In 1968, when Western youth revolted against the establishment, Jimi Hendrix played a sold-out gig in Zurich to an ecstatic audience that was to go down in people’s memories as a “monster concert”.
The line-up was huge and included Anselmo Trend, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, the Koobas, Eric Burdon & The New Animals, Traffic and the Move.
But the evening’s undisputed highlight was Jimi Hendrix himself, performing with his newly formed band The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The band played at the packed-out Hallenstadion for two nights in a row, on the 30 and 31 May 1968. Both events were organised by Hans-Ruedi Jaggi who had already brought the Rolling Stones to Zurich the previous year.
After Jimi Hendrix’s second performance on a Friday evening, a few wooden chairs were broken. Because the audience threw their folding chairs into a heap to dance, the television images of the concert aired later wrongly suggested mountains of smashed furniture.
After the concert finished, some people warmed themselves around a campfire outside the building. The fans then peacefully marched towards the Zurich main station. The police took this as an opportunity to take drastic measures against the young people, firing water cannons and rubber bullets into the crowd. Riots erupted, some of which moved towards the city centre and lasted until the early hours of the morning.
Young people’s simmering discontent with an establishment seen as bourgeois suddenly erupted. The so-called Globus riots which went down in Swiss history took place only four weeks after Hendrix’s “monster concert”. The revolution had arrived in Switzerland, as Stefan Strittmatter recently wrote in the German-speaking newspaper Aargauer Zeitung.
Postscript: After the concert, Jimi Hendrix went to a Zurich Restaurant to eat dinner, where staff refused to serve him. The reason? His skin colour. (swissinfo.ch)
Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker (19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019) was an English drummer. His work in the 1960s and 1970s earned him the reputation of “rock’s first superstar drummer”, for a style that melded jazz and African rhythms and pioneered both jazz fusion and world music.
Baker gained early fame as a member of Blues Incorporated and the Graham Bond Organisation, both times alongside bassist Jack Bruce, with whom Baker would often clash. In 1966, Baker and Bruce joined guitarist Eric Clapton to form Cream, which achieved worldwide success but lasted only until 1968, in part due to Baker’s and Bruce’s volatile relationship. After working with Clapton in the short-lived band Blind Faith and leading Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Baker spent several years in the 1970s living and recording in Africa, often with Fela Kuti, in pursuit of his long-time interest in African music. Among Baker’s other collaborations are his work with Gary Moore, Masters of Reality, Public Image Ltd, Hawkwind, Atomic Rooster, Bill Laswell, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and Ginger Baker’s Energy.
Baker’s drumming is regarded for its style, showmanship, and use of two bass drums instead of the conventional single one, after the manner of the jazz drummer Louie Bellson. In his early days, he performed lengthy drum solos, most notably in the Cream song “Toad”, one of the earliest recorded examples in rock music. Baker was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream in 1993, of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2008, and of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2016. Baker was noted for his eccentric, often self-destructive lifestyle, and he struggled with heroin addiction for many decades. He was married four times and fathered three children. (wikipedia)
Eric Clapton has announced a one-off show on 17 February 2020 at London’s Eventim Apollo Hammersmith to honour his late friend and former Cream and Blind Faith colleague Ginger Baker. Eric Clapton & Friends: A Tribute To Ginger Baker will feature other specially-chosen guests to be announced in due course.
The concert will be in aid of Leonard Cheshire, a charity close to the Baker family that “supports individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability, at the heart of local life — opening doors to opportunity, choice and support in communities around the globe.”
The music chosen for the evening will honour Baker’s lifetime in music and naturally, reflect the trailblazing drummer’s time with Clapton in both Cream and Blind Faith. Baker’s social media accounts, which are overseen by his daughter Nettie, announced the event with the message “Very pleased to share this news. Big thank you to @EricClapton.” (udiscovermusic.com)
After the introduction, the concert erupted very recognisably with Sunshine of Your Love, the well-known Cream song featuring Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) in the role of bassist Jack Bruce.
Paul Carrack then surprised in Strange Brew with a delicious organ solo. Big applause from the audience came at the first notes of the over-familiar White Room, in which Kenny Jones (Faces) also took his place behind the drums and Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones) sang alongside Clapton on guitar.
Paul Carrack took lead vocals in I Feel Free, while guitarist Nile Rodgers also joined in. Rodgers then fought guitar duels with Clapton in Tales of Brave Ulysses.
Sweet Wine featured a guitarist guest role for Will Johns, son of renowned producer Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones). In the slow blues Blue Condition, Clapton showed his great class with very fine guitar work. In Badge, Ronnie Wood was allowed to reappear and the widely respected session drummer Henry Spinetti took his place behind the drums. Superb version!
Ginger Baker wrote the rather obscure song Pressed Rat and Warthog for Cream’s 1968 album ‘Wheels of Fire’. Son Kofi Baker was now allowed to take over his father’s role on drums and vocals.
Then it was the turn of the Blind Faith chapter and Steve Winwood reported in. With Carrack behind the keys, Winwood alongside Clapton and Rodgers on guitar, they kicked off with Had To Cry Today. Winwood then took his place behind the organ and sang successively the beautiful ballad Presence of the Lord and Well Alright.
Winwood then swapped the organ for the guitar in the beautiful Can’t Find My Way Home and then performed a lovely organ solo in Do What You Like, alongside the guitars of Clapton and Rodgers. Halfway through, the song transitioned into Toad, the Ginger Baker song with the familiar drum solo. Son Kofi again took the role of his father with a solo perfectly.
In the closing Cross Road, everyone trotted out again. Clapton, Wood, Rodgers and Johns were soloing on guitar, Winwood showed a dazzling organ solo and Roger Waters came back with a cowbell. A dazzling final chord.
Eric Clapton and friends paid a brilliant musical tribute to a fantastic drummer. (Gerrit Schinkel)
Recorded live at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, London on February 17, 2020
Paul Carrack (keyboards, vocals)
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)
Sonny Emory (drums)
Steve Gadd (drums)
Katie Kissoon (vocals)
Chris Stainton (keyboards)
Willie Weeks (bass)
Sharon White (vocals)
Kofi Baker (drums on 11., 12. – 15)
Paul Carrack (vocals on 06. + 08.)
Will Johns (guitar on 08.)
Kenney Jones (drums on 04.
Nile Rodgers (guitar on 06., 07., 12. + 15.)
Henry Spinetti (drums on 10.)
Roger Waters (basson 01. – 04.)
Steve Winwood (keyboards, vocals, guitar on 12. – 15.)
Ronnie Wood (guitar on 04., 10.
CD 1: 01. Film of Ginger Baker 3.13
02. Intro by Eric Clapton 1.33
03. Sunshine Of Your Love (Bruce/Brown/Clapton) 6.28
04. Strange Brew (Clapton/Pappalardi/Collins) 5.16
05. White Room (Bruce/Brown) 6.43
06. I Feel Free (Bruce/Brown) 3.38
07. Tales Of Brave Ulysses (Clapton/Sharp) 4.56
08. Sweet Wine (Baker/Godfrey) 4.38
09. Blue Condition (Baker) 6.42
10. Badge (Clapton/Harrison) 6.53
11. Pressed Rat And Warthog (Baker/Taylor) 4.43
12. Had To Cry Today (Winwood) 8.07
13. Presence Of The Lord (Clapton) 5.47
14. Well Alright (Allison/Holly/Mauldin/Petty) 5.28
15. Can’t Find My Way Home (Winwood) 5.40
16. Do What You Like / Toad (Baker) 12.49
15. Crossroads (Johnson) 8.55