Royal Albert Hall: London May 2-3-5-6 2005 DVD
* * *
Like so many other bands lately, '60s power trio Cream couldn't resist the urge to reunite. This two-DVD set features live recordings from four shows at London's Royal Albert Hall plus a 15-minute collection of interviews about the reunion (as bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce says, "You don't want to be a tribute band to yourself. That would be awful!"). Indeed, the group does more than replicate its old sound: Eric Clapton reworks some of his vocal melodies, Bruce seems more impassioned than ever in "Sunshine of Your Love" and even drummer Ginger Baker gets a voice on the goofy spoken-word "Pressed Rat and Warthog". The group's first live performance of "Badge" (co-penned by George Harrison) more than makes up for a few surprising setlist omissions ("Strange Brew," "I Feel Free"). With performances this rollicking, Cream's reunion shows are more than just a disposable nostalgia trip.
-Catherine P. Lewis
.: Originally published: Paste Issue 19: December 2005 / January 2006
.: Royal Albert Hall DVD on Amazon.com