One of the Region's most respected rockers, Kofi Baker, a Hobart resident in recent years and son of British rock drumming legend Ginger Baker, will spend fall of this year traveling across North America to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1968 "Farewell Tour" by his father's iconic group, Cream.
Following their critically-acclaimed and hugely successful inaugural tour across Australia and New Zealand in 2017, the pedigree of hallowed '60s trio Cream -- Kofi Baker (drums), Jack Bruce's son Malcolm Bruce (bass, vocals) and Eric Clapton's nephew by marriage Will Johns (guitar, vocals)-- come together in September for the first time in North America for an 8-week/34-city tour that pays homage to the band's extraordinary legacy with "The Music Of Cream: 50th Anniversary World Tour."
Baker first came to the attention of Cream fans when he performed with his father on live TV at the age of 6, later playing behind the likes of Steve Marriott, Uli Jon Roth and other famous rockers. Bruce began his professional career at 16 and shared studios with everyone from Little Richard and Elton John to Eric Clapton and Dr. John. Aside from the Clapton connections, Johns is also the son of celebrated studio engineer Andy Johns. So suffice to say, the guys have the chops along with the pedigree to do a tour of this kind.
Cream had a very brief two-year career (1966-1968) but had a tremendous impact on the music that would one day be called "classic rock," helping to pioneer the power trio format that later inspired such acts like the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Rush, Robin Trower, Triumph and others. Apart from a brief reunion in 2005 featuring seven shows at London's Royal Albert Hall and New York's Madison Square Garden, Cream retained an almost mythological status in the music world, right up until the passing of Jack Bruce in 2014.
The new fall tour begins in Canada as the lads celebrate the music and legacy their family members created. Fans can expect to hear personal stories and faithful renditions of songs such as "Crossroads," "Spoonful," "Sunshine Of Your Love," and "White Room," along with segments where Baker, Bruce, and Johns play live along with video footage of their fathers and mentors on the big screen. Also included on screen are never-before-seen footage and photos.
"We had such an amazing response to our first tour in Australia and New Zealand that we've spent some considerable time adding to the show," shared Bruce. "Now, we not only have this amazing legacy of music to play, but an opportunity to share some wonderful insights and stories with our audience...a backstage pass like no other, if you will."
"We also have a few surprises in store that we know people are going to really respond to, so we can't wait to be on the road again playing these shows across North America this fall," added Baker. View the highlight reel for the tour at: https://vimeo.com/269354585. Find the full North American tour routing at: musicofcream.com.
• NWI singer/songwriter/recording artist Jef Sarver will give a free performance from 5 to 6:30 p.m. tonight at The Record Bin (218 Main St.) in Hobart as part of the Hobart Chamber of Commerce's annual Downtown Progressive Dinner Walk. More: 219- 945-9511 or facebook.com/jef.sarver.
• Catch Funky MoJo Daddy on Friday at Duffy's Place (1154 Axe Ave.) in Valparaiso for a 9 p.m. show. More: 219-462-1057 or duffysplace.com.
• M&R Rush has gotten the first date of its 2018 Midwest summer tour under its belt and next perform a 9 p.m. show this Saturday at The Hollywood Casino (777 Hollywood Blvd.) in Joliet. "Between The Lines" is the title of the new album by this veteran group who have rocked since the late '70s with the original line-up intact. It's due out in July and features among its dozen songs, a tune written for them by Chicago's Grammy Award-winning writer/performer Jim Peterik. More: mandrrush.com.
• A new album is also forthcoming this summer from transplanted Regionite Michael Lubecke, formerly of the NWI groups Eat A Peach and Bonfire. He relocated three years ago to Florida. Lubecke's old EAP band mate Greg "Wolfman" Schlietwiler adds some of his piano "dazzle" on the tune "Show Me The Way." This columnist was forwarded that track and a few others to preview. It sounds like the sunshine and surf in their new digs has served to inspire some of their best work yet. More: facebook.com/1st.lubeck.
• "Plain Spoken: From The Chicago Theatre" – a narrative film experience by John Mellencamp – is now available on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, and Digital Formats. It's a unique voyage into the mind and music of Indiana's own John Mellencamp. "Plain Spoken" is a live concert filmed at the historic Chicago Theatre, overlaid with personal commentary from the man himself reflecting on his career and life. This DVD set not only includes the original version of the film that debuted on Netflix, but a “non-commentary” version of the concert, as well as a live CD. The set list traverses a broad swath of material from across Mellencamp’s career, from classics like “Small Town” and “Pop Singer” to songs from his most recent release "Sad Clowns and Hillbillies."
• This Friday afternoon Rock And Roll Hall of Famer Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals will be interviewed at noon on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio's weekly program "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges," which streams live at: lakeshorepublicmedia.org. Also on Friday's program will be Billy Shelton of The Spaniels Forever and Damian Rico of Hospice of the Calumet Region. The discussion will include information about the June 9 Memorial Opera House concert Cavaliere and Shelton's group are doing to benefit the hospice. More: mohlive.com
• Then at 7pm on Tuesday, "Midwest BEAT" will feature members of the "Forever Plaid" cast now running through June 3 at Theatre At The Center in Munster. More: theatreatthecenter.com.