BOOTLEG SERIES #12: Cream – Winterland, San Francisco, CA. 10th March 1968.

Second Show:

  1. Sunshine Of Your Love
  2. NSU
  3. Steppin’ Out
  4. Traintime
  5. Toad
  6. I’m So Glad

Sunshine Of Your Love kicks off the second set, which the band also played the previous night. That particular version would go on to feature on the Live Cream Vol II album, however the version they played on the 10th remains officially unreleased. At just over 6 and a half minutes long, this is a relatively short version of Sunshine. It wasn’t uncommon for the band to play for double that amount of time. In fact in Boston two months later, Cream opened the show with a mind boggling 17 minute version and followed that by another 17 minutes of Spoonful. Incredible. Sunshine is followed by NSU, and the brilliance of Ginger Baker really shines through. There’s no doubt that the band were driven by his almost supernatural ability behind the kit, especially when playing live. Plus Jack’s probing basslines coupled with Eric’s soaring solos just added to the whole live experience.

The third track of this second set, Steppin’ Out, begins with a count in error by Ginger which causes the audience to burst into laughter. You can almost imagine him sitting behind the drums, counting in, and then giving up in anger when Eric and Jack do nothing. But Eric counts in again and roars into one of Cream’s live staples, Steppin’ Out. It’s a song that Eric first played with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers back in 1966 but was adopted by Cream and extended massively in terms of time and contains a huge amount of musical exploration. The band go off big time with Eric and Ginger getting a chance to solo by themselves. At the 4 minute mark the bass stops and it appears that Jack just lets Eric and Ginger play together for the remainder of the song. This wasn’t uncommon during performances of Steppin’ Out, the same can be heard on other live recordings. After the song finishes, Jack returns with harmonica in hand for Traintime. This time Eric doesn’t feature until right at the very end before playing the intro of Toad, the fifth song from the second set.

Now, Toad. When it comes to drum solos I’m usually not bothered at all. But that’s only because most people can’t play the drums like Ginger Baker. The man was (and still is) a demon behind the kit. There really is no other way to put it. In my mind there are two types of drummers, those that simply keep time and those that actually PLAY. Ginger plays. Another drummer who did the same was Jim Gordon of Derek and the Dominos, but that’s another story. Something like Toad is a work of art and a product of the times. No-one could drum like Ginger and you’ll know exactly what I mean when you listen to this version from the second set at Winterland. Simply breathtaking. The final song of the night is I’m So Glad, although sadly it only lasts for 1:36 as it cuts out early.

EricClapton

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3 thoughts on “BOOTLEG SERIES #12: Cream – Winterland, San Francisco, CA. 10th March 1968.

  1. Jack says:

    Hello Tom,a comment on the “BOOTLEG SERIES #12: Cream – Winterland, San Francisco, CA. 10th March 1968.” There has been a myth that the song “Crossroads” on the official “Wheels of Fire” 1968 release was edited for release,there is even a Wikkipedia page stating that the song was edited,well this bootleg of Crossroad which is an audience recording is identical as the official release which proves that there was no editing on the Wheels of Fire release.How this rumour or myth got started is unknown,but it is totally false.Thanks.

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    • Michael Katz says:

      Absolutely! The song couldn’t be more natural and perfect the way it is. Cream really actually played a few 4 minute songs! Ironically, they rarely every played this version again…….Ginger changed the beat around in future versions, and this, up to what I’ve heard to date, was never recreated, but that was what made Cream unique, right?

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  2. Terence M. Doherty says:

    Wow, what a wonderful article chronicling a truly historic series of shows. I clearly clearly remember how Cream burst on the scene and forever changed the course of rock music, and really legitimized it because of their tremendous musicianship and unparalleled virtuosity. The success of “Sunshine of Your Love” and then “Crossroads” and “Spoonful” just laid to waste every rock guitarist around, and forced them back to the drawing board. Many are oblivious to the fact that Cream ctrl-alt-deleted the entire rock music culture. There are so many bands, so many guitarists, drummers, and bassists who were directly or indirectly profoundly influenced by these recordings. And, many who were indirectly influenced never even realized that fact. People today who were not around at that time often don’t realize how Cream changed everything. If you ask me, rock music can be subdivided into two parts: B.W. and A.W. (Before Wheels of Fire and After Wheels of Fire). Professional and amateur rock musicians who were around at that time invariably wore out several copies of that album, all with the same slack-jawed question in mind that I STILL have to this day: “How in God’s name did they do that?”

    You just can’t overstate the tremendous effect of these series of concerts. This was Cream at the utter pinnacle of their devastating musical powers laying their indelible mark on the history of rock music.

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