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Cream Reunion 2005: On Stage Gear for Clapton, Baker and Bruce

For the 2005 Cream Reunion Shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the following gear was used by the band:

Ginger Baker: A DW (Drum Workshop) Kit

Jack Bruce: Gibson and Warwick bass guitars, Hartke Amp, Samson wireless pack

Eric Clapton: Fender Stratocasters (4 black stratocasters were available, 2 were set up for slide), Fender Custom Shop Tweed Twin Amp, Leslie Speaker, Samson wireless pack, Jimi Hendrix Wah Wah Pedal, and a box to switch from the amp to the Leslie or to select both.

As a nod to Cream’s use of Marshall stacks for amplification in the 1960s, miniature models of Marshalls were placed on top of Eric and Jack’s amps at the Madison Square Garden concerts.

In an interview with the online edition of Bass Player, Jack Bruce had the following to say about the selection of his gear for the reunion:

How did you choose your basses for the shows? Did you consider using your Gibson EB-3?
I had tried the EB-3 some years ago, and I found the short scale length to be like playing a toy. I literally couldn’t do it anymore—I was hitting wrong notes because it was just too small. I’ve been using my fretless Warwick forever; it’s my favorite bass, and I’ve been playing Cream songs on it with my own band, so I knew I would stick with it in some capacity. As for the Gibson EB-O, I’ve just fallen in love with it over the years. It’s got a real deep, woofy sound. I think I got it from [luthier] Dan Armstrong, and I had some work done on it to keep it in shape. Then when I was playing with Ringo Starr [in the late ’90s], I discovered you just can’t play a fretless on those old Beatles songs [laughs]. On tunes like “A Little Help From My Friends,” Paul had a certain sound and feel on his Hofner, so I started playing the EB-O to recreate that. With Cream, I was going to switch between the two, tune by tune—but that seemed silly, so I looked at the set list and decided to start on the EB-O and switch to the Warwick halfway through, after “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” where I just play harmonica. Also, I had suggested to Warwick that they make a special bass—a nod toward my old EB-3—to celebrate this event. We haven’t gotten it quite right yet, but the prototype was onstage and can be seen in the DVD.

How did you select your amplification?
I hired a big rehearsal room in London and I got Beet, my bass tech, to bring in everything in existence. It was great fun; I had a wireless setup, so I could switch quickly from one amp to the other. And what I ended up liking the best was my Hartke gear. I’ve known those guys forever, and in addition to Jaco’s input, their gear was developed with me in mind. They used to do my sound quite a bit, when I was using all sorts of components and blowing speakers right and left. The main change is that I’m using their paper-cone 8x10 cabinets, along with the aluminum 1x15s and the heads. It all sounds great—like a good Marshall stack back in the ’60s. Most of the other amps I tried were very good, but they just didn’t sound like me.