The 50th Birthday Concerts (2 DVD Set)
MVD Entertainment 2014
Review by David Bowling
There probably would have never been another Cream reunion but that fact became definite last year when Jack Bruce passed away at the age of 71. The release of The 50th Anniversary Concerts is a fitting eulogy for his life and career.
Before the age of 30, Bruce had been a part of such bands as Blues Incorporated with Alexis Korner, The Graham Bond Quartet, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Manfred Mann, the short lived Powerhouse, West, Bruce, & Laing, and the iconic Cream. His solo career would extend for the next four decades. In celebration of his career, he threw himself a 50th birthday bash with a live concert. He took the stage at the E-Werk in Cologne the evenings of November 2 and 3, 1973, with such luminaries as Ginger Baker, Gary Moore, Dick Heckstall-Smith, and others in tow.
The 34 tracks are from both nights and spread out over two DVD’s and there are no repeats. The songs come from all phases of his career. Gary Moore was only present one night but he is part of a six song highlight as he provides the guitar work for such Cream songs as “White Room,” “Spoonful,” “Politician,” “Sitting On Top Of The World,” and “Sunshine Of Your Love.”
His solo career material may not be as well-known as that of his work with Cream but his 1970’s albums Songs From A Tailor, Harmony Row, and Out Of The Storm all provide material that revolves around his voice and bass.
Bruce is both a well-known bassist and an exceptional one. This is very apparent on his solo work and on stage when he is the center of attention. The live tracks with just saxophonist Heckstall-Smith and drummer Baker have a jazz element and are excellent examples of his creativity and expertise.
This visual document of Jack Bruce in concert is a nice retrospective of his career and a fitting farewell.