Cream, ‘Royal Albert Hall London 2005′ – Blu-ray Review
Cream take fans on a generous, if somewhat neutered, trip through their glory days on the 2005 concert film 'Royal Albert Hall,' newly released on Blu-ray this fall.
The concerts marked the first time in nearly 40 years that Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce had performed a concert together, and the simply-dressed trio don't waste any time on dramatic entrances.
Instead, they launch without fanfare into 'I'm So Glad' on a simple stage set enhanced only by a large video screen that constantly shows psychedelic images behind them. The minimalistic lyrics of the track tell you what to expect over the next two hours: Lots and lots of musical interplay. Oh, and a bazillion guitar solos.
It's understandable, but still a bit disappointing, that all the sonics are cleaned up and turned down to respectful volumes and tones, especially when compared to the ruckus these guys used to create.
We know, it's hardly surprising to anyone who's watched Clapton's music grow more and more refined and traditional over the years. But.. still.
Regardless, he very nearly makes up for it with a lengthy series of extended guitar solo explorations that show his skills certainly haven't gone away in that time.
Bruce and Baker also get their time in the spotlight, with the latter proving once again to be one of the more unique and inventive drummers in all of rock music. It's just a thrill to see all three of them together.
However, it's only on the set-closing 'Sunshine of Your Love' that the trio ever really catch any kind of magical musical fire, with Clapton abandoning his typically stoic stage persona and actually bending over as if to fully put his back into the newly arranged (or improvised) instrumental workout section of the song.
Watch Cream Perform 'White Room' at Royal Albert Hall