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Cream still Cream of the crop

12/27/2005 7:39 AM
Cream still Cream of the crop
The recent reuniting of Cream just shows us that  
Great virtuosity will stand out many years into the  
future! Each member of this group was a young musicians idol during their heyday, be it however short the bands existance lasted.  
It is nice to see that when ya got it, Ya got it...  
These guys still can reproduce their landmark tunes  
in a better than average performance despite a  
35+ hiatus! There is still a lot to learn from these seasoned veterans of the formative rock era.  
Young players please be aware, even if Cream isn't  
your thing!
12/28/2005 4:13 PM

I got the Cream 2005 DVD for Christmas, it is fantastic! They don't have the fire of 20 year olds anymore, but the music is SO sweet and listenable. You can really hear the maturity in each of them. Jack's and Ginger's tone was amazing, you could hear everything. Eric's tone was his muddy Strat thing he has been using for the last few years, which could be so much better. But his playing is unquestionably the best he has done in the last 25 years or so. Maybe better than in the original Cream.  
They seem to have put their disagreements behind and have learned to enjoy each other. You could really see the affection between them on stage, you never saw that with the original Cream.
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12/28/2005 4:54 PM

I guess I was watching the other Cream band. Hey, everybody has their own likes and dislikes. I didn't like it......Bad tone, bad playing and bad singing. I'm looking at it as a 48 year old who has been playing for 35+ years.  
I just feel that for the length of time they have been playing and with all the experience they have, they should be a lot better. As performers, players and overall they are not better than they were some 40 years ago. I would hope that by doing something that long you would improve. I have.....  
I'm sure there are personal aspects to their lives and themselves were they have improved, but not as performers. As a teenager I was impressed, as an adult and long time player, I listen back and see all the good and the bad of the early recordings. Some of it was magical and some just bad, some mediocre. Overall, I think the early stuff was ground breaking but juvenile.  
I was hoping they had matured as players, Clapton looked like he didn't want to be there. The other guys tried really hard to be the players that Clapton wanted and probably would not had left if they were, that's what I saw.  
Read into that as the drummer playing in a pocket with a groove and the bass player not competing with the guitarist but complementing him and tying him to the rhythm. That's the correct way to make music unless you want avant-guard and Clapton did not, never did and that's one reason he left. Whether Baker and Bruce consciously did, I can't answer that, only they can. maybe they don't know what they wanted or were doing at that time, a lot of ego and a lot of drugs.  
Clapton did not want Baker in Blind Faith and that's one reason that didn't work. He came to the states because musically he is a American roots player, something lost to most English players. They do poor facsimiles at best, the worst blues bands I ever heard. But they do some great Blues rock and hard rock, I give them that. Some of the best R&R bands came out of England and they are great at theatrics..........but don't ask them to play blues. Just my opinion...
12/28/2005 6:16 PM
Steve Dallman

I bought the DVD and found the playing oh, so polite without any of the fiery interplay of the band in it's heyday. Just to see if it was my foggy 60's memory or wishful thinking, I ran back to the store and picked up Cream's Farewell concert. Aside from the goofy, psychedelic camera work and strange tone to the mix, it was Cream at it's best, with passion and fire.  
The reunion concert missed all the great interplay between bass and guitar, and Baker was just too laid back to kick them up a notch.  
Notes were played well...songs were sung well, but all in all, they seemed tired and bored. I missed the original tonality, but I'm told they tried rehearsing with Marshalls, and didn't feel comfortable, so they went with the equipment they currently use.  
I'm glad they were able to do a reunion concert before one of them passed on, but I wish they would have done it 10 years ago.  
Listen to a live version of "Spoonful" in their prime. Although a slow blues, it was intense in it's power and passion. In the reunion concert it just laid there...  
A Strat through a tweed Twin SHOULD sound pretty good, but with that doggoned mid boost, it sounded compressed and sort of "fake." I've heard modeled humbuckers that sounded better than Clapton's rig.  
Bruce's rigs appeared to have the eq's set so his tone should have been mid-strong and punchy and should have meshed with Clapton's guitar playing. But the recorded tone was bassy and non-descript and laid there at the bottom. At least when he finally switched to his Warwick fretless, his bass was audible, but his intonation stunk. He's been playing fretless most of his life. I would have thought intonation wouldn't have been an issue. It's not that hard to play in tune on a fretless.  
It really missed the point. We should have seen seasoned professionals take the music of their youth and do it with excellence exceeding their abilities 40 years ago. And with the drug use of early Cream over, their playing should have been precise and hopefully, better than during those drug fogged years in the 60's.  
The Farewell concert performance far exceeded the reunion concert.
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