This was Cream’s official ‘Goodbye‘ album released in 1969 (after they had already disbanded), it contains a side of studio songs that were tacked together, and a live side which contains their performances from the LA Forum in October 1968. The studio side contains a single song written by each of the three members, and notably includes the song ‘Badge’ which really puts the nail on Cream’s coffin as it showcases Clapton’s promising future solo career. Clapton has disarmed himself in terms of extensive soloing and this song shows his new approach to blues music. George Harrison played the rhythm on the song to thank Clapton for playing the lead guitar on his song ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ for The Beatles. The live side is really special, and definitely worth listening to; Clapton is playing on his Gibson Firebird guitar at this stage and you can really hear the difference in his tone. It’s less fierce and more single coiley (I think he was playing on only one stack as well), but this doesn’t take away from his playing at all. He doesn’t hold back any punches, and delivers a fairly solid performance.
This is the first concert Cream played on their official ‘Farewell Tour’, which was their sad departure from the world of rock music. Even though this is a bootleg, it was recorded officially, in the hopes of turning it into an official live album, so the recording is excellent. Due to the band not having played with each other for some time prior to this concert, a lot of the songs were sloppy and it was decided that it wouldn’t be officially released, though some of the tracks were released on the Live Cream Vol. I and II albums. Even though this is probably Cream at their worst, they were still significantly better than most other bands at their best. The quality of the recording is worth the download alone, and they actually tear it up on some of the tracks! However… the version of crossroads is an absolute disgrace, Clapton insisted on playing it as a slow groove (similar to how he plays the song post Cream – god I hate post Cream Clapton..), despite Ginger’s attempt at speeding it up Clapton continued to defile the song, and even jumps into a really bad solo. Then again I guess I have high standards for this song, Clapton set the bar so high with his recording at Winterland (released on the Wheels of Fire album, and on my Wheels of Ice compilation) that I wish they had never played the song again after that… that version was, and always will be untouchable. Highlights include one of the only live performances of Deserted Cities of the Heart, White Room, and Politician. Download it here.
This is another legendary performance by Cream, and the only one that has decent video footage. They were on the top of their game at this concert, which was during their European tour, and play mind melting versions of Sunshine of Your Love, Tales of Brave Ulysses and Spoonful.
This is definitely the best bootleg recording of Cream ever. In fact, this recording burns not only all of the bootlegs, but also all of the official recordings. Each member of the band were in full confidence and at the top of their game, they communicated extraordinarily well with each other musically, and blazed through set lists like fire to paper. This was the golden era of Cream! I don’t even think I could name a highlight, it’s all good! But it would have to be N.S.U, this version of the song gets me every time.
This is widely regarded as one of the best Cream bootleg performances during their improvisational jamming period. They were booked to play at Brandeis University at 8.30pm but didn’t arrive until 2.15am, and yet despite their extreme lateness, they were met with a full audience; the surprised band were so grateful that they turned it on full blast for the students. The highlights of the album are the powerful version of Sunshine of Your Love, Tales of Brave Ulysses and the 20 minute N.S.U which contains a 5 minute Baker drum solo due to one of Clapton’s amps breaking down mid solo.
This is one of the most legendary of the Cream bootleg performances, at this stage the band were at their absolute peak, and to this day nothing (except for a couple other Cream performances) can even touch this recording. We are so lucky that people recorded these shows, as we wouldn’t be able to hear these performances otherwise. The shit that was officially released is garbage compared to this nugget of gold! The standout performances are definitely Steppin’ Out, and Sunshine of Your Love, which was their warm up number and cooked at 17 minutes!!! Download it here.