Release date: 25th October 2019
Label: Mig Music
Format: 2CD/DVD, box set
Some tribute concerts can be rather difficult on the ear with artists and the artist’s friends and family often performing watered-down versions of the original and are not sometimes up to playing justice to the lost one. The love might be there yet not the expertise but not so this one.
The performances by a huge on-stage line up, which in total reached 35 in number including established and well known artists like Tull’s Ian Anderson, Level 42’s Mark King, Hugh Cornwell, Joss Stone , Phil Manzanera and not so well known singers like Liam Bailey and also son and daughter Corin Bruce and Aruba Red, gave the audience a night to remember.
A third of the setlist given appropriately to Cream numbers is enough to give those who might have lost their way with Jack Bruce post- Cream or only dipped into his solo career some satisfaction. Even if you looked upon his solo career with some indifference you ought to throw away your bag of doubt for there are great performances aplenty, significantly from daughter Aruba in We’re Going Wrong who delivers her soulful rendition with a passion her father would be proud of.
The musicianship and vocals during the concert are stirring and sensational. The jam session during the Sunshine Of Your Love, fortunately, did not descend into a disorganised cacophony it could have but expertly controlled by Ian Anderson brought the concert to a close before a final musical tribute specially produced for his funeral with Eric Clapton.
The opening line of Hit And Run, which opens the concert, announces how everyone still feels about hearing his music “I’m still feeling the ecstasy” and it was a deservedly ecstatic response given to each of the songs performed on the night. None more so when Ginger Baker was brought on to play on We’re Going Wrong. The performances throughout sensitively portray all of his musical moods, his desperation at failing love, his joy of finding love and occasionally the bizarre ( I’m still bamboozled by the veiled lyrics of White Room) as well as his broad musical canvas of blues, rock, jazz, funk and wonderful melodies.
It would be unfair to give individual accolades to individual artists , no matter how deserving they are, because all of them respect that the evening was not about them but Jack Bruce’s amazing legacy, which will live on through his children, Corin and Aruba performing on stage and Kyla, who directed the filming of the concert.
The DVD of the concert has a couple of bonus excerpts in which a spectacular blues harmonica solo by Jack Bruce acknowledges his blues roots and when accompanying himself on piano honours his friendship with bassist Felix Papparladi, A major feature of the setlist but not on stage is the predominance of songs written in collaboration with poet Pete Brown, who Jack Bruce once said shortly before he died, “I think he just understands my kind of Scottish suicidal music..” There’s nothing to be gloomy about in this concert but exactly what his wife Magrit and his family wanted, a celebration of Jack Bruce’s music.
Watch a clip from the show here: