Cream: Royal Albert Hall
Based on a couple of lukewarm reviews, I hesitated to buy this two-DVD set, but thankfully Christmas afternoon found me enjoying my own reunion with Ginger, Jack and Eric, a communion that’s been repeated many times since. Cream may be where Clapton earned his “Clapton is God” reputation, but without the best rhythm section ever backing him up at the dawn of his rise to fame, I doubt he’d be any more famous today than Rory Gallagher. It’s the almost telepathic rapport of Baker and Bruce that provides the supple, driving force that carries Clapton’s playing to heights impossible for him to achieve with other musicians. Baker at 66 has more finesse, power and stamina than drummers 40 years younger than him, and Jack Bruce at 62 is beyond astounding. His playing is subtle, dynamic and intuitive, and his voice, especially on the set highlight “We’re Going Wrong,” is as strong as ever. This track alone is worth the price of the set, which contains 22 tracks, beautifully recorded and well filmed. No frills, just pure music by three of the world’s greatest living musicians.