but the concert left me with ringing ears for a couple of days and on clouds for a long time!
I dont remember going to any more concerts at Lorensbergs Cirkus and it was probably torn down about a year later (today theres a multi-floor carpark). In 68 I saw The Who again and in 69 Blind Faith, both at the concert hall of the amusement park Liseberg and after that the concerts moved to the City Concert hall. Through the years Ive seen quite a few more big name bands (Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Yes and others) but Cream in November 1967 at their peak has always stayed in my heart as the most outstanding experience.
© 2001, Kjell Åshede
Kjell on his "Ginger" kit in 1972
(note the matched grip and cymbal stands)