Supported by Mikey Dread, Lee Dorsey & The B-Girls

updated 30 Oct 2003
updated 7 July 2008 - link to photos by Cathrine Vanaria
updated 14 July 2008 - added ticket - new photos
updated 7 Sept 2008 - added punters comments
updated 4 Aug 2014 - Added video Safe Euroeapn Home
All photos are available as 16"x20" prints for $300US
C.A. Vanaria, 50 Hudson Drive, New Fairfield, Connecticut,
06812, United States
Daytime phone 203-791-1474 -
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cdr - Sound 4 - time 86min - unknown generation - tracks 24

video - 1 track - source unknown dubbed with soundboard audio (1982?)

Clash return to Boston

The Clash return to the Orpheum Theater where the previous September violence from the promoter Don Law’s ‘security’ had so upset fans that Joe reportedly said they would not play there again. Creem (June 80) gave Joe’s view; “Like in Boston, we’d just got out of the coach and there were all these people shouting “Ban Don Law” and handing out pamphlets. The guy turns out to be the promoter, and I’m thinking, here we go for the classic punch out gig, you know.

And we get in there, and they’re taking all the seats out, and that’s made their demonstration irrelevant. They were complaining about being harassed, and told to stay in their seats, but they’d actually taken out the seats, like everywhere should. They were complaining that this guy uses gorillas. But I went to those people - I went to the biggest guy I could see. And I said, “There’s no chairs here right?” And he said “No” And I said “Well, what are you going to do when there’s people standing there?”

And he says “I’m not going to do nothing to them”. “Well what if they start jumping around?” “Well we’ve got the chairs here to protect us so I don’t give a fuck” That kind of eased the tension a bit, I reckon. But we’re always walking into that, ‘cause its hard to be a group from somewhere else, and come steaming three thousand miles in and you have to go with the guy in town.”

Conflict Fanzine No.5 in their review of the gig wrote “The bands ethics were being questioned because Joe said they would never play for Don Law again after last September’s Orpheum gig. Well, anyone who cried “sell-out!”, should have known better, for when the show time rolled around, there wasn’t one Red Shirt in sight!”

With the first 5 rows being taken out, allowing at least part of the audience to dance, The Clash could feed off the energy and enthusiasm of the audience, as they needed to deliver a really great performance. Thus, this is a more exciting committed performance to the all seated Passaic one the night before. The Passaic performance is strong and inspired at times but the band lapsed into autopilot, with Joe having to push himself and the band, to ‘deliver the goods’. Tonight there’s no evidence of that with Joe in particular fired up, he’s ‘lost’ in the performance, as he is in all the best Clash gigs.

Jim Sullivan in Situation Butane Fanzine, Boston April 80, page 5, perfectly described the 1980 vintage Clash gig “A power paced, multi-faceted concert that would mix up the components – politics, aggression, swing, punk, reggae, best of Mott, blues, compassion – and churn out a volatile, entertaining package that grabbed both the intellect and the emotion, wrapping them up and binding them to the other, mutually reinforcing. The Clash have developed a sense of pacing, a feel for build up and let down (compacted perfectly in White Man, that lasted throughout the concert.… Once a punk band always a punk band. Not in terms of three guitars and three chords, but in terms of continual restlessness and pride that that the spirit of rock’n’roll matters very much.”

Conflict Fanzine No.5 again “The fact that they maybe the best isn’t what’s so surprising at this point, it’s just that now most people are finally finding out about it. They maybe the best, but they’re still getting better.”

Mikey Dread was again badly received but not Lee Dorsey and Police & Thieves is again preceded with Ray Charles “Hit the Road Jack”. The band must have thought it was a good night too adding as they did in these circumstances an extra song to the second encore, not White Riot tonight but London’s Burning.

Photos by Cathrine Vanaria

7 are from Harvard Square Theater, Cambridge MA, USA (16 Feb 1979)
1 is actually from Boston Orpheum (Sept 19th 1979)
3 from the Boston Orpheum - one of which wrongly attributed to Harvard (March 9 1980)
All photos are available as 16"x20" prints for $300US
C.A. Vanaria, 50 Hudson Drive, New Fairfield, Connecticut,
06812, United States
Daytime phone 203-791-1474 -
E-mail -

The Venue
The Orpheum Theatre was popular with The Clash (they would play there 3 times) enjoying its famed acoustics. It was opened in 1852, seating 2,800 and is still a popular music venue today.

The sound quality of the best circulating recording does not match the quality of the performance, although it is by no means bad. It’s problems all emanate from it being several generations off the audience master, making it duller and less detailed and crisp.

Both Mick’s and unusually Joe’s guitars come through well and are high in the mix giving a very powerful and aggressive sound.

Bass is good as are drums and keyboards but there is a general lack of range of sound. Vocals fair worst, being OK but too distant to hear for example all of Joe’s adlibbed lyrics. It is though an enjoyable listen (crank up the volume!) aided by some stereo separation on the instrumentation.

An upgrade nearer the master would make this a very enjoyable bootleg indeed.

The recording starts with part of “16 Tons” before Joe announces “Glad that you could make it” and then it’s into a powerful Clash City Rockers. Again on this tour with Brand New Cadillac, The Clash hit top gear, with Joe really into it adding adlibbed lyrics.

Joe addresses the audience “Good evening, hope you got a good eyeful and a good earful here, ..peanuts, popcorn!”. Safe European Home explodes in with Mick laying down heavy slabs of lead guitar as Joe adlibs over the top, no autopilot tonight!

Joe intros Jimmy Jazz and has fun at the clash of fashions in the audience “Do me a favour and welcome Mr Gluggo Gallagher on the organ, ..We’ll play 1977 if you take your head band off!” Jazz is always an opportunity for the band to improvise and Joe adlibs a plenty “Wait a minute are you sure you got the right man? There’s an awful lot like me, in this part of town” The music drops down to drum and bass and light fills from Mick, Joe’s adlibs are not clear but include intriguing references “to reading that holy book” and “1945”.

A powerful London Calling next with plenty of Joe’s trademark ‘wolf cries’. Next highlight is a return in the set for a frenetic Protex Blue.

Joe remarkably then lapses into what only can be described as his best Carry On Up The Khyber Indian accent “White Man in Hammersmith Palais, its velly nice to be here!”. It’s a bit of fun but it’s inconceivable that 20 years later Joe would have introduced say ‘Bhindi Bhagee’ in the same way. It’s another great performance though, Mick’s powerful lead contrasting with Joe’s choppy rhythm work.

With Mick’s guitar high in the mix Spanish Bombs is particularly searing. An edit before Rudie Can’t Fail cuts off part of Joes spoken intro. It’s an intense rocked up performance of this infrequently played song with Joe really into it; his ‘wolf cries’ heavy with echo.

Then its straight into the intro to Police & Thieves adapted around Ray Charles classic ‘Hit the Road Jack’ before the song proper kicks in. The Clash twin guitar attack is well demonstrated here with both guitars heard clearly as is Mickey’s keyboards. Joe adlibs at length around the ‘54 - 46 that’s my number, right now someone else has that number’, name checking the lines writers, Toots and the Maytals (who they had wanted as support for the UK 16 Tons leg). The song builds and builds with some great guitar from Mick.

Before Stay Free there’s a lengthy gap before Joe says “Alright then hey Johnny little bit of gaffer” Mick says “Try this one”, maybe repairs to the strum guard needed, certainly Joe at the end of the song calls for “another bottle of brandy for Johnny Green!”

A fine Wrong Em Boyo before the set pacing gets raised to maximum and it’s into Clampdown. Joe precedes it with “footwork Topper, how’s your footwork? (hear feet stamping!). The band conjure up for the song a suitably apocalyptic powerful sound with Joe launching into a rant which includes reference to American Express, but most of his words are unclear. A charged up Janie Jones follows leading into Complete Control . Joe’s echo laden vocals are really intense and he’s clearly enjoying Mick’s searing solo “You’re my guitar hero” adding an emphasised “Yeah!”

The recording has no edit as the audience shout and stamp for encores. Mikey, booed earlier, returns for Armagideon Time, which has got longer with a more dub wise treatment since its first live appearance on the Take The Fifth tour. As usual it segues into the great arrangement of English Civil War. A superb, passionate Garageland ends the first encore.

An edit almost certainly cuts out Bankrobber and leads into Tommy Gun. These last two songs maybe from a different source but probably not; certainly the sound is much inferior, flat and suffering from dropouts. An intense London’s Burning closes the show.

One of the formative events of my misspent youth. I recall vividly that Mick had his back to the audience (when he wasn't singing) for much of the first third of the show fussing with his amps. Midway through, a hair-raising version of "I Fought The Law" ended with Joe facing Topper on the drum riser with his back to the audience.

Before the last chord faded out Joe jumped in the air, whipped with a 180 degree turn and landed in front of his mic to scream "London's Burning". Powerful stuff. We were standing on the arms of our chairs in the balcony. The crowd was very mixed: punks, college kids, artsy types, etc., but I'll never forget the local Hell's Angels chapter coming out in force just to see what the fuss was about. They looked puzzled.

Nobody really knew what to make of Mickey Dread as he performed to backing tapes sans band. Joe and Mick dressed in white jackets, white pork pie hats and wrap around sunglasses came out and danced during one of Mickey Dread's songs.
All photos are available as 16"x20" prints for $300US
C.A. Vanaria, 50 Hudson Drive, New Fairfield, Connecticut,
06812, United States
Daytime phone 203-791-1474 -
E-mail -

RE: The Clash at the Orpheum, March 9th 1980.

I saw this show on my tod, as all my friends were still listening to Tull...

The things that really stand out in my mind are Lee Dorsey, B-girls all in Army gear, I think it was Mick Jones with a coral sitar (can’t remember the song..) and Joe Strummer throwing his tele over the amps, to be caught by the guitar tech.

I had a balcony seat but managed to get stage left, unfortunately in front of the PA stack.

I saw many shows at the Orpheum (the Jam, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, B52s, The Police) but they had nothing on the Clash.
I don‘t think I have ever seen a better show.

I ended up living around the corner on Winter Street, backing onto the Orpheum a few years later. Nice part of Boston late at night!

Nice site. - All the best - Barry

Just came upon your page detailing The Clash show at The Orpheum Theatre in Boston on March 9,1980.

I was at this show and to this day I remember it fondly as one of the best rock concerts I ever attended. (Out of thousands !)

I just want to let you know that you omitted one of the openers. Also on the bill with Lee Dorsey & The B-Girlswas Pearl Harbor & The Explosions. †Don't mean to be anal, but for historical purposes I thought that this should be noted. Cheers ! -Paul Cirincione.


Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European Home (video)
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Guns of Brixton
Train In Vain
Protex Blue
White Man in Ham Palais
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Spanish Bombs
Rudie Cant Fail
Hit the Road Jack
Police and Thieves
Stay Free
Wrong `Em Boyo
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
English Civil War
Tommy Gun
Londons Burning

Boston Globe Review
Steve Morse

Creem (June 80)

Conflict Fanzine No.5

Sweet Potato Magazine

Situation Butane Fanzine

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.”