Cream to play more reunion shows

LOS ANGELES - Legendary rock trio Cream, which reunited last year for a handful of concerts in London and New York after a bitter break-up in 1968, has scheduled more shows, bassist and singer Jack Bruce said yesterday.

But don't expect a world tour. Rather, Bruce said that he, guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker will set up camp in select cities for multiple dates, just as they did last year.

"What we feel is that it's so special, and also so emotionally draining that it's not something we could do every day," he said. "We will play more, but where and when I'm not at liberty to say."

He declined to say when an official announcement might be made, joking that he would "get chopped" if he said anything.

Bruce, 62, was speaking hours before Cream was due to receive a lifetime achievement Grammy during a ceremony also honouring rocker David Bowie, country singer Merle Haggard, opera diva Jessye Norman, folk group the Weavers, late bluesman Robert Johnson and recently deceased comedian Richard Pryor.

Bruce, flying in from his farm in Britain, was set to be the group's sole representative. He said Clapton, 60, had other commitments, while it was impractical for Baker, 66, to leave his farm in South Africa.

All three did show up in Los Angeles 13 years ago when Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, burying their differences long enough to play three songs, including their hit "Sunshine of Your Love," for a black-tie crowd.

Then they went their separate ways until last year, when they reunited for four lucrative shows at London's Royal Albert Hall, the scene of their farewell concert on Nov. 26, 1968, and then three at New York's Madison Square Garden.

In its first iteration, the band lasted a little over two years, brewing a potent mix of blues and psychedelia that paved the way for hard rock. But Baker and Bruce fought bitterly, leaving Clapton to play the thankless role of peacemaker.

Cream cultivated the tensions, churning out four albums, and rock-radio staples such as "Sunshine of Your Love" and "White Room." But the group's demise was inevitable.

Bruce said he is less explosive in his old age, and the band knows better how to handle problems, but there remains an underlying, brotherly tension with Baker. On the other hand, he described Clapton as "the most beautiful, kindest, most understanding guy that I've come across."

- REUTERS

 

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