Wanna Make Love to You (Heart Breakers – HB 817 1/2)
Juan les Pins Festival, Antibes, France – July 12th, 1986
Disc 1 (50:56): Crossroads, White Room, I Shot The Sheriff, Wanna Make Love To You, Run, Miss You, Same Old Blues
Disc 2 (56:54): Tearing Us Apart, Holy Mother, Behind The Mask, Badge, Let It Rain, In The Air Tonight, Cocaine, Layla, Sunshine Of Your Love
In 1986, after achieving more commercial success the previous year with Behind The Sun, Clapton took some time off to recorded the follow up that was originally going to be titled One More Car, One More Rider. The album would eventually be renamed August in celebration of the birth of his son Conor. The first half of the year was extremely quiet with live appearances only on February 23rd with the Rolling Stones for the Ian Stewart Memorial Jam Session at the 100 Club in London and a brief appearance at the 10th Prince’s Trust concert on June 20th at Wembley.
He formed a new band with Nathan East on bass and Greg Phillinganes on keyboards. Phil Collins, who was between commitments for Genesis and his own solo career, filled in on drums for a festival tour of Scandinavia and Europe. He performed five shows at Kalvøya-Festivalen (Isle of Calf Festival) in Norway, Roskilde Festival in Denmark, Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and Jazz à Juan in France.
Wanna Make Love To You is an excellent audience recording of the final festival appearance that summer. The oldest festival in Europe, Jazz à Juan, is an annual international jazz festival, which takes place at the Pinède Gould at Antibes Juan-les-Pins.
The tape is extremely clear and enjoyable with very little audience interference and well balanced musically. It could be confused as a soundboard it is so good. There is a small cut after “Miss You.” The set list is typical for the festival circuit with a mixture of the classics along with the new material he was working on that year with the set. The new band brings a mid-eighties sheen to the music, but with no second guitarist on stage Clapton handles all of the solos, and does so very well.
The set begins with “Crossroads.” “Good evening. Bon soir. We’re gonna play for you a selection of songs, old ones and new ones. This is an old one. A very old one” he says before “White Room.” There is a small drop out in the middle which isn’t serious but noticeable.
“I Shot The Sheriff” is introduced as something by Bob Marley. The middle section of the show is devoted to all new songs beginning with “Wanna Make Love To You.” Clapton introduces the song as “a new one that’s coming out on record soon” although it wouldn’t be released until 1988 on Crossroads.
The saccharine pop continues with “Run,” but “Miss You” is interesting for the creative fills by Collins on drums. “Same Old Blues” is stretched out to thirteen minutes with Clapton, East and Phillinganes all taking solos.
Nathan East sings the vocals on the poppy “Behind The Mask” which segues into a keyboard dominated arrangement of “Badge” which in turn is segued into “Let It Rain” with a florescent sheen.
“We’d like to feature the drummer now. The fabulous Phil Collins” is Clapton’s introduction to the great “In The Air Tonight.” It is funny that Collins, who had been unfairly derided for turning Clapton into an eighties pop direction on Behind The Sun and August, would follow the pop numbers with his early solo classic progressive rock hit. It is played as the studio version with drum machine in the first half, but Clapton augments the track with creepy squeals on the guitar.
“Layla” closes the set with Phillinganes leading the second half on electric piano.
Wanna Make Love To You is packaged in a beautiful black cardboard gatefold sleeve with several live shots from the summer shows and a notation stating this is “Pressed on silver disc. Beware of cheap imitations on cd-r” a statement which was common on releases in the late nineties. The jacket incorrectly identifies the venue as Hallenstadion in Zürich. Otherwise this is an excellent release worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)