16 Tons Tour Europe/rescheduled dates due to Topper’s injury.
Supported by Holly And The Italians

updated 2 July 2004
updated 10 July 2008 - added BBC article & venue pics

Photo courtesy of Alyn Currie @ www.punkrockposters.net

cdr - Clash Songbooks 2LP / gen unknown - Sound 4 - time 94min - tracks 30

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

Clash ticket (17th) courtesy Dave Ridley

The 16 Tons tour ends as it begun with Mickey Gallagher back on keyboards and Mikey Dread guesting on the encore (although Mikey was not at the first handful of dates). It would be Mickey Gallagher’s last appearance, the band would return to being a four piece up and remain that way up to Mick’s departure.

They had planned to play their rescheduled London dates at two cinemas in Balham and the Mile End (see link) but these were closed down. The Clash were however finally allowed to play the famous Hammersmith Palais. They had previously tried to play there on previous tours. The Palais with its large unseated dance floor was ideal for Clash gigs, but the management had previously refused due to punk paranoia, fearing Clash fans would wreck the place.

Fortunately an excellent audience recording was made of the second of their two gigs at the Palais, a venue that would be forever associated with The Clash. Indeed, when the old incarnation of the Palais was closed in the 90’s (it has since survived closure and re-opened), the famous sign was appropriately offered to Joe Strummer.

A great set of photograph’s of the 16th June, taken by Pete Still are available to buy through www.concertphoto.co.uk and scans are available on Dave Moon’s excellent site; www.punkrock.me.uk. Photos of this night the 17th are on musicpictures.com and one adorns the cover of the latest edition of Marcus Gray’s book.

Press reviews of the gig include one in the NME by Chris Bohn (see link) and Robin Denselow in the Guardian (see link). Chris Bohn’s is a typical Clash review in the music press at the time; he cannot but help be impressed “.. they do seem to get better, America has obviously helped” But a compliment is illogically twisted; “..as their playing has obviously strengthened with the passing of time, they’ve become less prone to error, and consequently more predictable”. Somehow an acknowledgement that their music has now assimilated their roots has actually made them more musically conservative! He was presumably at the 16th as he quotes Mick as saying before White Man, “Let’s not get too sentimental about this” not heard on this recording.

In contrast Robin Denselow was very impressed; astutely noting“.. they have managed to combine their energy and fury with a fascination for rock history.”

The Venue

The Hammersmith Palais on Shepherds Bush Road was built in 1919 and hundreds of marriages and subsequent little Londoners must have resulted over the years after a dance across the Palais ballroom! A famous London landmark in the jazz and swing band era, it became popular again in the 70’s and 80’s as a seat less venue (with balconies and bars at the side) where you could dance and move to live music, in contrast to its conservative, all seated neighbour, the Odeon up the road.

Joe, of course in 76/77 attended a reggae show there with Don Letts, which became the inspiration for The Clash’s generally accepted greatest song.

The Palais recently narrowly escaped extinction but has reopened as the Po Na Na nightclub with an association strangely enough with school disco.com

Clash Songbooks LP

This double LP, emanating from Japan was one of the rarer Clash bootlegs appearing in Portobello market in the 1980’s. Appropriately for Clash bootlegs, the then centre for trading was situated in the more down market end of the market, around Ladbroke Grove. It comes in a single sleeve holding two LPs.

Thanks to digital copying, this bootleg is now widely circulating. However, watch out for copies with a poorer quality of sound and one copy is edited (badly) between tracks (overlap mostly) and Stay Free was missing. Older taped copies are several generations down and much poorer.

The LP’s source is a very good indeed audience recording, which although suffering inevitably from some distance problems has a wide range and is clear and detailed. There is a touch of echo and a top end bias, with bass somewhat buried and unfocussed. Some stereo separation adds to the listening enjoyment. A bright, sometimes harsh sound with the guitars captured particularly well. The sheer volume of The Clash creating some distortion but clearly this recording was made with quality semi-pro equipment.

We can hope though that the master recording is reissued on CD in a similar improved form as has happened recently with the 16 Tracks LP.

The double LP contains the whole of a long set which includes the rarely played Revolution Rock and the only source of a Mikey Dread song, played after Armagideon Time.

This recording is another from the European, final leg of the 16 Tons Tour that demonstrates that this was one of the very best periods for Clash performances.

All the performances are strong; powerful and intense but also full of invention and depth.

“Lets get it all away, lets get it started” shouts Joe, then the usual 3 song opening assault, particularly strong tonight with some great playing from Mick.

Time for a collective pause for breath next on Jimmy Jazz; “Like to introduce Micheal Gallagher on the hawkeye!” Pictures of Mickey’s keyboards from the show show a wooden cabinet resembling some sort of 15th century harpsichord! Joe adlibs a plenty in the song as usual, “he said suck that so I sucked!” but the sound quality is not good enough to hear them clearly.

The rarely performed Revolution Rock next; “This a song recorded by Williams (Joe getting mixed up, Armagideon Time being Williams, Revolution Rock, Edwards & Ray) entitled I’m so pilled up that I rattle!” Joe adlibs again managing to get in a reference to Gunga Din! Mick’s lead guitar dominates, leaving little space for Mickey’s keyboards to come through.

Julie's Working For The Drug Squad, obviously a band favourite returns, with the band especially tight and inventive. Then an annoyed Paul says during the guitar swop before Guns of Brixton “Give us a fuckin’ chance!” Mick plays layers of effects heavy guitar over the extended ending.

Mick plays a great solo on London Calling but it’s an excellent Spanish Bombs that really showcases his talents. “I think since we’re here we’d like to pause a moment and do this here song, its entitled midnight to six” prefaces a strong White Man In Hammersmith Palais.

Next highlight is Police and Thieves, (the Hit The Road Jack intro if played is edited out) Mickey adds swirls of organ to a strong if not exceptional performance. Wrong 'Em Boyo makes a welcome return to the set and Clampdown is very powerful. The charge through to the encore starts with an intense English Civil War (Joe in great vocal form and Mick’s playing especially powerful), and continues in similar form through I’m So Bored with the USA and Complete Control.

Armagideon Time begins the first encore; “Like to introduce Mr Michael Campbell, Dread at the Controls”. Mick’s guitar was sporting a ‘Dread At The Controls’ sticker on it at the time. Mikey toasts in the gaps between Joe’s vocals, and in the vocal screams/cries Joe out volumes Mikeys! At the end of the song Mikey sings solo on a song, normally given as Rockers Galore but this is a different song. Mikey does sing a section of Rockers Galore in the latter part of Bankrobber.

After the reggae interlude it’s back to punk rock with a vengeance! An intense Tommy Gun leads into the always stand out Capital Radio, complete with the current variation on the intro. Joe screams out London’s Burning and the encore comes to a breathless finish.

The packed Palais audience called the band back for a second encore of 1977 favourites; Janie Jones, What's My Name and Garageland. No White Riot though tonight and its playing would become increasingly rare again in future live performances, which now took an unprecedented break of nearly a year.

White Man's Blues

The Hammersmith Palais, which closes this week, was immortalised by The Clash's (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais, a song Joe Strummer ended his gigs with right up to his death in 2002. But what's the song all about?

The Britain of The Clash is no longer with us. "I live by the river" was the clarion call of the dispossessed in their 1979 hit London Calling; nowadays, it's the boast of a Thameside double-mortgage condo-dweller.

And the scene of the previous year's (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais is now to be demolished for an office-and-restaurant complex.

In 1919, a former tram shed in west London became the Hammersmith Palais De Danse, the beginning of thousands of nights of jazz, swing, pop, rock, bhangra and ska - as well as the School Disco phenomenon.

And it's a reggae all-nighter at the Palais that Clash frontman Joe Strummer's describing in the track.

Reggae DJ Don Letts had thought the event would be up The Clash's alley, but the lyric starts from the seditionary Strummer's disappointment at the apolitical poppiness he witnessed - "onstage they ain't got no roots rock rebel".

Strummer had hoped for reggae to be the voice of struggle, like other white British youths before and since - the reason we have the coinage "trustafarian" being that many of them are, like Strummer, public schoolboys and/or diplomats' sons.

But then the lyric takes an unexpected turn into gonzo reportage with a cast including Robin Hood, Paul Weller and Adolf Hitler. What it's "about" depends on who you ask: the death knell of punk? A call for racial unity? An attack on gun culture?

This ambiguity was unlike punk's previous stark messages - Tom Robinson saw it as The Clash realising that they could "afford to admit the contradictions that we all face."

Certainly, there's disillusionment and fear of futility in there. The Jam take a pasting for their off-the-peg jackets and "turning rebellion into money" (a barb some thought was literally rich from a band signed to CBS for £100,000) and the new "solution" proposed ("Why not phone up Robin Hood and ask him for some wealth distribution?") strikes the same ambivalent note as the various versions of The Beatles' Revolution.

What makes it fun?

There's ambivalence, too, about violence. On the one hand, the White Man is isolated and scared of guns - "please, Mister, leave me alone"; on the other, Strummer took to ad-libbing "and good for you" after the verse about UK punk rockers "fighting for a good place under the lighting" - at least until sideman Mick Jones persuaded him that the band had hosted one too many skinhead invasions-cum-bloodbaths.

So the White Man sees a problem, but can't tell what to do. How is a song about isolation and confusion so well loved, so often covered, and so much fun?

The answer's partly given in another piece of onstage patter - Strummer liked to introduce the song with the advice "for this one, you move your arse sideways instead of up and down."

Sonically, this was a new noise from "a big fat riff group", as Strummer described the 1976-77 Clash.

Phased hi-hats, acoustic guitars, harmonica and backing vocals play off the "sideways" reggae rhythm - it's undeniably a London song, but it's a London where ska and hippies and punk and rock melt into one another - and so there's playful joy there too, clearer in the music than in the words.

Punk's Gettysburg

What we get from the lyric is a journey. Early on, Strummer despairs that the "many black ears" are listening to pop rather than a rebel message. Then, as if anticipating Don Letts' later rejoinder that for Jamaicans, "the ghetto is something you get out of", he weighs up the pros and cons of armed resistance, gives up on his fellow punks, and gets a rise out of himself, "the all-night drug-prowling wolf who looks so sick in the sun".

What makes White Man stand out is that the journey carries on after it 4'01" are up. Former NME journalist Danny Baker calls it "punk's Gettysburg Address" - and while the UK has changed, this song has weathered better than some of punk's starker 45s.

In 2007, modern-day Strummers lambast hip hop for being more interested in bling than in civil rights, "punk" groups are far faker than they were in 1979 and still the "youths" haven't agreed on a "solution". °La lucha continua! - solidarity over time - as the South American Strummers say.

The wrecking ball is still headed for the Palais, though - and with the London Astoria going the same way, there's a lot less space for a certain kind of gig: the kind between the pub backroom and the pocket-emptying stadium event.

Punks may be cheered that (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais will echo around the shell for a while, following a farewell gig from The Good The Bad And The Queen with The Clash's Paul Simonon on bass. Don Letts is DJing, Mick Jones is expected - and Joe Strummer? He won't be there for obvious reasons, but perhaps he'd have had more fun at this concert than at the one that spawned the song.

Smashed Hits is written by Alan Connor

That song is a legendary, iconic song that i have heard well over a hundred times and i will listen to a hundred more. that clash are the greatest band to have ever lived. rest in peace joe strummer 1952-2002
Joe Wilson, Aylesbury

Actually the line "they've got Burtons suits they think it's funny, turning rebellion into money" was aimed at Power Pop groups such as the (long forgotten) Pleasers and Advertising who were being hyped up by sections of the music press at the time as "the next big thing" rather than the Jam. That's according to an interview that Strummer gave to the NME at the time.
jimmy , Salford, UK

It's interesting to see how attitudes have changed and yet, at the same time, remained exactly how they were when this song was written. Everyone still complains about the violence, the 'youths', the drugs and everything else, and yet we still do nothing about it. The fake bands are still outselling the bands with a harder message and yet the fake bands will be the ones that are forgotten sooner. Joe was one of the great preachers of his era, and although some of the Clash's songs were very bleak, he still had enough honesty to say 'we're making money from this'. Hopefully his songs will be remembered for the a long time yet.
Heather, Wolverhampton

Yet another piece of history being detroyed for the benifit of the few! and a clear indication of how society is still going head long into total meltdown in regards to entertainment enjoyment by those who enjoy a different culture of music.
Mike gregory, Reigate

The venue Strummer sang of attained a mythic status quite quickly after he penned the song, but the type of gig and event he went to there was already long over more than 25 years ago. So whether it is torn down or not doesn't really matter me,(nor to the majority of music and Clash fans I suspect)because never having been to the Hammersmith Palais, I only have a snapshot of what it was like in my head at that point in time thanks to Joe. I doubt very much whether it was actually ever like that or would have been if I had seen a gig there. If bands still wanted to play there and fans still wanted to see them, promoters would be clamouring to book it and it would be thriving. This is not as much of a kick in the teeth as say CBGBs in NYC being re-developed. It was still breaking new bands and still held the magic and appeal of the legendary 75-77 era, when it was re-developed last year.
MikeB, Dundee

Reply to David Ely - Yes mate Joe Strummer was one of those middle class punks, but bless him anyway he was a good musician and social commintator. Rest in peace Hammersmith Palais - expensive appartments going up in its place?
robert martin, Glasgow

There will be some other Hammersmith Palais. Rebellion has more energy than conformity. Long Live Those Who Are Not Like Me! (Seriously!).
Nigel Macarthur, London, England

Following on from Heather's very well-made point, it's funny that 30 years on, people are still discussing Clash lyrics. At the time we used to sit around for hour discussing them. Well, first trying to decipher them, then discussing them.
Adrian, London


Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadillac
Safe European Home
Jimmy Jazz
Revolution Rock
Julie's In the Drug Squad
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
Police and Thieves
Wrong 'Em Boyo
English Civil War
I'm So Bored with the USA
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
Rocker's Galore
Tommy Gun
Capital Radio
London's Buring
Janie Jones
What's My Name

BBC article about Hammersmith Palais

Guardian 18 June 1980

NME Hammmersmith Palais
28 June 1980 – 1 2

3 excellent photos
virginia turbett - musicpictures.com

Chris Knowles
The Essential Clash Bootleg Bible
includes this gig

Any further info / reviews appreciated

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.