When Blind Faith Made Their Live Debut For 100,000 People

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blind-faith-albumWe’ll admit it right off the bat. We have a soft spot for Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home.” In fact, a live performance of the song has previously been the subject of Best Classic Bands‘ Classic Video. That was when Steve Winwood joined Eric Clapton at Slowhand’s 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Illinois. You can view it here.

The classic rock icons originally recorded the Winwood-penned song in 1969 as bandmates in the supergroup Blind Faith, which rose out of their previous bands, Traffic and Cream, respectively. (They were joined by former Cream drummer Ginger Baker as well as bass player Ric Grech.)

Atlantic Records introduced the group to the press in early May 1969 at what was described as a “swanky cocktail party” on the 37th floor of the Waldorf Towers. The label’s founder, Ahmet Ertegun, told the attendees: “I’ve heard the first product and it’s great!”

This performance was from the band’s live debut on June 7, 1969. Rather than choosing a safe, controlled environment at a mid-sized venue – hey, this was 1969… who played it safe? – the band opted for a free, “intimate” gathering estimated at 100,000 in London’s Hyde Park. Clapton is said to have been disappointed with the band’s performance, feeling they hadn’t rehearsed enough.

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Here’s something to ponder in amazement: Winwood is just 21 years-old, Clapton is 24, Grech is 22 and Baker, the old man at 29.

This ad for the album appeared in the July 26, 1969 issue of Record World

The concert sure whetted fans’ appetites and Blind Faith followed it with an eight-week U.S. tour in July and August. The band’s self-titled debut was released that summer and would hit #1 in the U.K., United States and other markets. (Blind Faith even reached #40 on the U.S. Soul Albums chart.)

Blind Faith disbanded after just the one album. In its aftermath, Clapton toured with Delaney and Bonnie, and John Lennon, among others. Baker formed another supergroup, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, with Grech, Winwood, Denny Laine, Chris Wood and Alan White, among others. Shortly thereafter, Grech and Wood joined Winwood in the re-formed Traffic. Got it?

Related: Our feature on Blind Faith’s only album

Watch Blind Faith perform “Presence of the Lord” at that same concert

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7 Comments so far

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  1. Mike L
    #1 Mike L 2 November, 2017, 01:50

    It does sound a bit disjointed but still very cool to see. That one Blind Faith album is such a classic. Really wish they would have stayed together and recorded a few more cause it likely would have only gotten better. This reminds me of the 2nd gig CS and N did…in front of a half a million or thereabouts. Only that might have been more rehearsed.

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  2. Zeyda
    #2 Zeyda 9 June, 2018, 23:23

    By a complete fluke, I got to see that show. I had been visiting family in Ireland, and we spent a few days in London witth the family there and stumbled upon this. A nice omen-three weeks later I was in the army.

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  3. Chanselor
    #3 Chanselor 2 November, 2018, 00:30

    Saw them in Philadelphia at the Spectrum on a revolving stage in 1970 I believe. My first concert at a large venue. Winwood is one of my favorite artists. Clapton wasn’t sure this collaboration was really what he wanted. Too bad. Great band!

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    • Alecko
      Alecko 8 June, 2019, 13:06

      Was lucky enough to be in the audience. It was a special feeling being there that summer’s day.Immediately after I went to the south of France. 18 then 68 now.

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  4. Matthew
    #4 Matthew 4 January, 2019, 12:42

    I was at that concert, which also featured performances by Donovan and Richie Havens, who performed “Freedom” and was the high point of the event.

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  5. David
    #5 David 8 June, 2019, 00:46

    It was such a disappointment that Cream disbanded in Nov 68 and at the time I know there was a lot of anticipation about what would follow in their wake. Jack Bruce’s 1st solo album was very good and so was Blind Faith. I also thought Derek and the Domino’s was a great line up after Blind Faith. It was all a long time ago!

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  6. Da Mick
    #6 Da Mick 8 June, 2022, 18:59

    Chanselor, i dont believe Clapton was ever sure about any collaboration he was ever involved with.

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