‘Worth whatever grief and stress we may have experienced’: Eric Clapton on Cream’s unlikely 2005 reunion

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Cream’s unlikely 2005 reunion followed just one such similar appearance going back to their 1968 breakup. Eric Clapton remembers the days leading up to that out-of-nowhere musical event with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.

“I missed them, and I had missed them for a long time,” Clapton says, in this newly posted video. “And I kind of realized, deep down, that as much as they might want to get together again that it was really my call — because I had walked from it.”

Cream, having last played together for their 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, declined to give interviews perior to an initial quartet of May shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

It was widely speculated, at the time, that Clapton had relented in the face of the health problems for his former band mates. Bruce had been battling liver cancer, and Baker suffers from severe arthritis.

The London shows sold out in a matter of moments, prompting another trio of concerts at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in October 2005. Though there have been no other such reunions in the interim, Clapton says he wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

“At some point, it really just came into my mind more and more and more,” Clapton tells Southbank. “I would get up, and I would think about it. I thought: ‘You may not need to do it, for whatever reason, but maybe they’d benefit.’ Not only that, we can. We actually can, because we’re all still alive. I thought this, this is worth it. This is worth whatever grief and stress we may have experienced in the past, to come back to this.”

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