News Segment


November 9, 2004

NEW YORK (Billboard) – Vintage rock trio Cream will reunite for a string of shows next year at London’s Royal Albert Hall, sources tell Billboard.

The group — guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton, drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce — played its final shows at Albert Hall before splintering in November 1968. Cream has not performed together since its 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Billboard understands that the trio will begin rehearsals after the first of the year, with an eye on a weeklong run of gigs at Albert Hall. It is unknown if plans call for additional shows in other parts of the world. A spokesperson for Clapton had no comment.

In just two years, Cream achieved legendary status on the strength of the albums “Fresh Cream,” “Disraeli Gears” (recently reissued in a deluxe edition by Polydor) and the half-live/half-studio “Wheels of Fire,” expertly blending blues, rock and the burgeoning strains of psychedelia.

“Disraeli Gears” is a particular landmark, sporting such signature tracks as “Strange Brew” and “Sunshine of Your Love,” which features one of the most distinctive riffs in rock history.

“Live, Cream was a great, hardworking band — Eric was supreme and Ginger the most musical drummer alive — and those original live albums were very good, probably the best records of their kind up to that point,” Bruce told Billboard in 1997, prior to the release of the boxed set “Those Were the Days.” “But our studio recordings were probably more important, although there you can tell that each one of us had a different idea of what Cream should be.”

After Cream’s split, Clapton and Baker joined another supergroup, Blind Faith, with Traffic’s Steve Winwood and Family bassist Rick Grech. But the combo issued only one album before Clapton set off on an enduring solo career. Baker and Bruce have continued to record and tour in a variety of incarnations.

Clapton will release a new CD/DVD, “Sessions for Robert J,” on Dec. 7 via Duck/Reprise.

Jonathan Cohen courtesy of Billboard