The event was broadcast by BBC television on 5 January 1969 at 22:10 with the title 'Omnibus - Cream The Last Concert' directed by Tony Palmer. The recording is alternatively known as 'Farewell Concert from the Royal Albert Hall', 'Farewell Cream', 'Cream's Last Concert' or 'Cream Last Concert.
The British Film Institute (BFI) hold original footage of the event (BFI identifier 18469) made by Robert Stigwood Organisation and directed and produced by Tony Palmer. The footage shows Cream in concert before they disbanded in 1968, intercut with interviews with each of the musicians in turn.
"On 26 November, 1968, Cream played their final two shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Before the gig started, I just wanted to get it over with, but once I was up on stage, I became quite excited. I thought it was great that we could do this and keep our heads high, and walk away from the whole thing with a fair amount of good grace. It also meant a lot to me knowing that out there in the audience there were not just fans, but musician friends, and people on the scene who had all come to say their goodbyes. My overwhelming emotion, however, was that we had done the right thing. I think we all knew that. At the end of the second show, there were no party, no speeches. We just went our separate ways."
(Eric Clapton, The Autobiography, 2007)
"The Cream delivered all that was expected of them, and a little more, at their final, farewell-type Albert Hall concert last week. Of course, the atmosphere helped: with just about every hole in the Albert Hall filled by totally appreciative and demanding fans, with TV cameras adding an extra dimension of occasion, with a first half (by two groups – Yes, and The Taste) that managed to be quite exciting and whip up suspense for The Cream, with pleasant compering by John Peel–in short, with everything going for them, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton were easily enabled to justify their reputations and even – if possible – reach a little higher. That was IT – the ultimate potential of The Cream was realised."
(David Griffiths, Record Mirror, 7 December 1968)
"CREAM. November 26, 1968, was an historic occassion in the world of pop music. A group of three called simply 'Cream' made their farewell appearance at the Royal Albert Hall. They had played together for only two years, but during that time they gave - almost singlehandedly - a musical authority to pop which only the ignorant cannot hear. Their records had sold several million copies in the previous twenty-four months. They earned more per year than the annual government arts subsidy. They were admired by Leonard Bernstein and Stravinsky.
Two years ago each was the other's favourite performer, so it was inevitable that they should join forces. they may not be the greatest musicians or the greatest poets of the age - but together with The Beatles, they are getting through to the greatest number.
Their motto is simple; 'Forget the message, forget the lyrics, and just play.'
In the cultural barreness that permeates our thinking, we still prefer what we know. We find it hard to consider that there may be something interesting lurking in 'pop'. It says a great deal for the integrity of some pop musicians that these three, after two years of almost unparalleled success, have now decided to break up - not through laziness or self-satisfaction, but through a genuine desire to seek new ways of making music, to discover new means of expressing the way we are. What Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker have done is to show that the form of most pop music - eight-bar phrases, simple-minded harmonic progressions, and nursery rhyme lyrics - is unltimately unable to cope with the pent-up bitterness and musical aspirations of the young. To these aspirations, Cream have given a language and to this bitterness, Cream have given a hope."
(Tony Palmer, 1968)
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