Sort it Out Tour

updated 18 May 2010 - added punters comments

Middlesbrough Town Hall 1978

cdr - from master - sound 3.5 – 20 tracks - stereo?
updated 8 Aug 03

First Sort it Out recording

The first recording in circulation of the UK leg of the Sort It Out Tour which began on November 9th. Give ‘Em Enough Rope was released on November 10th and the set list contains all the album’s songs except Last Gang In Town and All The Young Punks. Safe European Home is now the explosive set opener with the first album songs saved for the sets’ conclusion and encore.

This gig includes a rare outing for 1-2 Crush On You, complete now with Joe singing the harder ending added to the recorded version of the song, released as the B-Side of Tommy Gun on November 24th.

Sounds review

The gig was reviewed by Phil Sutcliffe who was one of the older guard of music journalists, not a fan of The Clash but his review is good stating accurately that things really picked up from English Civil War onwards, with Police & Thieves and Capital Radio the highlights. He made the accurate point that the band’s electrifying presence in its first year could not be sustained but now the intention was “More Content. More Music. A communication less wild but hopefully deeper”.

Pro-photographer Rik Walton was there to document the event

The venue

Middlesbrough Town Hall (below) is still a popular venue for gigs in the North East and there were unlikely to have been problems with security in such a municipally owned venue. A well organised professional gig in keeping with much of this tour.


Previous recording

Until recently the best recording in circulation was a slightly distant but quite good audience tape for its time. With little or no distortion and quite a reasonable range of sound, It’s enjoyable listen but fairly flat and dull. The set is complete with no song edits.

New master

However, the master recording recently received is a major upgrade, with greater clarity, range and detail as would be expected from the master source. It does still suffer though from distance from the stage and a buried ill defined bass. However what was certainly unexpected is that from Guns On The Roof onwards the sound is in ‘stereo’.

The reason for this ‘stereo’ second half is unclear. It certainly does not appear to be from the soundboard as the vocals do not have the “in your face” quality as would be expected, and the problems of distance and poor bass definition remain from the mono first half. The sound generally though is a notch higher, the guitar sound particularly good.

The ‘stereo’ separation is on the guitars but most noticeably on drums. The latter giving it a very unusual sound indeed! Whether from an actual source or it has been ‘doctored’ from the mono source is unclear but the ‘stereo’ sound does certainly add to the enjoyment of what is now a very enjoyable bootleg and one of the best recordings from the Sort It Out Tour.

It’s a very fine performance throughout with a number of highlights. City of the Dead is back in the set, “you’re the saxophones” is Joe’s intro and the song gets a different mid section and extended ending from its Out of Control Tour treatment. Julie’s Working for the Drug Squad makes its first recorded live appearance (“I think they call this R’n’B”) and Cheapskates makes a welcome reappearance.

White Man “in Middlesbrough Town Hall” is excellent . Police and Thieves is now without the Blitzkrieg Bop ending but it’s power and drama is increased by Joe calling for loud whistling from the audience before the start (later to be replaced by calls of ooh! ooh! and cutting the stage lighting) and Joe extends the song with ad-libbed lyrics at its conclusion. Tommy Gun (“Our next miss!”) is also very strong.

Capital Radio is as almost always, brilliant; Mick plays the gentle intro, then hangs feedback in the air before the aural explosion of the song itself shreds the Middlesbrough cognoscenti. Joe ad-libbs over the drum roll ending including “Ain’t gonna write no letters to you, ain’t gonna do what I’m supposed to do”.

The most notable rarity is the rare outing for 1-2 Crush On You as the first song of the encore. The lively and noisy audience shout for White Riot with Joe responding, “Before we do that, this is one of the first songs we wrote”.

It gets a heavy rock treatment with Mick’s solo veering close to HM, as it would do at times on this tour. Next Topper’s bass drum beats out and Complete Control crashes in.

It’s now played again as the recorded version without the drama-building intro played on the Out on Parole Tour (which would be returned to in 1981, hear the FHTE Bonds version). Then the high energy levels peak as White Riot brings a very enjoyable gig to an end.

Images from pro rock photography Rik Walton. Hi Res photos for sale at http://rikwalton.com/music/index.html

"Middlesbrough Town Hall (below) is still a popular venue for gigs in the North East and there were unlikely to have been problems with security in such a municipally owned venue. A well organised professional gig in keeping with much of this tour."

On the night in question a load of skinheads turned up to pick a fight with punks leaving the gig. The security staff tried to keep everyone in at the end, but there was a crush with us inside not knowing what was going on and people started to push. The result was that one of the huge doors had its hinges damaged and we spilled out into the street, with running battles along a couple of the main roads around the town hall. A well known local hamburger seller had his stand pushed over and I got a black eye and needed four stiches in a lip after being cornered (running home) by a big group of skinheads (it might have been only one and his mum, but I've told the story so many times now).

Despite all the hassle afterwards, still counts as the best gig I ever went to.

Cheers Paul

neil wheatley <n1wheatley[at]hotmail.com>

Hello, I nine months ago I was reunited with a girlfriend after 25 years. As we went over old tales of past glory, I showed here all my ticket stubs from the concerts we went to and she showed me a diary she kept at the time.

One of our greatest nights out was the Clash at Middlesbrough Town Hall Nov 78 of which I still had the ticket stub. I recently did a search for the gig and your website came up, which led me to a photographer who took pictures at the gig and I have contacted him to get copies.

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Safe European Home
I Fought the Law
Jail Guitar Doors
Drug Stabbing Time
City of the Dead
Clash City Rockers
Julies in Drug Squad
Cheapskates
English Civil War
White Man
Stay Free
Guns on the Roof
Police and Thieves
Tommy Gun
Capital Radio
Janie Jones
Garageland
1-2 Got a Crush on You
Complete Control
White Riot

Sounds Review Phil Sutcliffe

Any further info / reviews appreciated

NME front page only
C-L-A-S-H
2 December 1978

NME? The Clash sack Rhodes
Page 1 ... page 2
New dates and reasons behind sacking

A Clash Of Interests
Miles, Time Out,
15 December 1978Will success spoil Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon and Joe Strummer? Miles chronicles the decline of a movement and the rise of a rock band. IT'S BEEN a long time since anybody regarded The Who as a mod band, the Beatles as exponents of Merseybeat, or Bob Dylan as a folk-rocker...

The Face 1980 -
Sort it Out Tour Perspective
Vaughan Toulouse quit the dole in PLymouth to follow the 1978 Clash Sort it Out Tour. "For a while back there in the summer of 76 I was fast lsoing hope in the future of rock n roll."

Clash Tour Dates
NME 7 October 1978 -
UNDER THE banner of “The Clash Sort It out”, the band next month begin their longest-ever British tour. It will include several Loildon dates in early December, details to be announced shortly. Meanwhile, confirmed gigs are:

Extra dates added
Melody Maker?
The Clash have extended their British Tour up to Christmas and have finalised...

Tour poster

December 15th 1978 Time Out cover story + cover image about The Clash (actually a very condensed version of a book written by Miles that was around at the time) page 1 ... page 2 ... page 3

Advert from the same Time Out for Purley & Lyceums concerts on 18/28/29 December 1978

The Inncoents
from Marguerite, lead singer

The fist date of the sort it out tour was the scottish gig. Edinburgh, i thought they played Glasgow right before that?

We missed the first gig. There was a snow storm and we drove up, we walked in just as theClash went on, but after that we did ALL the gigs. Two with out the slits, just us and the Clash, but mostly us, then the slits and then the Clash.

The tour officially started in mid Nov on a tuesday, I seem to recall that we were trying for that. So we played thirty gigs, came back played with Suzie and the Banshees at the music Machine and then did the Sid Vicious Benefit.

I don't know why you seem to be the only people who noticed us in the years since...but thanks for it.

Just to add. I didn't count all the cancelled dates, but we were often on the road waiting to hear if we would play or not...Newcastle was a mob scene...

I hope this helps, write back if you have any questions.

Best Marguerite, <clarity32[a]gmail.com>

Meloday Maker front cover only


These dates have changed and reflect A Riot of Our Own, the NME and tape details.

Belfast was the first night, Dublin the day after, a day off in London before Paris. The remaining dates fit around the Belgium tape and A Riot of Our Own. Several French dates are missing after Paris

Oct 13 Belfast, University SU, Queens Hall
Johnny Green (A Riot of Our Own p106) states this was the opening of the tour. Date from NME gig review.
Oct 14 Top Hat, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin
with Berlin .. ticket ... poster
Oct 16 Le Stadium, Paris
Johnny Greens book states this was Le Palace (Le Palace is the promotion company for many French gigs). As the poster says, its the 16th October at Le Stadium.
Oct 19

Leuven (in the town parc during a beer festival)

There is a reference in Discogs of a bootleg of the concert in Leuven. I doubt it is genuine:

Oct 20 The Stokvishal, Arnhem, Holland
I went a concert of The Clash at the Stokvishal in Arnhem (Holland) on friday, October 20 1978. I don't know for sure if my agenda is completely right, but it seems right. The Stokvishal was a great place at this time, it was an old factory hall based on the, during the Arnhem battle of 1945, completely distroyed  area close to the Arhem bridge.
Other concerts I visited at that time at the Stokvishal: Iggy Pop, Cure, Only Ones, Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Specials, Madness, Theatre of Hate...
Oct 21 The Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland.
We believe this may have been the 24th (see above). The 21st. Both these last two gig are noted on p110 of A Riot of Our Own.
Oct 22 Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
some tapes have this labeled the 30th. The recording (Joe) I.D.'s the venue as Brussels but Johnny Greens book A Riot of Our Own (p109) suggests the Begium date of the 22nd was Leuven just outside Brussels. Around 1500 people at the gig. Great photos here from Philippe Carly
Oct 23

Cinema Home, Fieron (suburb of Liege)

It is said that it was the backroom of a pub in a industrial suburbs. It must have been surrealistic like Belgium.
The book said the Clash trashed and destroyed the walls between the bacsktages. About the date, the book said the band played a monday, so it must have been the 23rd. Photo below from gig. There's a book with a pic on page 88 link here

One member of the dutch punkband The Filth confirmed that they played as support act from The Clash on the 21th of october 1978 in Paradiso in Amsterdam. We thought this gig may have been the 21st. I can see at the description of the gigs at the end of october 1978 that you are not sure of the dates you mentioned are correct. The day before they played at the Stokvishal in Arnhem. The date you gave: 24th of october 1978 Paradiso is wrong! Yours Sincerly, Peter Clash fan from Holland

Johnny Greens book A Riot of Our Own (p109) suggests a Belgium gig at Leuven just outside Brussels, following a drive up from Paris. Some suggestion that this gig followed the Brussels gig. 400 people there.

Oct 25 Roxy Theatre, Harlesden, London
Postponed on the 9th September, resheduled date of September 25th postponed and also further resheduled date of 14th October postponed. New GLC restrictions limited tickets to 900, so a second night scheduled for the other 700.

Whirlwind supported. I do not know about the 26.10.78. Free t-shirts (Tommy Gun) given to audience for being messed around previously. I have two. Colin

Oct 26 Roxy Theatre, Harlesden, London
Nov 3 Bath Pavillion
see ticket
Nov 9 Village Bowl, Bournemouth cancelled? (NME 7 Oct 78)
Nov 10 Winter Gardens, Malvern cancelled?
Nov 12? Canterbury Odeon
A Riot of Our Own pg124
Nov 14 Locarno, Coventry cancelled?
Nov 15 Belle Vue, Manchester
Nov 16 Odeon, Edinburgh, Scotland
Nov 17 Town Hall, Middlesborough
Nov 18 Leeds University
supported by the Innocents as well as by the Slits.
Nov 19 Top Rank, Sheffield
supported by the Innocents as well as by the Slits.
Nov 20 De Montfort, Leicester
supported by the Innocents as well as by the Slits.
Nov 21 Locarno, Bristol
supported by the Innocents as well as by the Slits.
Nov 22 Birmingham Odeon cancelled
Nov 22 Village Bowl, Bournemouth
Nov 23 Ipswich Gaumont cancelled
Nov 23 Apollo, Manchester
Nov 24

Kings Hall, Derby

supported by the Innocents as well as by the Slits. ... ticket ... ticket ... poster
Nov 26 Top Rank, Cardiff, Wales
Nov 27 University, Exeter
Nov 28 Tiffany’s, Coventry
Melody Maker lists this as the Locarno at Coventry?
On the Road with the Clash
Traxmarx - includes Tiffany's Gig
Nov 29 Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke

Subject: Re:Stoke 78-
...the guy (mark) who runs the punk vinyl stall on Leek (saturday) & Newcastle under lyme markets, is attempting to retrive his tape of stoke 78 from a mate in essex. PS don't confuse mark with the white haired prog seller also on leek market


The 29th November '78 wasn't the Stoke Mandeville concert. '78 was with the Slits, was more rock, less anarchic, better musically, but I was a bit disappointed all the same (that isn't to say it was a bad concert, but compared to the first..). We weren't allowed backstage after the concert. Joe insisted that everyone got in for £2,25 whether they were advance sales or not, threatening not to play otherwise. (1)

the gig line up was the clash slits and the innocents, viv and the rest of the slits came into the crowd to watch the clash autographs were given, when the clash arrived for the sound check, they also signed loads of stuff for the group of fans at the back door, which included me 14 years old and a clash fan then (2 nacro_killer)

"During the drum intro for Tommy Gun, Topper hit himself in the eye with a drumstick, so joe shouted "tommy gun!, with one eye!" (Tim)

I was at the same gig, had an amazing night, fist of all Topper was playing so maically his drum stick snapped in half and I managed to get the top half that flew off...and then after the gig me and my mates managed to get in the dressing room, sitting on the floor with the band talking, they all signed my Sort It Out Tour poster, unbelievable! (Shaun)Howdy


Excellent site - been checking you out for a few years now. Couple of bits of trivia regarding punter comments on 29/11/78 Hanley Victoria Hall.

Fans were allowed backstage at this gig - eventually. The reason for the delay was a scene being filmed for Rude Boy. The bit near the end where Mick lambasts Ray for is Racist quips. Clearly seen behind Mick is some graffiti stating "Stoke Punks rule" or similar. Caroline Coon was floating about looking impossibly glamourous to a very impressionable 14 year old. Another very brief scene was shot and appears in rude Boy - the trashed dressing room (done previously by the Jam) where Joe is tuning his Tele. Bruno Brooks later interviewed Topper and Paul which was broadcast on the Sunday following the gig and later issued unedited as a pic disc (featuring a later pic of Joe with mohican!!!)

I'd love to get in touch with the previous commenter 'nacro-killer' as I used to work for NACRO in the eighties and possibly know the individual. Do you have a forum? Rob Wild <rob.wild1[a]virgin.net>

Nov 30 Wirrina Stadium, Peterborough
Dec 2 Polytechnic, Newcastle
last night of the tour according to A Riot of Our Own pg 125 and it definately took place. It is listed on adverts in the music press as a late date for the Tour.
Dec 4 University Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
cancelled due to student only policy which Joe found out about and objected too. A Riot of Our Own pg123
Dec 5 University Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
cancelled due to student only policy which Joe found out about and objected too
Dec 6

Liverpool University Guild of Students (Mountford Hall & Stanley Theatre), Liverpool,

You've a gig listed on the Sort It Out Tour at Liverpool University on 6/12/78 which Iím not sure ever took place.

?????? Brighton Top Rank
I saw the Clash at the Brighton top Rank in '78 or possibly the first half of '79, can't see it listed anywhere, anyone else remember it? It was well before London Calling, they opened with English Civil War, I remember it cos Topper let me and some other kids in the side door as you were sposed to be 21 to get in and the bouncers weren't having any of it! I was 16 at the time I'm pretty sure, still at school anyway and i left in '79. I'd love to know the date of the gig.
Dec 10 Liverpool Erics

Erics published a book with a flyer advertising the Clash on 10 December.

As the Clash had cancelled a gig at Glasgow Uni on 5/12/78 due to the student only door policy , perhaps they also binned the Liverpool Uni gig and switched it to Ericís on the 10/12/78 ?

Dec 12 Pavillion Bath
This gig definately took place. Thx for info. Poster
Dec 17 Portsmouth Locarno
Dec 18 Tiffany’s, Purley
[originally anounced as Purley Locarno] supported by the Slits - snowed heavily. A large cheesy nightclub in South London. Supported by the Innocents as well as by the Slits.
Dec 19 Music Machine, London
...Sid Vicious Defence Fund benefit. Also supported by Phil Rambow and Friends.
Dec 20 Civic Hall Wolverhampton?
Dec 21 Hastings Pier Pavillion
Dec 22 Friars, Aylesbury
On the Road with the Clash
Traxmarx - includes Friars Xmas Party featuring The Clash
Dec 28 Lyceum, London
Dec 29 Lyceum, London
Jan 3 Lyceum, London
This gig may have been the 31 December?
On the Road with the Clash
Traxmarx - includes this Lyceum gig