16 Tons Tour Europe/cancelled dates due to Toppers injury.

last updated September 2004

cdr - master audience - Sound 3+ - time 91.49 mins -
tracks 26

Poorer copies circulate

The Clash’s only appearance at the much-missed Mayfair Ballroom and a night that has gone down in local folklore as one everyone claims to have been at: others include Led Zeppelin in 1972 and Nirvana in the early 1990s. With definite similarities to the infamous Hamburg gig, 2 months earlier, there were chaotic scenes of fighting, gobbing, and general mayhem.

Songs are interrupted, the mic is grabbed, and Joe and Mick appeal for calm. Before Jimmy Jazz, Joe angrily had a dig at those in the audience baying for punk purity; “Next we’d like to do this here tune, which ain’t nothing except a tune, which we caught a lot of flak for especially in Hamburg, where they think its 76 and act like it”.

Clash ticket courtesy Dave Ridley

Newcastle Stuff Fanzine

Marshall Hall has kindly contributed background about the gig and about the Mayfair Ballroom. His NEWCASTLE STUFF is an entertaining monthly magazine, distributed free of charge around the city. It’s website includes a page on the Mayfair at http://www.newcastlestuff.com/mayfair/mayfair.html.

He writes “It's interesting what you say about Joe referring to the crowd as 'acting like 76'. Newcastle is a notoriously slow adopter of fashions and trends, and punk didn't really catch on here until around 1979. I began running a punk clothes shop around then, which really took of in 1980/81, when local demand for bondage pants etc. was phenomenal. So it must have seemed strange to Joe, witnessing scenes he hadn't seen for two or three years.”

“The band were banned from the City Hall by its owners, Newcastle Council, in 1978. Rumour had it at the time that someone - Strummer, it was said - had a shite on the stage. They were also later arrested for damage to their hotel.

The Poly gig the year after did indeed end in a riot. The venue was open to students only, few of whom were 'punks'. To remedy this, the band's roadies let true fans in through toilet windows, which resulted in large-scale fighting with the student stewards.

The Mayfair gig the following year took place in what was very much a 'rock' venue, although the regulars were outnumbered by punks. My mates talk of tables being dropped from the balcony onto the stage, although the Mayfair's bouncers no doubt made matters worse in the way they dealt with this. These guys really enjoyed their work and it's unlikely they would have called on the local constabulary for assistance.”.

Marshall has also kindly supplied an article from Newcastle fanzine ‘Helter Skelter’ about the gig and contains an interview with Joe (see link) The article and interview focus on the violence but when asked did he enjoy the gig Joe replies “Yeah, it was really good after the crowd had settled down and we could get down to what ourselves and the vast majority of the fans were there for – music!”

Elsewhere The Clash crowd at the Mayfair were described as ‘like Reservoir Dogs with bad haircuts’. Many thanks to Keith Thompson for his recollections;

“I did see The Clash at the Mayfair in 1980. I don't remember anything startling to do with fighting although the band were getting really pissed off with "1976" gobbing from the front. At this time audiences were very mixed with some hardcore (but 4 years out of date) punks accusing bands like The Clash of selling out through to others who had moved on and were into Magazine etc. Anyway back to the night... They hadn't wanted to play White Riot but gave in at the end. I remember Mikey Dread coming on for a set (possibly half way through?), which went down like the proverbial lead balloon with the gobbing brigade.

Detail is hazy but I don't think the band were late on, no Police called, but a very rowdy crowd. A worse gig for fighting was December 1978 at what was Newcastle Poly, which I was also at. The Poly union merrily sold tickets to anyone who asked and then wouldn't let people without a union card get in on the night. Local band "Angelic Upstarts" (used to kick a pigs head with police hat on around the stage) and their fans were amongst these and some fire doors were just forced open and everyone went in. The Poly must have decided to let it go in fear of inciting even more destruction so a 1,000 person venue had double that number in. Support band was the Slits but Budgie was drumming.

Local paper the Sunday Sun still managed to say they were all female though. Loads of fighting when he Slits were on including with the singer (Ari Up) but again I don't remember anything out of the ordinary during the Clash.

To put the sounds of fighting etc on the tape into perspective: In 1981 when riots started around the country after Toxteth one of the TV news programmes spoke to Chief Constables around the country about the trouble in their areas the night before. After pictures of people running amok, doing handbrake turns in stolen cars, shouting in the street and general fighting, each Chief Constable reported that indeed there city had been affected by riots. Then it was Northumbria's turn. After similar TV images he calmly said, "no riots here, just a normal Friday night in the city centre!"


Newcastle's Mayfair Ballroom hosted Europe's largest and longest-running rock club, spanning four decades. Some of the biggest bands in the world played the venue early in their career, such as Pink Floyd, U2 and Nirvana, while Led Zeppelin returned from an American stadium tour in 1971, to say thanks to their fans in Newcastle.

As time and tastes moved on, a host of other acts moved in. The Clash and The Jam played at the height of their popularity, as did New Order and The Smiths. Rezerection staged the city's biggest raves in the 1990s.

But the legendary Rock Disco continued as the main attraction, Fridays and Saturdays, for thirty years. 5,000 people turned out to pay their respects on the closing night in the late 1990s. It was demolished to make way for a 'leisure complex' called The Gate.

The Mayfair was a typical oblong-shaped Mecca ballroom, capacity 1,500, with the small stage built flush with one of the longer walls (instead of at one end of the room), a large oval-shaped wooden dance floor in front of this, and a large balcony right around the room (and above the stage). Marshall Hall

Recently the master audience recording came into circulation; a very welcome upgrade on the poor quality, well-copied tapes circulating previously. The master reveals a good audience recording, which considering what was going on all around the taper that night is quite remarkable!

Its main problems are of distance to the stage resulting in a lack of clarity and detail particularly on vocals but also instrumentation. A reasonable range though and enjoyable, it suffers only when compared with the other better recordings from this final 16 Tons leg. If this were from the UK Jan/Feb 16 Tons leg it would stand as one of the best bootlegs from that period!

There are some mechanical tape flaws throughout and the taper missed the first 2 songs beginning abruptly with Safe European Home. An edit loses the start of Tommy Gun.

The importance of the recording is not as a document preserving a great musical performance (there are better sounding recordings from this period that do that job excellently) but it does capture the atmosphere in the Ballroom; you can almost “sniff that wind of ugly tension” that night at the Mayfair, “the jerks had got aggression!”

Tonight is not a night for concentrating on the playing but on trying to control the audience and stop people getting hurt; Joe adlibs in Safe European Home “OK you’ve made your point, go back, go back!” Joe does his angry rap about 76 and Hamburg before Jimmy Jazz. It’s one of the best performances of the night with Joe going into an extended stream of consciousness adlib (an accurate but too pretentious a description for Joe’s always different every gig, off the cuff raps);”My advice to you Jimmy boy, is not even to pack a suitcase, where are you tough guys from, smack, smack, smack” then tonight Topper gets included (for not too mystifying reasons!) in his Police Officer drug bust rap;“Are you Topper Headon, put up your hand, get a haircut!” Mick delivers a great solo and Joe barks out the words.

Trouble flares again during a remarkable Spanish Bombs. Mid song amidst the mayhem the band stop playing, all except Joe who continues on his own for a while singing solo accompanied only by his Telecaster strumming. “Sorry got carried away there, oblivious to the mayhem!” he says. “You tell me if I get any really big goolies [presumably he meant gob!] in my face, will you shout, which means you lot much as I hate this I’m going to carry on anyway just to show you” Then there’s a stage announcement presumably from the bouncers “Try to calm things down fookin’ behave yourselves, we gonna cause a fookin’ racket if you don’t behave yourselves” which is met with shouts of “Fuck off” from the crowd! Chants of “Geordies” and the band restart the song.

There is a mass singalong on White Man In Hammersmith Palais with Joe barking out the lyrics. But the trouble continues and an angry and distressed Mick shouts “You fuckin’ cunts, your fucking it up for everyone else, you bastards ”. Some of the crowd are presumably now on the stage as Joe gets a laugh when he says ironically “As we’re all standing here anyway, this is something new entitled Some one got murdered”. As the song ends there’s more chanting and Koka Kola soon breaks down with yet more fighting. Joe says “Anybody out there? Anybody want to come up here and tell us what’s going on?” Joe obviously concerned that the bouncers maybe the cause of the trouble. No response so “Sod it” restarts Koka Kola but as it segues into I Fought the Law, Mick shouts, “While you’re all fighting the real fuckers laughing his bloody head off”.

An edit restarts with Jail Guitar Doors probably not losing any songs based on previous set lists. “Lock em up” shouts Joe who adlibs as usual a verse but the sound is not good enough to understand what he’s singing. Topper strikes up a constant beat and Joe shouts echoed Hit the Road Jack calls before the intro proper to Police and Thieves kicks in.

Clampdown gets a “Dedication to the Heaven Boys” and Joe adlibs at length over the ending, but again his words are unclear. Then Mick says “My turn to be gobbed at, apologies, but I can’t sing this song with conviction with all this gob going on my face, and I really mean it, this song is called Stay Free

It’s the charge then through to the encores via English Civil War, I'm So Bored With the USA and into Complete Control. The audience singalong and then scream, chant and clap for more.

As the band return someone’s bent Joe’s microphone but he’s in a good mood “It’s only a microphone, hang on a minute, might even win a design award for this!” As Armagideon Time begins Joe introduces Mikey Dread who toasts in the gaps left in Joe’s vocals. Keith Thompson who was at the gig remembers Mikey too so reports in Marcus Gray’s book of a falling out over The Clash’s refusal to pay for Mikey to bring a backing band over from Jamaica would appear wrong. An edit at the end of the song loses the start of an intense Tommy Gun. London's Burning is even better with Joe screaming out adlibs over the ending. The crowd love it calling the band back for a second encore.

Mick plays the current variation on the intro to Capital Radio (less effective maybe) with Topper adding drums and Joe shouting out the initials of the song, before Mick screams out “1-2-3-4” and the song proper crashes in. Its straight into more 77 crowd pleasers, with What's My Name (adlibs unclear) and then “We’d like to do one more number” leads into an intense Garageland. But it’s not the last song as Topper immediately beats out the intro to White Riot with Mick shouting as it begins “Alright then, you’ve been fucking asking for it!” Various voices shout the lyrics either because the fans are on the stage or because Joe is passing the mic to them. It is probably the former as although the song gets its usual reprised final verse there is no more singing and the song soon breaks down and the House PA comes on.


Safe European Home
Jimmy Jazz
Revolution Rock
The Guns Of Brixton
Train In Vain
London Calling
Spanish Bombs
White Man In Ham Palais
Somebody Got Murdered
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Jail Guitar Doors
Hit the Road Jack
Police and Thieves
Stay Free
English Civil War
I'm So Bored With the USA
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
Tommy Gun
London's Burning
Capital Radio
What's My Name
White Riot

Local Newcastle Fanzine 1 2 3

Any further info / reviews

Clash cancel dates at Balham,
Mile End Cinemas. New June dates. Bankrobber "uncommercial"

27 April 1980 Observer
Joe Interv on 16 Tons Tour

May 12 Markthalle, Hamburg - cancelled dates due to Toppers injury - moved to 19th
May 13 Neue Welt, Hasenheide Park, Berlin
The concert on May 13th at the Metropole (as listed) was moved to the "Neue Welt" in the Hasenheide Park (Berlin) Juergen
May 14 Schwabingerbrau, Munich
May 15 Oberlaa, Vienna, Austria
May 17 Wartburg, Wiesbaden
May 18 Philipshalle, Dusseldorf, West Germany
May 19 Messehalle, Hamburg, West Germany
...Joe arrested for hitting a violent fan with his guitar...

Hi, I think, that I have visited the Clash concert in Hamburg on 19. Mai 1980 not in the 'Markthalle', but in the much bigger 'Messehalle', a rather naked concrete hall. So also the foto of the 'Markthalle' is misleading. The opening band was 'Ton, Steine, Scherben' with vocalist Rio Reiser. Or do I remember a different concert on a different date? with kind regards, Heinrich

Did the Clash play two nights in Hamburg?

May 21 Chateau Neuf, Oslo, Norway
advert for the gig + ...photo 1 ...photo 2 ...photo 3 ...photo 4
May 22 Olypen, Lund, Sweden
May 23 Eriksdalsballen, Stockholm, Sweden
May 24 The Scandinavium, Gothenburgh, Sweden
May 26 Cambrai, France
Best Magazine no.143 French Advert for French dates May
May 27 Palais de Sports, Paris, France
May 28 Hall Tivoli, Strasbourg, France
Best Magazine no.143 French Advert for French dates May
May 29 Palais D'Hiver,Lyon, France
Best Magazine no.143 French Advert for French dates May
May 30 Theatre De Verdure, Nice

I was at the Clash gig at the Theatre de Verdure on may 30 1980 in Nice, France. I saw them again very shortly afterwards at the Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. If they definitely played Newcastle Mayfair on June 12, then the Hanley gig would have to be on 18 June. An 18 day gap seems about right, from memory.

Best Magazine no.143 French Advert for French dates May

Jun 1 Piazza Maggiore, Bologna, Italy
Jun 3 Parco Ruffini, Torino, Italy
Jun 9 Derby Assembly Rooms, Derby
Jun 10 Colston Hall, Bristol
Jun 11 Colston Hall, Bristol
Jun 12 Mayfair, Newcastle
Jun 12 Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke - CANCELLED AGAIN
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)

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.

Jun 14 Rettel Festival, France
Jun 16 Hammersmith Palais, London
Supported by Spartacus (toaster) and Holl and the Italians.
Jun 17 Hammersmith Palais, London
Supported by Spartacus (toaster) and Holl and the Italians.
Jun 18 Victoria Hall, Hanley, Stoke
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)

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.

"The gig at Hanley on 18 June definitely took place - J Heath"

The Clash certainly played. I believe that june 18th was the date and I remember a review in the evening Sentinel some time afterwards? Tickets were sold at Mike lloyds record shop Hanley (now long gone as is Lotus etc) Tickets cost £3-ish, sorry lost my ticket stub, for which I believe was dated Febuary the 1st or 2nd, I think. Certain on the month but not 100% on the date. yes the gig was postponed about 4 times and we only got tickets due to returns who could not make the rescheduled dates.
Discharge opened, i remember them tuning up on stage, then Holly & The Italians.

Clash played a largely London calling set as I remember, I recall London Calling, Bankrobber, I fought The Law and Armagiddeon Time, They possibly played complete control, Tommy Gun and the English Civil War? The place was packed out.

It was my first gig and I was only 12 at the time (no alcohol was served, there was always kids running riot at early 80's victoria Hall gigs) and was disappointed with the new material, me and my little friends wanted punk rock, what did we know about the diversity of London Calling and the 6 sides Sandanista (now my favorite album) to come. I remember my ears ringing at school the next day. Sorry can not really remember a lot. We left whilst they were still playing Armagiddeon Time, I heard a rumor years later that they came back for another encore that included White Riot. I do remember the audience demanding this track throughout the gig and the band refused the play it, saying something like that was 3 years ago or some other negative comment.

NO Doubt that they played this gig at all. I could ask my Brother at the coming Christmas Family gathering for his memories if you are interested, he was 16 at the time and could possibly remember more. perhaps he still has a ticket stub?

All the best, Paul. paulekennett[a]gmail.com

Jun 21 Laugardalshöllin Sports Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland
The concert was on June 21st 1980 in the Laugardalshöllin sports hall like most major concerts in Iceland. It was part of the Icelandic Arts Festival which is still held biannually. The hall was full, about 5000 people. The warmup band was Utangar?smenn ("The Outsiders") who were very big at the time. The band I play in now (not then), Fraebbblarnir, was supposed to play too, but at the last moment, the organisers decided they weren't "politically relevant" enough. Fuckers.

I went backstage to meet them. There was a queue a mile long for autographs. The first thing I saw was Joe, signing tits, arms, tickets and whatever like he was on an assembly line. "You look knackered, mate", I said. "You speak English?" he said. "Thank god. Sit down and have a cigarette. I'm not signing any more."

So we sat there for about half an hour, chatting about the Icelandic music scene and whatnot, sharing his cigarettes, beer and whisky, until it was time for the Clash vs. road crew football (soccer) game, an after-concert fixture. I sat on the sidelines and drank whisky with Mikey Dread who was the soundman for the gig, I believe. Now, the band were pretty uniformly useless at football, especially Mick, who pranced around in high heeled, white cowboy boots and fell over a lot. The band went on to beat the roadies for the first time in living memory, so I was well chuffed.

Aug 23 Heatwave Festival, Mosport Park Toronto
Billed as a "new wave Woodstock" [punkstock], the Heatwave festival was held at Mosport Park, northeast of Toronto, Ontario. Performers included Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Talking Heads. The Clash cancelled at the last minute, leaving Elvis Costello to headline introducing themselves to the crowd as "Hello, we're the Clash". In the end only half as many people as expected, 50,000 people showed up. Review in the NME. See also Post Punk Diary page 73.