Setlist History: Cream's U.S. Gig That Was Recorded For 'Goodbye'

Cream, the supergroup comprised of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce performed what was advertised as their last US concert on October 18, 1968.

Nearly 37 years later they reunited for a handful of reunion shows in the UK and in NYC, but on this day in LA, the hugely popular trio ended the US portion of their Farewell Tour.

Lauded as the first rock supergroup, for many Cream's star attraction was 21 year-old wunderkind Eric Clapton who burst into the scene as the first axe-wielder of the guitar hero launching pad, The Yardbirds when he was just 18.

After a few years he joined up with the Bluesbreakers and The Yardbirds replaced him with Jeff Beck, who was then replaced by Jimmy Page right before Led Zeppelin was formed.

John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. (L-R) Hughie Flint, John Mayall, John McVie (who would later go on to do quite well in Fleetwood Mac) and Eric Clapton

Baker and Bruce were in the jazz/blues group The Graham Bond Organization together, but that situation was far from perfect. When Bond, who had substance and psychological issues, allowed Bruce to lead the band, one of his first moves was to fire Baker.

Why would the drummer do something like that to his bass player? Probably because they fought each other, sometimes even on stage, and sabotaged each others equipment. Far from a healthy relationship.

Then why would young Clapton, already being touted as one of the premiere guitarists in the world alongside Jimi Hendrix?

Because when Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce focused up they were an unstoppable rhythm section infusing jazz, blues, and psychedelic rock capable of levitating audiences of all sizes.

Add the searing guitar stylings of Eric Clapton and his magical Stratocaster and it was no wonder they were able to sell 15 million albums in the brief three years they were together.

From '66-'69 the Brits produced four albums and numerous hits from "Sunshine of Your Love," "Crossroads," Strange Brew," "White Room," "Badge," and "Spoonful," which are still staples in FM rock radio.

Their third LP, Wheels of Fire, became the first platinum-selling double album. They were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 - quite a feat for not liking each other and only being together for a little more than 30 months.

Phil Spector told Rolling Stone how the Goodbye album came to fruition right before they split: Savy trickery at the hands of Atlantic Records chief, Ahmet Munir.

"Cream are breaking up, and Ahmet said [to the band], 'like man you have to do a final album for me.' They said, 'Why man, we hate each other,' or somethin’ like that. Ahmet said, 'Oh no man, you have to do one more album for me. Jerry Wexler [the great producer and music journalist] has cancer, and he’s dyin’ and he wants to hear one more album from you.' So they go in, make the album and he says, 'Like man, Jerry Wexler isn’t dyin’, he’s much better, he’s improved.'”

Ahmet and Clapton shaking hands in '68.

And that's why (some) record execs make the big bucks.

Goodbye was crafted from three songs from the last Forum show and three new tunes. Originally the idea was to make a double album where one platter would be live material and the other new works, sometimes you get what you can.

Plus, when you hear songs like the show's opener, "White Room," you can see why they left it off. It seems out of tune at times, not as powerful as Clapton's later live recordings, and even the cymbals feel a little hot in the mix.

Cream buffs were gifted by Goodbye Tour: Live 1968 which came out on four CDs in 2020 where several versions of their tunes from different venues were compiled.

A song that did make the cut from that Forum show was the electric "I'm So Glad," a Willie Dixon tune which proved to be a perfect vehicle for the frienemies to shred for nine-and-a-half minutes.

Speaking of Spector, opening for those pair of gigs at the Forum were Deep Purple who were making their US debut. They too made a recording, albeit crude, but of first night, on the 18th.

Of the tunes in their set was "River Deep, Valley High" the Ike & Tina Turner hit Spector co-wrote.

The live album, recorded from audio from an open-reel video recording contraption is titled Inglewood: Live in California. Notable because most bands are not specific when they perform at the Forum by acknowledging the city the stadium is in. Instead they usually just call it Los Angeles, despite Inglewood being its own, independent city.

The only surviving member of Cream is Clapton who is now 78 and taking a break until May of next year when he will be touring the UK for most of the month including four dates at the Royal Albert Hall.

Clapton knows that venue well.

When Cream reunited in 2005 for a series of shows they not only played the Royal Albert Hall but made a recording of those shows for a live album too, creatively titled Royal Albert Hall London May 2-3-5-6, 2005.

Ask for it by name.

Tickets for Clapton's Spring 2024 UK Tour are available at his website.

Karma Police - Please Share:

Most played songs

Last updated: 25 Feb 2024, 16:29 Etc/UTC