Take A Chance On Apollo (Slunky 27A/B)
Apollo, Manchester, England – January 3rd, 1987
Disc 1 (71:29): Crossroads, White Room, I Shot The Sheriff, Wanna Make Love To You, Take A Chance, Hung Up On Your Love, Miss You, Same Old Blues, Tearing Us Apart
Disc 2 (47:37): Holy Mother, Badge, Let it Rain, Cocaine, Layla, Money For Nothing, Sunshine Of Your Love
Eric Clapton spent the first half of the eighties recording many albums and touring constantly, both as a solo artist and with others such as Roger Waters. He slowed down slightly in 1986 to record August, the follow up to Behind The Sun, and limited himself to a few lives shows and guest appearances.
August was released in November 1986 and produced several hit singles like “Tearing Us Apart,” “Run,” “Miss You” and “It’s In The Way That You Use It” (hitting number one on the charts). Live performance began right after the new year with two warm up shows at the Apollo in Manchester followed by an extended run at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He was also joined by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits as second guitarist and brother-in-arm.
Take A Chance On Apollo presents the very first show of the new year, the first of two in Manchester. Slunky utilize a very good but slightly distant and distorted audience tape of the entire concert. There are some cuts between numbers such as one after “Hung Up On Your Love” and one before “Holy Mother,” but none are destructive. Most of the unofficial releases from this era focus upon the London shows, so this is a great opportunity to hear a rare show.
The show opens with three oldies. Two, “Crossroads” and “White Room,” date from Cream and “I Shot The Sheriff” from the early seventies. This is the first night they were played in a row and would open every show until the 1990 Journeyman tour. “White Room” benefits from Nathan East’s shared vocals. “I Shot The Sheriff” is played in a more pop oriented arrangement.
The middle portion of the set is devoted to newer songs. “We’ll do songs from our new record. In fact this one didn’t even make the record, so it’s like a private preview” before “Wanna Make Love To You.” It was recorded during the sessions for August but wouldn’t actually be released until the Crossroads boxset in 1988. The song was played in the two Manchester shows and first Royal Albert Hall and then dropped and reinstated for a few dates in Germany.
Like “Wanna Make Love To You,” many of songs of the new album had already been played live before its release. Since the album was recorded in April and released in November, there was a long seven month period between completion and release. “Tearing Us Apart,” “Miss You” and “Holy Mother” all were played during the summer dates and “It’s In The Way That You Use It” would be played in the autumn only.
Only two songs receive its live public performance tonight. “Hung Up On Your Love” is the first. And it would be included in almost every performance of the year. But the true rarity, “Take A Chance,” follows. This is the only known time it was played live. Clapton would drop it from the set afterwards and replace it with “Run.”
There is no indication exactly why this change was made. “Take A Chance” is a good mid-eighties style mid-tempo pop song that fits in with the other material from the new album. Perhaps he wanted a more energetic song in its place prompting the inclusion of “Run.” Whatever the case may be, thank goodness someone was there with a recorder to capture the rare event.
“Same Old Blues” includes solos by Nathan East and Greg Phillinganes in addition to Clapton’s several solos. Compared to other versions, they want to change this from a long blues jam into a progressive rock piece with very strange sounding and inventive melodies. East in particular brings a new dimension to an Eric Clapton concert with a depressing, unsettling bass part.
“Holy Mother” is gorgeous as usual, one of his best compositions. In the encores Mark Knopfler sings “Money For Nothing,” and the show closes with the long “Sunshine Of Your Love.”
Take A Chance On Apollo is a very good release on Slunky. It was released when the mainstream silver labels in Japan were focusing upon releasing good versions of unique concerts essential for the collection. The graphics utilize period photos and the design is overall very clean.