So, after discussion of possibly the best music DVD I've yet clapped sensory organs on, we come to undoubtedly the worst. I've been hankering after Cream's "Farewell Concert" since glimpsing about ten seconds' worth of black and white footage of it on "The Rock And Roll Years" many years ago: just John Peel's opening pronouncement - "Tomorrow they'll be Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, but tonight they are Cream!" - and some almighty unholy distantly blues-based barrage that followed it, but I was hooked. This disc, however, appears to be something else entirely. Amidst the lurid sleeve illustrations it promises "Classic performance footage and rare interviews" and "Exclusive to DVD: Band Member Profiles", the set list mentions "Sunshine Of Your Love", "Politician", "White Room", "Spoonful", "Toad" and "I'm So Glad", and as a final mark of authenticity the programme is copyrighted in the name of Robert Stigwood. Marvellous, you might be thinking.
What you actually get, however, is a messy travesty: for a start it's in colour, which rather suggests that there's more than one set of footage from this concert doing the rounds. Secondly, no song makes it through a complete performance: we often arrive halfway through, like disgraced latecomers. The music is interspersed (or more accurately, hatcheted up) with interviews led by a fabulously square sounding inquisitor (if you've ever seen The Pink Floyd's encounter with Robert Robinson on a BBC news programme you'll be aware of the territory) - Ginger Baker's segment is unintentionally hilarious, by the way; he appears to have been dragged straight out of bed at some ungodly hour of the afternoon. As if this weren't enough wonderment the sound (Dolby Digital 2.0, it says on the sleeve, as if that matters) and vision (blurred, grainy, splattered with quaint psychedelic effects and nausea-inducing zooms) are about as bad as DVD gets (hopefully).
I've always wanted to see Cream's Farewell Concert: hopefully some day I will. In the meantime, this travesty manages to insult both its subject and its format: however interesting you might think it sounds, it isn't. If you really must have this footage, track it down on VHS: at least you'll be able to tape over it.
Derek And The Dominos