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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