Cream: God Save the Cream - Farewell Concert DVD
It was Baker, Bruce and Clapton who demonstrated that harmonically and structurally what was dismissed as rock'n'roll could be every bit as complex as any contemporary, so-called classical, music. I believe that what still gives the film its power is partly a result of the circumstances in which it was made. It's easy to forget how primitive recording equipment was in 1968. It had only been a year since I had seen the very first colour video recorder at the BBC, and editing videotape was at best hazardous. So what you see in the film, apart from the interviews, was all 'live'. There is not a single edit anywhere. Of course it's rough; raw would be a better word. It's often clumsy and just plain wrong. But I think it still has the extraordinary energy of the occasion. Although you would expect me to say this, I don't think I've seen another recording of a concert in which the atmosphere is so exactly as it was on the night. Two footnotes. Eric Clapton later told me that the main reason the group split up was because the music was not honest. I've always thought it was through sheer exhaustion. In their brief two-and-a-half year existence, Cream played over 300 gigs, traveling night after night in Europe and the States. No wonder there was friction. And yes, Ginger Baker often thought Jack deliberately played too loud so that Ginger could not hear himself. During the filming of Beware Mr Baker, Ginger admitted that he had quite frequently wanted to throttle Jack. But hey, he told me, I loved the bastard. Jack was held in awe, especially by Ginger and Eric. More importantly, he was also held in enormous affection by those who knew him, including me. The film was originally commissioned by the BBC for its 'Omnibus' arts slot. Cream were then thought worthy of consideration alongside Debussy and Picasso. TONY PALMER
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