Fan Faithfully Reconstructs Cream’s Final Concert: Watch a New Version of the Show with the Correct Song Order and Run-Time (1968)

The orig­i­nal rock super­group, Cream, last­ed two years, changed the course of rock music, bare­ly held togeth­er because of ran­cor between mem­bers and said good­bye in 1968. Their farewell con­cert at the Roy­al Albert Hall in Lon­don was one for the ages. Maybe not their best per­for­mance, but one of their most ener­getic. And inside the cav­ernous Hall, the three men laid down a wall of unde­ni­able sound.

Too bad that it wasn’t prop­er­ly doc­u­ment­ed, despite a series of cam­eras there that evening. A Youtube denizen called Mike Left­on has tried to rec­ti­fy the his­to­ry by assem­bling a cut of the 70-minute con­cert that plays in real time. It’s the kind of fan project for which YouTube is designed—something not pro­fes­sion­al enough for offi­cial release, but vital­ly impor­tant for the fans.

Go on to the Bezos­Borg site (you know, it rhymes with Glama­zon), and you can find a con­cert film offered on Blu-Ray. What’s wrong with that, you might ask? Cream fans will tell you. Instead of let­ting the band play, the offi­cial Farewell Con­cert leaves off sev­er­al songs, and includes a “total­ly square voiceover by Patrick Allen (who refers to the band as “The Cream” through­out),” accord­ing to the web­site, while anoth­er review­er notes this could be the gen­e­sis of Spinal Tap’s inten­tion­al­ly bad inter­views. (But let’s be fair, the 1960s in gen­er­al were filled with non-rock jour­nal­ists inter­view­ing musi­cians as if they were alien life forms. D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back is a com­pendi­um of such cringey moments.)

On top of that, direc­tor Allen real­ly over­did the zoom lens, which was every­where those days. It’s fun­ny to see how it was used to “spice up” rock band footage, where real­ly you could just hold the cam­era on Gin­ger Bak­er play­ing drums.

This edit cuts Allen’s footage togeth­er with black and white footage from the BBC, and gen­er­al­ly does a fair job fill­ing in the gaps, let­ting the con­cert stand on its own mer­its. It had plenty—the afore­men­tioned Gin­ger Baker’s drum solo on “The Toad.” The rep­e­ti­tion of footage is easy to spot—Jack Bruce tunes his gui­tar quite a lot, Eric Clap­ton looks off­stage, and Bak­er smokes the final half-inch of a rol­lie over the hour—but Mike Left­on made this one for the fans, which is more than you can say for Allen, who made it for fright­ened BBC view­ers still unsure about what all this “rock and roll” music was about. Enjoy.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

When Afrobeat Leg­end Fela Kuti Col­lab­o­rat­ed with Cream Drum­mer Gin­ger Bak­er

Behold the Blis­ter­ing Bass Solos of Cream Bassist and Singer, Jack Bruce (1943–2014)

Jimi Hen­drix Arrives in Lon­don in 1966, Asks to Get Onstage with Cream, and Blows Eric Clap­ton Away: “You Nev­er Told Me He Was That F‑ing Good”

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

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Comments (3)
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  • Mike Byrne says:

    Thanks for this. I’ll keep it. Leonard Bern­stein described these guys as an orches­tra of three and it’s hard to dis­agree. You’re right to lament film­ing method and atti­tude but it was the 60’s and it was old guys being con­front­ed with the shock of the new. Per­son­al­ly, I’m glad Mike fea­tured Jack Bruce. They were equal parts alright, but after Eric, Gin­ger gets the nod. Good to see this again and be remind­ed that it was a peri­od when musi­cians were the real thing.

  • Mike says:

    Super­group and Eric Clap­ton in the same arti­cle? The 60’s weren’t just known for the close up lens but the over rat­ed ‘blues’ gui­tarist, oh hell, he’s just over-rat­ed no mat­ter what he plays, clap­ton as well. And lets not for­get the 5 minute drum solo..good rid­dance to self indul­gence

  • Bill says:

    Wow, get out and lis­ten to much rock and roll do you? I guess not, too bad.

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