By Anne M. Raso
We hate to sounds corny, but Jack Bruce proved that “the Cream still rises to the top” with last night’s performance at B.B. King’s in Times Square. The show was all the Cream material a fan could ever dream of, with one exception–the remarkable “Theme From An Imaginary Western,” which he opened with, accompanying himself on keyboards (and with no other instrumentation).
The generally poker-faced Bruce, in his mid-60s and looking fit and well-rested, joked about opening act Joey Molland “stealing his band” and right before the encore, when his bass seemed to have just disappeared from the stage, he joked, “They must have just sold it on EBAY.” (Speaking of Joey Molland, he did all the Badfinger hits along with a couple of B-sides along with “Can’t Live (If Living Is Without You)”–which became a hit for Harry Nilsson and others but was forgotten about when his band recorded it back in the early 70s. The earlier opening act, The Funky Knights, a “bar band” kind of group that seemed out of place in their stage costumes that looked like they stole the Commodores’ old stage separates and them mixed and matched them in a garish way!)
Bruce’s band was composed of the versatile axeman Godfrey Townsend and the bandana-headed, multitalented Bernie Worrell on keyboard. Sitting in the Ginger Baker seat was superb Steven Murphy. Murphy’s adept playing was not as crazy and “all over the place” as Ginger Baker by any stretch of the imagination but he’s definitely a contender as a saint among the skinpounders.
The list of the “cream of Cream” played by Bruce and friends last night included all the necessary hits (i.e.,”I’m Glad,” “I Feel Free,” Sunshine Of Your Love” and “White Room”) and even folks into the more progressive “album rock of the late 60s” adores from “Politician” to “Sitting On Top Of The World” to “SWLABR.” Bruce added in some bass “gymnastics’ as only he can do–including intense distortion that make you feel like you were on acid even if you never took it in your life. Jack Bruce can take bass playing into the stratosphere as every classic rock fan knows but his solos were not long enough to alienate people that were there to see what was more familiar to them.
The lone encore number was “Spoonful” which wasn’t quite enough Cream in everyone’s coffee before they left. We are sure the audience would have wanted to stay even longer if union laws would have permitted. THEMACWIRE.COM RATING: 4.5 OUT OF FIVE STARS. (Honestly folks, you can’t rock the “Boomers” any heavier than this!)