Cream: Eric Clapton (vocals, guitar); Ginger Baker (vocals, drums); Jack Bruce (bass guitar).
Recording information: Royal Albert Hall, London, England (05/02/2005 - 05/06/2005).
The turn of the millennium seemed to be the age of reunions, and Cream's re-teaming for a series of shows (the specifics can be found in the album's rather ineloquent title: ROYAL ALBERT HALL: LONDON 2-3-5-6 2005) kept pace with that trend. Although nearly 40 years had elapsed since the legendary power trio first called it quits, there is still a fair bit of the serious chemistry, technical wizardry, and swirling energy that made Cream's music so vital in the 1960s.
The set list features the usual suspects (their hopped-up cover of Skip James's "I'm So Glad" and the canonic riff-ology of "Sunshine of Your Love," among others), with some expected space left for the musicians to stretch out. The band still sounds powerful, if not as wild and searching as they did in the '60s (guitarist Eric Clapton, in particular, sounds a bit reserved). ROYAL ALBERT HALL would not be the place for the Cream novice to start (DISRAELI GEARS or BBC SESSIONS would be a better bet), but the group does manage to recapture some of their former magic, which is impressive considering their age (they're all in their 60s) and all the water that's passed under the bridge since their heyday.
What the critics say...
Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[T]his double CD captures the joyful reaffirmation of just how weirdly wonderful Cream were - through force of each personality demanding space."