16 Tons Tour

last updated 10 Feb 2006
last updated 7 March 2007


The Clash - Palais De Sports 27 February 1980
©1981 Laurens van Houten - http://www.starfileonline.com

cdr - unknown gen/from video – sound 4 –
41mins – 13 tracks

video - rebroadcast French Satalite TV 2006 –
Quality /sound 5 – 41mins – 13 tracks - excellent


The Clash - Palais De Sports 27 February 1980
©1981 Laurens van Houten - http://www.starfileonline.com

Topper had recovered sufficiently from the injury which cut short the 16 Tons UK tour to play this one off gig in front of French TV cameras. Baker and Johnny Green were honoured guests at the Rude Boy premiere at the Berlin Film Festival the night before. The rest of the band boycotting the event.

Although they would be on French television The Clash made no concessions to the cameras. Johnny Green’s book details how the TV crews wired off an artificial orchestra pit at the front of Le Palace. They built a big rig that was to glide across the floor, raising or lowering the cameraman.

Clash ticket courtesy Dave Ridley

But the TV broadcasters obviously were not aware of the nature of Clash gigs and as the band hit the stage, the crowd surged forward, trampling the wire and knocking the cameraman off his seat! The rest of the crew struggled to dismantle the equipment at speed passing it over the heads of the crowd much to the amusement of the band (especially Paul) who kept on playing regardless

Photographer Laurens Van Houten was at the gig and one of his shots captures the mayhem at the start of the gig
From the French TV programme ‘Chorus’

We can be grateful though now that the cameras were there as The Clash were in top form, rested and fired-up. This is the soundtrack from a 40-minute video that circulates from the French TV programme ‘Chorus’, an Antoine De Caunes production broadcast on French TV channel Antennae 2.

The venue

Le Palace was an old music hall, a famous parisian venue near the Grands Boulevards, opened in 1923 but closed finally in 1996. Between 1978 and 1983 it was a popular nightclub.


enjoyable and more 'in your face'

A recent upgrade directly from the video has gone into circulation and is superior to older copies. The sound is very enjoyable and more 'in your face' than the old recording. It has more detail but the sound has moved toward the bottom end more.

The source being a professional board recording means the vocals and instrumentation are very good indeed. Guitar sound is excellent and undistorted. Mickey’s organ is low in the mix.

As far as is known it has never since been re-broadcasted and so the sound limitations stem from the mono non nicam-type quality VCR used.

The video itself is hugely enjoyable too with some great close ups and camera angles. It is usually available to download on If Music Could Talk (with a lesser sound). Other generations of the video also circulate some in black and white.

A rarer version of the rebroadcast begins with Antoine de Caunes presentation and the beginning of Jimmy Jazz.

The TV programme begins at Jimmy Jazz presumably because it took 3 songs to recover from the initial surge of the audience. The Clash appear to have played a normal set, the TV Director deciding which songs to edit out of the 40 minute programme. The Paris audience are very lively and enthusiastic and The Clash, now rejuvenated respond with a terrific performance.


The Clash - Palais De Sports 27 February 1980
©1981 Laurens van Houten - http://www.starfileonline.com

Jimmy Jazz kicks off the programme in superb style with Joe prowling the stage, dropping to his knees and then singing on his back lying on the stage at one point. Mick chokes back the guitar, only coming in a jamming funky way giving it a real laid back feel. You can hear Mickey Gallagher's keyboards carry the tune along. Joe’s pigeon French intros and ad-libs are a delight here and throughout often switching back amusingly into English when it gets too hard.

London Calling next followed by the usually lightweight Protex Blue but which here really rocks. An edit into another Mick vocal on Train In Vain featuring some great lead guitar. It cuts off immediately after the last chord with Koka Kola edited in with the opening chords. Joe puts in another energetic vocal and then the song segues into I Fought the Law.

Joe gets carried away with his linguistics and starts talking in French introducing Spanish Bombs. Its quite funny when he continues his pigeon French at the next break, but in a linguistic rut, he pauses, and in rough cockney bleats out, "“Very good, tres bien mes amis, fuckin’ tres bien! Maintenant, it’s the wrong ‘em boyo mate!”


The Clash - Palais De Sports 27 February 1980
©1981 Laurens van Houten - http://www.starfileonline.com

The sound fluctuates near the end of an excellent Wrong ‘Em Boyo and the band are obviously enjoying themselves. Joe clearly is knackered at this stage. Mick comes in on the vocals to rescue Joe and carry the song forward. Mick performs a strong Stay Free explaining mid song “its Brixton, a penal colony”

There is little or no chatter here on as the gig really cranks up into Janie Jones, Paul and Mick joining Joe on the vocals. Then Topper’s bass drum and drum rolls sound out before Mick’s guitar crashes into a superb Complete Control. Mick was getting lots of stick in the press at the time for being a detached guitar hero but his playing here is terrific building the tension to the song as Joe rants his adlibs over an extended ending.

There is a probable edit next before Joe calls for Tommy Gun but Topper proceeds into a passionate Garageland and then the band finish with a rousing finale of Tommy Gun with Joe really fired up “Don’t wanna go to war”.


The Clash - Palais De Sports 27 February 1980
©1981 Laurens van Houten - http://www.starfileonline.com

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Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Protex Blue
Train In Vain
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Spanish Bombs
Wrong `Em Boyo
StayFree
Jane Jones
Complete Control
Garageland
Tommy Gun

Rock & Folk 04.80
Gig review

Best Magazine 141 (Avr 80- Mick Jones)
...pg1-2 ...pg3-4 ...pg4-5

Any further info / reviews appreciated

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... Los Angeles Feb79, Boston Radio 19Sept79, Acklam Hall 28Dec79, Tiswas80, Cuba Tour

BEST n141, April 80
HEAVYWEIGHT - An interview with Mick Jones.
Birmingham Top Rank, Coventry Tiffanys & the Electric Ballroom.
So it was just fabulous. More than the Clash we had some crusty bonuses that justify my job 'cause I'm telling you. [rough french to english text version]

Best Magazine [French] n141, April 80
HEAVYWEIGHT - An interview with Mick Jones.
Birmingham Top Rank, Coventry Tiffanys & the Electric Ballroom.
scans ...page1 ...page2 ...page3 ...page4 ...page5 ...page6

Best Magazine n.143
French Advert for French dates May

NME
Clash dates

Clash dates announced

Toots Quits the Tour

Melody Maker
review 26 Jan

Strummer Busted Feb 10

Clash Tour Hit Again -
dates resheduled

The Observer - 27 April 1980
Joe Interv on 16 Tons Tour

The Sun 11 February 1980
Drug bust, Joe reading the Bible

Whats On Guide - London
22 February - Tour overview
cover - page 1 - page 2

...16 Tons and what do I get / Another day older and deeper in debt... (Tennessee Ernie Ford)
Jan 5 Friars, Aylesbury
Jan 6 Odeon, Canterbury
Supported by ? and Tradition.

Canterbury Odeon Jan 6th was suported by the purple hipsters and a local band that included a chap from camel ..or caravan ...cant quite remember. Is there a recording of this night ?? i went home deaf - sadman1[a]tiscali.co.uk

Jan 8 Top Rank, Brighton
Supported by Gillinski Bros and Prince Hammer and the Creation Rebels.
Jan 9 Top Rank, Brighton
Supported by Gillinski Bros and Prince Hammer and the Creation Rebels.
Jan 11 Leisure Centre, Crawley
Supported by the Escalators and Prince Hammer.
Jan 12 Pavilion, Hastings
Jan 13 Locarno, Bristol

was this gig may have been postponed to the 10th June. 2nd punter says it definatley went ahead on this date. Anon1

theBristol Locarno gig on 13thJan 1980. If my memory serves correctly I'm fairly sure that this gig was cancelled. My recollection is that I wanted to go but didn't get a ticket because I feared not gaining entry as the venue wasover 18's only and I was a very young looking 16 @ the time and had previously experienced difficulty gaining entry at the same venue. Ican recall being delighted when the gig was re shedulded for the Colston Hall as there wereno age restrictions there.

Tony Griffiths <tony_griffiths(at]btinternet.com>

Bristol Fanzine Story So Far (printed summer 1980)
Page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4

Jan 14 Gaumont, Ipswich
now The Regent
Jan 16 De Montford, Leicester
Jan 18 Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
Jan 19 Odeon, Edinburgh, Scotland
Jan 20 Odeon, Edinburgh, Scotland
Jan 21 Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland
support Jan 21 & 22nd were Glasgow band "First  Priority". One of thier members is a scottish journalist.
Jan 22 Apollo, Glasgow, Scotland
A Riot of Our Own p227.
support Jan 21 & 22nd were Glasgow band "First  Priority". One of thier members is a scottish journalist.
Jan 23 University, Lancaster
A Riot of Our Own p227 - See Blackpool Gazette
Jan 24

Tiffany’s, Blackpool cancelled

A Riot of Our Own p227 - See Blackpool Gazette
Jan 25 King Georges, Blackburn
supported by The Not Sensibles
Jan 26 Deeside Leisure Centre, Queensferry, Nr Chester
Jan 27 Top Rank, Sheffield
A Riot of Our Own p222
Jan 29 St. Georges, Bradford
Jan 30 Royal Spa, Bridlington
Support The Akrylics and the Gang of Four

Support for this gig was (The) Akrylykz, Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals first band

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akrylykz

I don't know if Gang of Four were supposed to play (no support acts were listed on the ticket), but they didn't as far as I recall - Mikey Dread did a set after Akrylykz and got a lot of racist abuse from some local idiots stage left. The abuse died down when Strummer, Simenon and Mickey Gallagher came out and skanked along with Mikey Dread. mark west

Jan 31 University, Leeds
Feb 1 Victoria Hall, Hanley - cancelled
Poster advertising Clash concerts at the Victoria hall in Hanley near Stoke- on- trent. The concerts stated are for 1/2, 20/2, 12/6, & 18/6.

Hanley Victoria Hall, Feb 1 was postponed at least twice, maybe three times. I think the final date was either mid-May or early June (the May date may have been cancelled because Topper broke his finger)

Feb 3 Apollo, Manchester
Feb 4 Apollo, Manchester
Feb 5 Top Rank, Birmingham
Feb 6 Top Rank, Birmingham
Feb 7 Tiffany’s, Coventry
On the Road with the Clash
Traxmarx - includes this gig
Feb 9 Guild Hall, Portsmouth
Feb 10 Wessex Hall, Poole
Feb 11 Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, Wales
The venue is no longer there as the roof collapsed under the weight of snow in the big snowfall of winter 80/81. I seem to remember that the support act, Mikey Dread had a rough time and performed under a hail of pint glasses. However towards the end of his set The Clash came out on stage to join him and skanked around with bandanas covering their faces (a la Bankrobber) and, of course, the mood changed instantly! The gig was stopped on at least one occasion as Mick & Joe pleaded with the crowd to stop fighting. Also there was a big gap at the end of the gig before they came back for their (2nd?) encore, and in fact part of the crowd had already left before they played ?White Riot? and there was a massive surge as people tried to get back into the venue.
Feb 12 Stateside, Bournemouth
Feb 13 Top Rank, Southampton
Feb 15 Electric Ballroom, London
The 1979 shows at the Electric Ballroom were supported by Joe Ely and a group called the Vincent Units - the Lyceum gig (on the Sunday was Mikey Dread and the Nips)...Supported by someone called ANgel?
Feb 16 Electric Ballroom, London
The 1979 shows at the Electric Ballroom were supported by Joe Ely and a group called the Vincent Units - the Lyceum gig (on the Sunday was Mikey Dread and the Nips)...Supported by someone called ANgel?
Feb 17 Lyceum, London

The 1979 shows at the Electric Ballroom were supported by Joe Ely and a group called the Vincent Units - the Lyceum gig (on the Sunday was Mikey Dread and the Nips)

Feb 18 Odeon, Lewisham
Feb 20 Victoria Hall, Hanley
Poster advertising Clash concerts at the Victoria hall in Hanley near Stoke- on- trent. The concerts stated are for 1/2, 20/2, 12/6, & 18/6.

Hanley Victoria Hall, Feb 1 was postponed at least twice, maybe three times. I think the final date was either mid-May or early June (the May date may have been cancelled because Topper broke his finger)

Feb 22 Liberty Theatre, Balham, London cancelled
...Ticket ...Poster
Feb 23 Mile End Liberty Theatre, London cancelled
...Poster
Feb 25 Bristol Colston Hall
Cancelled Toppers injury to his hand. Ticket
Feb 27 Le Palace, Paris, France
Filmed for the French TV Chorus with Antoine Decaunes.