Cream have long been one of my all time favourite bands and in their short time together they released four studio albums with two containing live tracks. So just like a previous OPINION PIECE article where I ranked Beatles album, I thought I’d do the same with Cream. It’s important to mention that the ranking is my opinion only. Let me know your thoughts.
Wheels Of Fire is Cream’s third album and features some of the most explosive playing the band ever recorded in the studio. The album, being a double album, also features four live tracks recorded at shows in California in March 1968. Those four tracks really showcase what Cream were all about as a live band, the double album essentially highlighting two very different sides of the band. The structured studio band and the improvising, explosive live band.
“Here they are! The Cream!”, says the announcer right before Cream launch into White Room. You don’t really get band announcers anymore, bands now tend to come out and start playing whenever they feel like it. But back then gigs were almost like an art form and Cream were one of the best around.
The best thing about White Room is the delicious playing by Clapton through a wah peddle. It’s infectious. In many cases during 1968 Cream opened their set with this song however you can’t help but notice the band sound a little too laid back or tired during this particular performance. Just this song though as they would pick up massively after this, starting with Sunshine Of Your Love. Sunshine Of Your Love is hands down the most well known Cream song, in fact you’d find it hard pressed to find any music fans that don’t know that gorgeous intro. It’s one of those songs that you know instantly when hearing it. The only fault here is how short this version is considering at some shows they played it for over 10 minutes, in some cases close to 20 minutes. I mean 6 minutes is probably considered long for most other bands but for Cream that’s barely any time at all! I’m So Glad comes next, a Skip James song that Cream first recorded on their debut album. It is the first song of the set where they really open up the taps and give it everything. The performance lasts just over 10 minutes and you’re reminded why Cream were considered one of the best live bands of the late 1960’s and why Clapton was nicknamed ‘God’.