Isle Of Calf Festival 1986
Kalvøyafesivalen, Kalvøya, Sandvika, Bærum Kommune – July 3rd 1986
Disc 1 (57:40): Opening, Crossroads, White Room, I Shot The Sheriff, Wanna Make Love To You, Run, Forever Man, Same Old Blues, Miss You, Tearing Us Apart
Disc 2 (55:53): Holy Mother, Behind The Mask, Badge, Let It Rain, In The Air Tonight, Cocaine, Layla, Sunshine Of Your Love, Band Introduction, Further On Up The Road
After assembling a new band with Nathan East, Greg Phillinganes and Phil Collins and recording August and appearing at The Prince’s Trust in London on June 20th, Eric went for a festival tour of Scandinavia and Europe. The first of these festival date was the Kalvøya-Festivalen (Isle of Calf Festival) in Norway on July 3rd.
Isle Of Calf Festival 1986 has very good to excellent sound quality. Like many outdoor recordings it sounds a bit thin, but the almost silent audience make sure that the music is always prominent in the mix. There are a few small cuts between some songs and a small crinkle in the tape 3:18 in “Behind The Mask.” Otherwise all the music and the stage announcements are present.
They start off with “Crossroads” played in a slower, more bluesy arrangement compared to the more familiar Cream version. Clapton tells the audience “we’re gonna do a selection of songs from the past and present … and the future too. We’ll start off with some old ones first” before “White Room,” another Cream-era song.
“I Shot The Sheriff” is a song with “a hint of reggae.” Up to this point the audience have been extremely quiet. After this song Clapton mentions he sees “a mass exodus here” and asks “is it raining??” There are faint replies of “no” which further puzzle the band.
Clapton introduces the new song “Wanna Make Love To You.” Recorded for August but dropped, it’s played live for the first time and would be included in most of the shows. It would eventually be released in the Crossroads box set in 1988. They follow with another new song “Run.” Another tune making its live debut, it’s faithful to the studio recording except a short a capella interlude in the chorus by the end.
“This is a song from the Behind The Sun album called ‘Forever Man'” is Clapton’s introduction for the next song. His big number one hit the previous summer, Norway would be the only performance of the hit in 1986 and wouldn’t be played again for another three years. The band themselves seem a bit surprised when he announces the song and was probably a spur of the moment addition to liven up the moribund crowd.
After a great fourteen minute jam in “Same Old Blues” they play more songs from August. “Miss You” is played for the first time and sounds a bit clunky and tentative. “Tearing Us Apart” was one of the highlights of the Prince’s Trust the previous week with Tina Turner. Nathan East tries to keep up in this performance. Afterwards Nathan East says, “Oslo!! Let’s hope it doesn’t rain out there!”
“Holy Mother” is the last new song of the set. They play a gorgeous version, but the audience start to talk among themselves and sound slightly restless. At the end, Clapton says “thank you” with a slight sarcastic tone in his voice. He then introduces the inimitable Greg Phillinganes from Los Angeles who sings his cover of “Behind The Mask.” It segues into “Badge” which in turn segues into “Let It Rain.” It is a tremendously exciting part of the show and seems to wake up the audience.
The audience cheer even more when Clapton introduces “the star attraction … my dear buddy, Mr. Phil Collins.” They play “In The Air Tonight.” Instead of the beautiful piano arrangement from the Prince’s Trust show, they play it in the same minimalist arrangement from Face Value.
The show ends with “Layla.” The first half of the song sounds a bit weak, but the piano coda is very beautiful. As Clapton says “goodnight” he receives a rapturous applause. They return for the first encore, the Cream song “Sunshine Of My Love” and, after the band introductions, his favorite encore number “Further On Up The Road.”
Isle Of Calf Festival 1986 is an interesting Beano release. It is the silver pressed debut of this show and is one of the few from this important period of transition for Clapton. It’s a good reminder of the time when Clapton made a full transition into the eighties sound and found a fair degree of success.