16 Tons Tour

last updated 14 July 2005

Capital Radio CD – 78min - Sound 5-
Soundboard - poorly mastered - tracks 23 – Clampdown edited

Capital Radio CD master tape - 80min - master - Sound 5 - tracks 23
as boot CD but complete and better sound, just.

For F**k’s Sake CD - 75min – Sound 4+ - tracks 23
Soundboard - not as good as Capital Radio – Clampdown edited

Capital Crisis CD - Sound 4 - 79min - tracks 23
Audience - Not as good as Fs Sake or Capital Radio source

Capital Crisis LP - Sound 4 - 83min – 1st gen - tracks 23
Audience - Not as good as Fs Sake or Capital Radio source

Video - black and white - Quality 1 – Soundboard Sound 4 - time 80 mins

Visit the Clash on Stage website for a comprehensive catalogue of unofficially released CD's and Vinyl.

Lots of sources

We can be very grateful that this very enjoyable Clash 16 Tons performance is unusually well documented by not only a good audience recording, but an excellent soundboard source too and even a black and white video recording of the whole show.

The audience recording in the form of the Capital Crisis vinyl double LP’s circulated widely from 1980’s onwards and in 1990 by a CD version. Then in the late 90’s came the soundboard source on the For F**k’s Sake CD with a better sounding version in 2000 called Capital Radio CD. A low definition video quality but decent soundboard audio, black and white video (from the in house TV monitor feed) circulates in various qualities on videotape and VCD.

credit Mike Frigerio

typically of this tour

This documentary evidence reveals a typically of this tour, super-tight and professional show. Although, inspired in places it does not really catch fire until Clampdown through to the encores. The Clash tired no doubt after their high profile Palladium show the night before (TV crews, New York press and glitterati) needed the feedback of energy from the audience, but that was not going to happen from this all seated venue. The result as can be seen from the video is that The Clash this night are largely on auto-pilot and real inspiration is only there on certain songs.

Mick and Paul are pretty static until Clampdown with only Joe’s magnetism as a front man demanding your attention. But the greatness of The Clash is such that even on a generally uninspired night they still deliver performances that are never less than hugely enjoyable.

copyright Moyssi -
for further info and purchase got to http://www.moyssi.com/

New York Rocker

Richard Grabel was at the gig and wrote in New York Rocker (July/August 80) of the changing nature of Clash audiences as their popularity in the US grew; “.. an intolerant sold-out house booed Jamaican toaster Mikey Dread off the stage. The reaction seemed indicative of the predominant mass-audience mentality; conservative, close-minded and responsive mostly to what it has been conditioned to enjoy. These are not the kids who eagerly awaited every Clash single and made their first LP one of the all-time largest selling imports, but yesterday’s Meatloaf and J. Geils fans yelling for I Fought The Law”

in the crowd

Jon Mysel has kindly provided his recollections; “I was at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. Something strange happened at this show there was a bomb-scare that resulted in a delay while police checked underneath the seats to confirm there was not a problem [Joe adlibs about the bomb scare in Police & Thieves]. The supporting acts included the B-Girls, Mikey Dread and Lee Dorsey. The B-Girls were an all girl new wave band. I think they were wearing leopard skin and looked a bit like Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson(B-52s). Mikey Dread comes out by himself, no back-up band and sings reggae to pre-recorded background music.

The crowd was not happy. Lots of shouting and booing, but this does not seem to deter him. We were wondering why Joe or Mick did not come to his aid - and lend a little credibility to the guy. Lee Dorsey was an old guy, but he could still rock.He sang, "Working in a coal mine" and got the crowd going. At some point in the evening, promoter John Scher walks out to inform the crowd of a potential bomb scare. We waited about 15 minutes while some police looked around, and then the Clash came out. The show was just amazing -- the energy was intense. I remember that they had "borrowed" the keyboard player from Ian Dury and the Blockheads but don't recall ever seeing a video feed.”

Joe did remember the video cameras when writing photo captions for Pennie Smith’s book and describes some typical ‘Bash Street Kids’ behaviour!;

“In Passaic New Jersey they had an in house video set up. Result: Paul and Topper pointed the onstage camera onto the audience who were arriving and finding their seats. Next they bought a great big bag of peanuts and pelted their chosen victims with handfuls of nuts, while zooming in with the camera, so that in the dressing room we had a perfect TV people of some people getting really pissed off. They couldn’t see the camera or where the nuts were coming from. The idea occurs to Paul during the soundcheck. Later I had to stop Topper from sending out for walnuts and golf balls!”

The venue

Jon Mysel remembers the Capitol Theater; “During the 70s and 80s, the Capital Theater was THE VENUE for us kids from Jersey who did not want to make the trek into Manhattan. It is not that NYC is very far, only 20 minutes by car or train. The problem was if you were taking the train (because you could not drive or did not have a car), the last train home leaves the city at 12:30 AM, and we would hate to have to run from a show to catch the last train home.

The Capitol Theater was all seating - 2 levels, floor and balcony. Not sure about the number of seats, but my memory has it about the same size at the Palladium in NYC -- 3,500 - 4,000 seats? I saw many great shows in the early 80s at the Capitol, including the original Pretenders line-up, Joan Jett, David Johansen, the Ramones, the Jam, Joe Jackson.”

Capital Crisis LP and CD
Capital Crises LP which circulated widely from 1980 onwards has a great full colour cover (photos from the Take The Fifth Tour) and is the only one which contains the 16 Tons opening theme. Its variant, Capital Crises CD omits this, fitting on an 80 min CD at 79mins 15. Both versions are from the same good audience recording but there are tape bleed through problems as backwards music from a previous recording can be heard in places. Capital Crises CD has better sound than the LP, just but both have limited range and with the vocals and lead OK but the bass guitar buried.

F**k’s Sake CD
The late 90’s saw the very welcome circulation of the mono soundboard source from the video feed in the form of the For F**k’s Sake CD on the Music Nation label probably from Japan. Sound here is much superior to Capital Crisis. It’s the shortest version at 75.47 losing much of an inspired Clampdown. The sound quality improves noticeably after the edit in Clampdown although there are several worn spots throughout.

Capital Radio CD and Master Recording
The 2000 Japanese released gold plated Capital Radio CD has the best sound of the commercially circulating bootlegs. It is sourced from the same mono soundboard source as F**k’s Sake but has greater clarity with vocals in particular superbly clear and ‘in your face’. It does not suffer from the ‘mastering’ apparently undertaken for the F**k’s Sake release, which improves the bass but, loses top end clarity in a smog layer of technology. It’s longer at 78.18 but still loses part of Clampdown. It does have though a very bright sound and digital clipping (particularly on the last 3rd) with bass levels low (easily rectified) which means the choice between the two is a matter of personal preference. Certainly from the edit onwards in Clampdown the sound quality on F**k’s Sake is only marginally worse than Capital Radio.

The Capital Radio CD master recording is unedited at 80.10 and has better sound than the CD, but only just. Digital clipping is less of a problem too. Clampdown is complete. Very enjoyable to listen too and the best sounding 1980 whole show bootleg.

This circulates both on video and VCD in varying qualities of both picture and sound. They are all from the same live in-house video feed and so also benefit from the soundboard audio track. The black and white picture quality is not good but there are enough camera angles and cutting between them to make it visually interesting. Sound quality is good but not up to the Capital Radio/F**k’s Sake heights.

The video is complete except for an edit on Clampdown suggesting that F**k’s Sake CD may come from the video master itself and Capital Radio from the soundboard audio master. Makes sense!

The video is an important document (as well as being very enjoyable) as it demonstrates the staging, lighting and pacing of Clash gigs at this stage of their career.

An older video started before the end of the 16 Tons intro with Joe alone coming to the front of the small stage; “I’m not sure but I think its Saturday night in New Jersey!”

A much better, closer to master video with excellent dubbed audio from CD has surfaced. It begins with John Scher announcing upcoming concerts at beginning of concert. There's a long blank intro before 16 tons starts.

The original footage is available to buy online by professionals. see above

This would be just about the only time Joe’s addresses the audience throughout the gig! The opening chords of Clash City Rockers then ring out. Joe intense; belts out the words and his Telecaster as Mick handkerchief hanging out of his shirt pocket (sartorially influenced no doubt by one Ian Dury, who gave Mick one of his trademark jackets – Ian was guest vocalist on Janie Jones the two previous nights) gives his best detached guitar hero impression. He spends a lot of time throughout with his back to audience adjusting his guitar effects, no all action performance here! He doesn’t really start moving about the stage until Clampdown and Paul too is little more active. A marked contrast from the charged live clips on Lifetimes from the Palladium the night before.

credit Mike Frigerio

The aural impact though is intense and powerful, the band’s ‘tour muscles’ fully flexed and things get even better on Brand New Cadillac, a highlight of the show. Joe’s clearly enjoying it too beaming a smile as Mick plays a great lead break ending it with a classic Strummer scream!

“Straight to Jamaica, now get your tickets”, then Joe before starting Safe European Home accidentally but painfully bangs his teeth into the microphone, and smiles back at Mick’s amused grin! It’s a strong performance with some adlibs from Joe at the end; “No one knows that side of town”

”Like you to look over this way [spotlight moves] and give a welcome to Mr Mickey Gluggo Gallagher, who’s a Blockhead, bet you (looks at Mickey) haven’t got that bird machine & who said no bird can sing!” - is always a delight on this tour and Joe comes up with new adlibs; “Police came in for Mr Jazz, say we know all the details, in fact they said we just wondered if you could spell it out one time… we’re cruising down the highway, doing 95 and hear a siren coming 2 O’clock (Mick makes siren sound) .. I said straight up pardner, (hands up in surrender) I don’t have a clue, where this guy is or what he’s done, sure, search me!”

London Calling, next up is powerful but Joe sounding a little hoarse (as he would at times throughout), the audience respond enthusiastically on the soundtrack but apart from the front row there’s little dancing. On the last tour Joe would have berated the audience for this but not tonight. Guns of Brixton is terrific on this US leg of the 16 Tons tour and this is no exception but Paul is noticeably less intense than the night before.

Guitar and bass are swopped back then Joe shouts “Soul train Platform 9” as Mick sings a strong Train In Vain. Whiteman is almost as powerful as the night before, another highlight. Joe’s singing is brilliant, heavy with echo, the pacing of the song dramatising the words and ends with some great improvised lyrics about That night he spent at the Hammersmith Palais; “Just checking the joint out, going out all night, because of all the bad nights, the poor nights, the sad nights and beside it only cost 4 pounds, all night show in the Hammersmith Palais, midnight to 6, Got to be a bully boy, six foot five cold black eyes”.

credit Mike Frigerio

“Elevator going up!” launches into a powerful Koka Kola segueing into I Fought The Law”. Joe leaps up on the drum riser but Mick remains concentrating on the effects pedal! Paul is fairly static too leaving Joe’s magnetism as a front man to capture your attention. Joe is aware that The Clash are falling below their high expectations of themselves and that whilst the performance is great rock’n’roll, it’s not burning! Joe “Lets have a general livening up session. Us too!” Mick responds playing a searing lead on Spanish Bombs, enjoying the freedom the song gives to extend himself.

The stage in darkness as Topper sets up a steady beat then the spotlights behind Topper light up as Police and Thieves intro kicks in. No Hit The Road Jack intro or similar tonight. It’s a strong performance with Joe name checking Lee Dorsey and Bo Diddley before adlibbing about the earlier bomb scare; “Look out, look out, the station is bombed, Bomb scare, where? Saturday night, so they’re in the cells, look out!” The song builds and builds with some great guitar playing from Mick.

Before Stay Free Mick goes over to stage to hear some comment but is not impressed “Smart, real smart, for the rest of you this number is called Stay Free”. He again changes the lyrics from Streatham to down a ballroom and menthols to spliffs. In trying to make it more accessible for Americans the song loses some it’s personality? Mick comes alive on the ending coda finally moving around the stage.

Julie’s Been Working.. next and Joe shouts “Topper Headon” whose drumming is terrific and Mickey’s driving piano is well to the fore. An excellent performance. There’s only been a few heads bobbing up and down at the front of the stage so far, and two of those jump onto the stage during Wrong ‘Em Boyo. The two girls are quickly taken back stage and it’s the nearest thing to a stage invasion all night!

A powerful Clampdown sees a raising of the excitement and intensity through to the encores, whether spontaneous or part of the set pacing. Joe groans out some deep “Ooohh’s” then Mick shouts out “1-2-3-4” and the stage lights flash on. A great version that builds and builds, Paul and Mick at last moving around the stage and Joe launches into a great ad-libbed rant; “Got a thousand dollar cheque account, my wife goes to Macy’s, I eat at all the best restaurants and I’ve a Lincoln Continental with a 4 way television set and fully loaded cocktail cabinet, yes because I’m working for the clampdown, and I tell you what they’re gonna do, they’re gonna drop a 16 ton weight right down on our head, yeah guaranteed satisfaction!”

Then in darkness Topper beats out the intro to Janie Jones then a single spot picks out Joe then all the lights come on as the song kicks in and Joe throws his guitar behind him, without looking, presumably Johnny waiting! Joe grabs the mic shouting out the lyrics with Mick and Paul running around the stage, switching sides. It’s electric visually (and aurally) and the highlight certainly of the video.

Again in darkness Topper beats out the intro to Complete Control, the spotlight hits Mick as he plays the opening chords. A strong version with Mick leaping around stage throwing shapes but it doesn’t quite catch fire like Janie Jones and with a short “Thank you” they leave the stage.

The video continues showing Johnny Green and roadies resetting the stage, the crowd shouting enthusiastically for more, then after a short time Joe wanders on, with Mikey Dread joining him for Armagideon Time. After being booed earlier by the audience the microphone now conspires against Mikey and his vocals can hardly be heard. It’s a strong performance nevertheless with Joe adlibbing lyrics including “Buddy can you spare a dime”. As usual the song segues into English Civil War, dominated by Mickey’s organ. This 1980’s arrangement is in many ways just as strong as say the Rude Boy version, just different.

Topper then beats out the intro to Garageland in darkness, then the behind the riser lights flash on in time with his cymbal crashes. Joe stands animated at the mic, Paul and Mick jump up on the drum riser (all seems choreographed, rather than spontaneous). The crowd are now visibly livelier shouting for more as the band leaves the stage.

After a short time Joe appears seeming to check the reaction of the audience (do they deserve White Riot maybe!). Mick all smiles doodles on Mickey’s organ then it’s into an excellent Bankrobber. This time Mikey can be heard and toasts his Rockers Galore on a US Tour over the song. Then Topper crashes out the intro of Tommy Gun with Mick throwing shapes (then back to the effects pedals!). Another strong if not inspired performance.

The band leaves the stage with the video showing disappointment on the faces of the audience as they realise with the introduction of Darkness On The Edge Of Town that The Clash will not return.

"i was at the 1980 show at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ.  something strange happened at this show that is not mentioned on your site.  there was a bomb-scare during the show that resulted in a delay while police checked underneath the seats to confirm there was not a problem.  since it is now going on 20 years, i am not exactly sure WHEN it happened -- before any of the opening acts, Lee Dorsey, B-Girls or Mikey Dread (booed mercilessly) or between..."

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Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European Home
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Guns of Brixton
Train InVain
White Man
Koka Kola
I fought the Law
Spanish Bombs
Police And Theives
Stay Free
Julies Been Working..
Wrong em Boyo
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon time
English Civil War
Tommy Gun

Original footage

The footage is available, though unaffordable, online. Quite a few search libraries have it listed

Database Name: Historic Films
File Number: Me-135
Genre: Rock Music
Year: 1980
Colour: B&w
Length: 1 Hour, 24 Minutes
Format: Beta, 1/2tcbi

01 07 15 - 02 32 14

Rock Band The Clash Perform Live In Concert At The Capitol Theatre In Passaic, New Jersey. Saturday, 3/8/80.

01 08 08 Clash City Rockers
01 11 39 Brand New Cadillac
01 14 02 Safe European Home (?)
(Where’d You Go / Want To Go Back There Again)
01 17 41 Jimmy Jazz
01 21 39 London Calling
01 25 15 Guns Of Brixton
01 28 15 Train In Vain (Stand By Me)
01 31 39 White Man In Hammersmith Palais (?)
(Midnight To Six)
01 35 53 Koka Kola (?) (Coke Adds Life)
01 37 20 I Fought The Law
01 40 23 Spanish Bombs
01 43 29 Police & Thieves
01 49 22 Stay Free
01 52 55 Julie’s In The Drug Squad
01 56 21 Wrong ‘Em Boyo
02 00 13 Clampdown
02 04 00 Janie Jones
02 06 05 ???? (Someone’s Really Smart)
02 11 05 Justice Tonight
02 16 13 English Civil War
02 18 53 ???? (College Friends)
02 24 17 Bankrobber
02 27 53 Tommy Gun

John Scher Announces Upcoming Concerts At Beginning Of Concert.

Photos taken by Mike Frigerio
or PDF file here

Chris Knowles
The Essential Clash Bootleg Bible
includes this gig

Jenny Lens

Creem June 1980

27 April 1980 Observer
Joe Interv on 16 Tons Tour

Any further info / reviews appreciated

Mar 1 The Fox, Warfield, San Francisco CA, USA
A Riot of Our Own 235
Mar 2 The Fox, Warfield, San Francisco CA, USA
Mar 3 Santa Monica Civic, Los Angeles CA, USA
Mar 4 Santa Monica Civic, Los Angeles CA, USA
I was looking at your list of gigs and I wanted to add one. The Clash played two gigs at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1980,
March 3 and March 4. I attended both concerts. (My high school was across the street.) For the first concert a barricade was placed ten feet in front of the stage. Naturally, once the concert began people went over it. The next night the barricade was gone. These were the two best concerts I have ever attended. --David
Mar 6 Tower Theatre, Philadelphia PA, USA
Mar 7 Palladium, New York NY, USA
Mar 8 Capitol Theater, Passaic NJ, USA
Mar 9 Orpheum Theater, Boston MA, USA
Mar 10 Motor City Roller Rink, Detroit MI, USA
Apr 25 “Fridays” ABC-TV appearance, Los Angeles CA, USA
Apr 25 Los Angeles
According to the 16 Tons gig poster there was a gig in LA. Could Fridays have been pre-recorded and broadcast on the 25th?
Apr 27 Roxy Theatre, Hollywood CA, USA
“(The Roxy Theatre was) the smallest venue the Clash ever played in the States. And it was a very cool gig, they opened with “Time Is Tight”. The Roxy for years had a red velvet curtain. When it came time for the encore, the audience tore it down, and it was never replaced.”