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Review: Blind Faith DVD

London Hyde Park 1969

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Review: Blind Faith DVD

Courtesy Sanctuary Visual Entertainment

Grand Experiment?

From the beginning, Blind Faith – which is still considered to be rock’s first “supergroup” – was really just a tentative experiment.

It started with jam sessions by pals Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood. By mid-1968, both artists were with wildly successful bands: Winwood with Traffic, Clapton with Cream. But both were unhappy with the musical direction their respective groups were taking. The more they jammed, the more they convinced themselves to strike off and form their own band, where they could be free to try new things.

Of course, guitar and keyboards alone do not a rock band make, so additional talent was needed. When Clapton left, Cream disbanded, so drummer Ginger Baker was available. Having just left the group, Clapton was skeptical about the new band being perceived as Cream with some new members. But Winwood prevailed, convincing Clapton that Baker was the best choice artistically.
To fill the need for a bass player, Clapton and Windwood reached out to Rick Grech, then a member of the popular British progressive rock group, Family. Grech was so taken with the idea that he walked out on Family in the middle of a tour to join up.

Even with a lineup as strong as this, Clapton was uncertain about the long term future of this new group. The name, Blind Faith, reflects that uncertainty.

Thus, to London, on a warm summer day in 1969. A few weeks before the release of their first (and only) album, Blind Faith staged a free concert in Hyde Park. The performance (all 40 minutes of it) is filmed, originally with the idea of making a documentary.

By today’s music video production standards, this one is more YouTube than VH1. The 16mm film has a “spot news” feel to it. The performance itself comes off much more like a rehearsal than an actual performance. It is clear, however, that none of that matters to the crowd, who are happy to see and hear Clapton, Winwood, Baker and Grech regardless of what they’re playing, or how well. It was, after all, a free concert and that alone made it a crowd pleaser.

Who Should and Shouldn't Buy It

All of that aside, both the concert and the accompanying fill material – euphemistically called “bonus” tracks – are worth having because of how well they document the incredibly short but intense life of this group. In addition to the Hyde Park concert there is vintage video of performances from each of the band’s members in their previous bands, a photo gallery, and each band member’s pre-1969 discography.

I recommend this DVD to serious classic rock fans who are as interested in the back stories as the music. For those who have come to expect their rock ‘n’ roll to be accompanied by elaborate stage productions and slickly produced music videos, the experience ill probably be a disappointment.
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