The Clash Take the Fifth Tour
Supported by The Undertones

Picture from 19 Feb 79 gig courtesy of Malcolm Riviera


cdr 1 - from 4th gen tape - sound 3.5 - 77min - 23 tracks

cdr 2 - upgrade on 4th gen - sound 4.0 - 77min - 23 tracks

cdr 3 - master - alt source - sound 4.0 - 77min - 23 tracks


The tour swings down south into Georgia and Texas but without the Undertones who left after the Toronto gig. The band and particularly Joe were excited and inspired by playing in the southern states for the first time. Money problems continued; with Epic not coming through, the road crew were particularly difficult with drastic measures needed by Johnny Green and Baker [A Riot of Our Own].

Pennie Smith was at the gig taking photos; one at least is credited to Atlanta on the back cover of London Calling. A colour shot from the gig is shown below.

London Calling Album Cover

"My brother was in a punk band in Atlanta when he was in high school called the Stainz.   They did about 15 Clash covers.  The guys in the band went to the Clash show at the Agora Ballroom on Tue 2 Oct 1979, camping out and securing a place in the front row.  You can see them in the photo on the back of London Calling.  Stainz guitarist Chris Fox has his hand on the stage, facing the camera, with my brother John behind him." 


The best recording in circulation is from a 4th generation audience source and is complete. Another source was edited down to 60 minutes with lesser sound. Both have some stereo separation, which makes for a more enjoyable listen.

The sound is much like one or two of the others on the tour; a good mix and range and reasonable clarity. Guitar’s come through well with drums, organ and bass good too but vocals suffer some distance problems. During high decibels there is a very slight distortion and there’s plenty of atmosphere from the audience, neither of which detract from the enjoyment of the performance, which maybe not the best or most charged of this tour, is nevertheless tight and powerful particularly in the encores.


The recording starts abruptly into Safe European Home, with volume levels all over the place before settling down mid song. Performances are strong though Joe sounds a bit hoarse and maybe tired as he sounds engaged with energy at most points of the set but not all. The sound improves a notch on London Calling and thereafter. “Howdy, anyone got any complaints?” is Joe’s greeting to the audience before an inspired London Calling with Mick’s guitar to the fore.

On Jail Guitar Doors Joe sings a completely different verse about being down south in Georgia. It’s another example of how The Clash unlike many of their contemporaries like The Jam would vary live performances with improvised lyrics, etc., and a reason why Clash bootlegs are so interesting to collect even if the sound quality is poor. Joe for example on Capital Radio always changes the intro and the mid song DJ lines in each performance where other performers would come out with the same patter every night. Police & Thieves, Clampdown (in later shows), Safe European Home, are a few of the many examples of Joe’s improvs.

Picture from 19 Feb 79 gig courtesy of Malcolm Riviera

After a fine performance of White Man with Joe’s guitar clear in the mix, Mickey Gallagher is introduced. “A couple of new songs if you can stand it, the men’s room is over there!” Spanish Bombs gets its live debut (in bootleg form at least) and it’s already the finished article with Mick opening out the song with excellent lead work.

Guns of Brixton gets a new intro with Topper beating out a drum pattern presumably to allow time for Paul and Joe to swop guitars. Next it’s the shortest fastest song of the set; “I’d like to bring you a message from the Coca Cola Company entitled…” As the song segues brilliantly into I Fought The Law you can hear the Atlanta audience go wild and Joe even manages to improvise lines over this song.

“So seeing as we’re a so called political band, this is a so called new political number, I’m not working for the Clampdown..” Joe changes the “men in the factory” lines to include somewhat ambiguously “the names Joe Strummer, I don’t need to bust a gut, I don’t wanna stick of rock, and I don’t wanna play the drums”, Joe signals himself the need to develop a fitting climax to this song (which they develop for 16 Tons tour) over the final drum, bass, organ jam with “Ok boys, they’ve all gone home now, Mickey they’ve all gone home!”

Its straight into an excellent Wrong Em Boyo before Joe introduces English Civil War while Mick’s swops over to the acoustic. “ If you don’t know what’s going on, we’ve just played some stuff we’ve just recorded. Alright then, like to get a little twisted now, gonna lay this one between your eyes, this is an American folk number”

The taper or someone close had been shouting for Guns On The Roof throughout and on hearing the opening chords thinks its Gun’s shouting enthusiastically.

Intriguingly, Joe introduces Stay Free with what certainly sounds like quite a nasty put down of Mick’ and his true ‘outlaw’ credentials; “This song is a real cruel tale written from the flesh, and the newspaper” There is then an edit which loses the start of the song and then some tape problems continue for half a minute.

Next it’s improvisation time, “Going to turn on the radio here a minute, just to see what we got to hear today in the in the here and now, OK here we are in Atlanta, Georgia, turn on the radio, give me the AM band, that sounds like the Eagles, no it sounds like Electric Light Orchestra, no maybe it’s the new one from Barry Manilow, maybe its Billy Joel,…Oh No! It’s the new one by Abba! In the mid song improv Joe says he’s the Hoochie Coochie Man acknowledging he’s in the south and Muddy Waters country.

Joe gets the audience participation going before Police & Thieves “I wanna hear you say woah, woah, I need some help” The audience respond as the screams rise in volume before Topper’s drums kick in. Joe’s improvises again over the ending with an unusual reference for The Clash to anal sex. “5 am on a cold, cold morning, Police, Police, he comes in, he goes you look like some dumb black ass brother, getting fucked up the arse, gee officer Cronkie..!” Joe works up a great head of steam before Topper’s drum figure brings the song to an end.

Now it’s the faster older songs, building the energy further to end the main set; Complete Control (powerful guitar work from Mick who also trades lines with Joe) straight into a charged Janie Jones and Garageland.

A fine Armagideon Time starts the encore, tight and inventive with Joe stretching out the vocals. Career Opportunities blasts in with Joe and Mick really fired up and spitting out the lyrics. But as What’s My Name ends the band leave the stage without playing White Riot.

White Riot would no longer be a guaranteed final song, as tensions over this song would build over the remaining years of The Clash, resulting on at least one occasion in Joe punching Mick. Mick felt that the band had moved on and progressed and that the song no longer represented where they were now at. Joe on the other hand strongly disagreed not least because he felt that the audience wanted it and he was still proud of the song. It would be still played on most of the remaining gigs of the tour, but be increasingly rare on later tours. The criteria for playing it was whether the audience in their reaction ‘deserved it’.

But on this occasion the crowd roared for more so The Clash came back on for a fairly unusual on this tour, second encore. As Topper beat out a repeated drum pattern Joe counts down “ 10-8-8-7-6-5 –6 [wait for it!] 5-4-3-2-1 before The Clash smash into an exhilarating White Riot. A most fitting song to end the exhilaration of a Clash gig.

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Safe European Home
I'm So Bored with the USA
London Calling
Jail Guitar Doors
White Man In Ham Palais
Spanish Bombs
Guns of Brixton
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Clampdown
Wrong Em Boyo
English Civil War
Clash City Rockers
Stay Free
Capital Radio
Police and Thieves
Complete Control
Janie Jones
Garageland
Armagideon Time
Career Opportunities
Whats My Name
White Riot

Gig Reviews

Pennie Smith Before & After

A Riot of Our Own ch12 p204

The Clash Turn Pro (Sort of )
Sounds Tour Report
(St Paul & Chicago mainly)
Peter Silverton, Sounds,
29 September 1979
TUESDAY LUNCHTIME: Cleveland Airport. With a couple of hours to kill before my one-stop-only flight to Minneapolis and the first date on the Clash’s second American Tour...

The Last Gang in The West Leaves Town
NME 13 & 20 Oct Paul Morley
Paul Morley of the NME travels on the tour bus from Detroit on the 17th through to New York on the 21st interviewing and following the band.
DETAILS: The Scene. The Clash on tour of America. There's a glamorous image, with a confident, crusading edge to it. The Clash: a lot of hope and responsibility there. America: it still means a lot. Clash's current six week coast to coast tip to toe tour of the United States Of America is their first major assault

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
The shape I'm In
NME - 6 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt1

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
Brother Creepers Over America or Suedes over the States
NME - 13 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt2

Clash USA 79 - Ray Lowry
Have you heard the news, theres good rocking ronight
NME - 20 Oct 1979
Ray Lowry Clash Take the 5th Tour Notes Pt3

Clash Extension
Unknown / Tour News
15 August 79
The Clash who started a lengthy American Tour last week are due to tour Britain in November to tie in with the release of their new album. Tha band's American Tour, which included the Monterey Festival last week

Jenny Lens
Clash Photographer 1979-1981
I shot the Clash from February 1979 to June 1980. I didn’t bring my camera to the Sausalito Swap Meet, February 3, and ran into them and Johnny Green. I said hello, but too shy to tell them who I was or inquire about photo passes. Their debut California gigs were discussed in San Francisco at the Ramada Inn press conference

The Clash Play Revolution Rock
Chris Salewicz, Trouser Press, March 1980
IT'S FOUR days before Christmas. A dark, early evening damp with snow and rain. Immediately south of the Thames, in the inappropriately genteel Victorians... end of Tour chaos in LA.

Melody Maker front cover only
29 December 1979
Strummer on the Rebound


Sep 8 Monterey CA, USA...Tribal Stomp festival
Sep 12 Civic Centre, Saint Paul MN, USA
Sep 14 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago IL, USA
Sep 17 Masonic Temple, Detroit MI, USA
Sep 18 Cleveland, USA
A Riot of Our Own dates this gig pg194. However local fans believe Cleveland show never happened, the book reference notwithstanding.  "I was 18 at the time and very tuned in to the music scene in the area.  I missed the Agora show because I wasn't 18 at the time.  In September I was and there is no way I would have missed that.  I lived in Akron, OH, a one hour drive.  I have checked all local newspapers and muic papers and there is no announcement of that show nor any review. Ray Sferra"
Sep 19 Orpheum Theater, Boston MA, USA
FYI, Clash played the Orpheum Boston twice during the Take the 5th tour.I believe it was Sept. 19 & 20, and the NY shows were later. I was at all four but I can't remember the date breakdown Good site. Paul Sherman??
Sep 20 Palladium, New York NY, USA
Sep 21 Palladium, New York NY, USA
...famous photo of Paul from the London Calling sleeve taken on this night
Sep 22 Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia PA, USA
Sep 25 St Denis Theatre, Montreal, Canada
Sep 26 O’Keefe Centre, Toronto, Canada
Sep 28 Clark University, Worcester MA, USA
I missed them for both the 1st two Boston shows (Harvard Sq. Theatre and the Orpheum) but then I heard thru the grapevine that they were playing at Clark University on 9/28/79.  So we drove down and got in line.  Original scheduled to be in the field house, the promoters (I think it was a student organization) sold almost no advance tickets, and moved it to a smaller auditorium the day of the show.  Then 100s of punks from Boston showed up and bought tickets, and they kept selling tickets.  Terribly overcrowded, fire department came and made a few hundred leave the hall, but as soon as they left, Strummer says "There's a buncha fans out there that paid to see us, and they're stuck outside, but if everybody stays cool, and don't push, we can let them inside."  The Heart breakers opened. That show changed my life.  Cliche but true.  Anyway, I still have the ticket stub.  Rick
Sep 29 Ritchie Colisseum, College Park MD, USA
Oct 2 The Agora, Atlanta GA, USA
Oct 4 Armadillo Club, Austin TX, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p206 and also by Ray Lowry on page 73 of Mojo (UK Music Mag) No.9 Aug 94 where he says the heat was scorching... see also www.Pontbone.com/journal.htm [Joe Elys acordian player]

Joe Ely.com; Back to London in 1979 for another tour. The Clash come to the show (Ely's) at the Venue Theater and invited the (Ely's) band to come to studio where they are recording London Calling. Became friends and (the Clash) showed the Lubbock boys around the London scene. The Clash come to America later in 1979. The two bands play several shows together including Houston, Dallas, Laredo, LA and the Monterey Pop Festival. Joe invites them to come to Lubbock to do a show together. They stay for several days mesmerized by the dusty home of Buddy Holly and the strange cowboy culture. In return the Clash invite Joe the following year to come to London for their London Calling Tour.

Oct 5 Cullen Auditorium, Houston TX, USA
dates from www.Pontbone.com/journal.htm [Joe Elys acordian player]. also referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p206
Oct 6 Palladium, Dallas, USA
this is often dated as the 6th and it may have been, but in order to fit the sequence of events in Greens book, A Riot of Our Own it would have to be before that, maybe the 4th.
Oct 7
Rocks Club [The Rox], Lubbock TX, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own, p207, where the band went to play a unofficial gig for Joe Ely (support) in his own town of Lubbock. Green says the band took a couple of days off after flying to LA. dates from www.Pontbone.com/journal.htm [Joe Elys acordian player].
Oct 8? Laredo Texas
Oct 10 San Diego, California, USA
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p 208
Oct 11 Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles CA, USA
Oct 13 Kezar Pavilion, San Francisco CA, USA
Oct 15 Seattle
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p211
... ticket ... photo from gig

"I just stumbled on this site while doing a google ‘egoist’ search. Great site. I wish I could find my taped interview with Joe. That was a story in itself. I must’ve woke up Cosmo at every stop from Cleveland to Denver where he finally put me through to Joe to do a pre-concert interview. You should try and get that from the Oregon Daily Emerald…or I could look in my files. If I recall Joe was getting ready for the Denver show…he was testy and abrupt…and loosened up later. My interview style was not to go by set questions…but to have question points and just talk. I remember asking about recording at Olympic Studios, which was being talked about…and joked that this was supposed to be The Rolling Stones favorite room. No laughter from Joe on that. And it was pouring down rain, with thunder in Denver and it made Joe in bad mood. I casually told him to put that mood into the show. But this was cool. Wish I was a better writer back then.
The photos are by Mark Pynes, now the photo editor of the Harrisburg, Pa. newspaper. Wish I could find the interview tape…I think my ex-wife stole it. Cheers, Cort Fernald"

Oct 16 Pacific National Exhibition Vancover, Canada
referenced in Johnny Greens Book, A Riot of Our Own p213 as the last night of the tour.