24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Keep the technical aspects in perspective,
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This review is from: Blind Faith - London Hyde Park 1969 (DVD)
I understand the technical complaints made by some here, and wish the footage was shot differently. But it is what it is, and the perspective I have mentioned is this was a shortlived band but an incredibly talented one, with this being the only available video material. I think the music holds up extremely well, and the differences from the album they put out make this that much more interesting, particularly the different, electric version of Can't Find My Way Home, plus the tracks not on the album, including a rousing rendition of Stevie's Means to an End, the blues Sleeping in the Ground (Winwood had a great voice for the blues - it is too bad he didn't sing blues more often), and a great version of the Stones' Under My Thumb.
Looking back at Blind Faith, I feel particularly nostalgic and regretful about it. I was and remain a huge fan of Cream and the Traffic both before and after Blind Faith, but feel that Clapton got off track when he left England to go with Delaney and Bonnie and eventually the Dominoes, as that period coincided with his decline into drug use, which began before he left. Clapton never played with a vocalist who equaled Winwood, and it is wonderful watching him focus on the accompanist role as he does here. Baker is more restrained, tasteful and effective than in Cream here, and that is no knock on his Cream performances. Traffic was great, but Winwood never had the quality of bandmates for live performance he had here. It really was a shame Blind Faith did not stay together, and I am not sure I understand why they did not. Seeing this video makes me wish again they had, with all the great music that definitely would have brought.
I disagree with those who have criticized Winwood's vocal performance here. This is not a studio performance, and Stevie would take chances at times. It was part of his appeal as a performer.
I have greatly enjoyed this disc, and despite the technical limitations it has quickly become one of my very favorite ones. I have watched it a number of times and enjoy it more and more. I have recommended it to friends who have given it near universal raves as well.
In addition to the songs mentioned above, Sea of Joy is great, as the soloing on the studio recording of Grech playing violin or viola is covered by Clapton and Winwood switching off. Clapton does not use the wah wah during the solo on Presence of the Lord, and in general there is less of the two songs in one feel that you have in the studio version. Had to Cry Today closes the concert, and unlike the double tracked guitars in the studio version, this version has Winwood on keys. Do What You Like was truncated and rather sloppily so, but it is the exception in that regard.
In fact it is fascinating the way the band was able to get the range of expressiveness they did with very little use of different instrumentation or effects. It is a lesson to all casual performers who overuse effects as a crutch.
In short, I highly recommend this.
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Initial post: Nov 23, 2008 5:18:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 23, 2008 5:22:07 AM PST
Robert Clayton says:
This is a well-written and informative review. However I must take exception to the writer's assertion that "Clapton never played with a vocalist who equaled Winwood". With all due respect to Stevie Winwood, (and I'm not so sure he deserves said respect considering his 'sell-out' in the 90's with all that MTV-type pop rubbish he produced) Jack Bruce is without a doubt the best vocalist Clapton has ever recorded or performed with. Jack Bruce's voice has amazing vocal range and he is most adept at altering his vocal style to suit the type of song being performed. Aside from his great work with Cream, one only needs to hear 'Bird Alone', 'One', 'Victoria Sage' or just about any other song from his vast repertoire of post-Cream material -solo and with other bands, to experience Bruce's stunning vocal prowess. I wonder if the reviewer has ever heard any of Mr. Bruce's solo work, if he had I doubt he would have made the statement regarding Winwood's singing.
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