Impossible Mission Tour

In 1981 the gigs at Lille and Amsterdam were supported by the Belle Stars (they were travelling on the tour coach which we bummed a ride on!), I think they did most of those European dates. J Heath

updated 10 Oct 2004
updated 10 July 2008 - Master audience recording added
updated 25 Dec 2008 - added support info
updated 28 Dec 2008 - added FM rebroadcast - 14 tracks
updated 13 Feb 2012 - added superb 16 track FM with radio ad

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

The Clash Edenhal, Amsterdam
©1981 Laurens van Houten -

cdr - full gig – audience source - some clipping - Sound 3+ - time 91min - unknown generation - tracks 25

cdr - full gig – audience source - Sound 4 - time 91min - MASTER - tracks 25 - good upgrade - very clear.

cdr from 7 tracks FM source-
Sound 5 - time 27min – very low - tracks 7

cdr from FM Rebroadcast [2008] -
Sound 5 - time 57mins - FM - tracks 16 - includes radio ad
I also have a much better cleaned up 14 track version of this.

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner ©1981 Kees van den Bos

In Amsterdam, Joe was interviewed for the Daily Mirror:

“We’ve changed drastically…we’re not interested in trying to stay the same, we don’t want that kind of security. Everything we used to play was done at 100mph. We’ve learnt that contrast can give our songs much more impact. Some of our fans say we’ve lost our rawness…well that rawness was just an excuse for the fact that we couldn’t play! We can now” [Daily Mirror 20th May 81]

Old Radio Broadcast - 7 tracks

An excellent stereo hi-fi FM radio sourced recording of 7 songs and a good audience recording of the whole concert in Amsterdam document and demonstrate these ‘drastic changes’ very well. The Clash now play for much longer, songs are stretched out into extended often improvised endings and the near out of control intensity and ferocity of earlier years is revisited now only briefly for two or three songs at a controlled burst. It’s not that 1981 Clash concerts are either worse or better than other years but they are certainly different.

New Radio Broadcast 2008 - 8 more tracks +6 old ones

A recent rebroadcast on Dutch radio contains 14 tracks in similarly excellent quality. There is a much better 14 track version to look out for from someone who took the time to clean up the sound.

The 6 tracks on both are London Calling, White Man, Mag7, Bankrobber & I Fought the Law. The 8 track version contains a lesser quality One More Time. The 7 track version omits One More Time but contains interestingly a radio trailer plus a radio identification outro track.

The new broadcast does not have Radio Clash from the popularly circulating 7-track sampler, or One More Time from the lesser-sound 8-track sampler. 16 Songs in total have now been broadcast. Only 9 songs out of 25 are not yet on soundboard.


Strange one. Radio ad is new, same tracks but several seconds' variance in track lengths vs. the circulating upgrade, and it's definitely not sonny burnit's remaster because it sounds unretouched from the radio source. But they did lift and drop This Is Radio Clash and One More Time verbatim from sonny's into the setlist. Possibly a different taper of the same broadcast who did a grab-and-go with the other tracks?

But that radio promo is big. Listen to's got a snippet of setlist-closer London's Burning in glorious pro mix, which isn't on any circulating SBD source (including this one). It seems improbable that they'd put it in the ad but not on the actual broadcast. So there has to be more out there in SBD!

Anybody up on their Dutch and can deduce the name of the radio station? Rat Patrol

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner ©1981 Kees van den Bos

The Clash on radio station KRO

The range and type of music played had of course undergone the greatest changes, well illustrated by the selections the individual members of The Clash chose as their top records on radio station KRO whilst in Amsterdam. The one-hour programme circulates in excellent sound quality and demonstrates the increasingly diverse musical tastes of the individual band members:

Topper’s “the fuckin’ powerstation behind the house” selection;
1. The Jacksons Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) 12” disco version.
2. Spencer Davis Group Keep on Runnin’
3. Troggs Wild Thing
4. James Blood Ulmer Are you glad to be in America

Joe’s selection;
1. Ben E King Stand By Me
2. Betty Wright Clean Up Woman
3. Professor Long Hair Jambalaya
4. Hank Williams Hey Good Lookin’
5. Roger Miller King Of The Road

Mick’s selection;
1. Ellen Foley “my girl” Theatre Of Cruelty
2. Funky Four Plus One More That’s the Joint “punk,funk,junk”
3. Tapper Zukie MPLA
4. Mott The Hoople All The Young Dudes

Paul’s selection;
1. Heptones Equal Rights
2. Big Youth Hit The Road Jack
3. Elvis Crawfish
4. Roy C I’m Gonna Make It

Amsterdam was another city where The Clash were guaranteed an enthusiastic audience, and the band respond with one of the best concerts of the tour, producing on a number of songs, exceptional and inspired performances.

Gig Photos - 2x sources

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

Laurens Van Houten’s photographs of the concert can be seen here

Joe Strummer of the Clash live in Edenhal, Amsterdam
©1981 Laurens van Houten -


The Jaap Eden Hal is a 400-metre ice stadium at Radioweg 64 in Amsterdam (see photos). It is still also used as a concert venue today, and this large capacity venue would have suited The Clash as the majority of the audience would have been able to stand above the ice rink surface, with seating only at the back and sides.

New FM Radio Source [2008]
Dutch radio has rebroadcast the concert including 16 songs in good FM quality. Much like the old 7 song broadcast it is of a very good quality.

Old FM Radio Source
Dutch radio recorded the concert and broadcast seven songs. The songs chosen reflect the major musical changes happening in the band with a run of 3 lengthy Clash rap/funk songs; Lightning Strikes, Radio Clash and Magnificent Seven sandwiched between more traditional Clash fayre of London Calling, White Man in Hammersmith Palais, Bankrobber and I Fought The Law.

There are 3 circulating versions of this source. The original 7-song source has marginally better sound than the 8-song source found on the end of Stockholm’s Burning (and on the end of the full audience source). The 8th song is One More Time with markedly poorer sound but from the soundboard radio source, suggesting that the rest of the concert may circulate from this source one day.

With Radio Intro...

The best sounding source is probably direct from broadcast and includes a great radio station sound montage intro of the seven songs plus a tantalising few seconds of the end of Amsterdam’s Burning. All versions have great professionally mixed hi-fi stereo sound but this is the lowest generation one and has a touch better clarity. Initial impressions can be misleading as the other versions have had the top end boosted but on closer examination the greater clarity of the radio station intro version is evident especially on the vocals and bass.

The radio station mix has Mick’s guitar in the left channel and Joe’s in the right, with vocals, bass and drums centred. A highly enjoyable sound reflecting the move away from the lead guitar dominance of the concert sound mix in 1980 (especially the May/June dates) to the pared down lead guitar sound and greater prominence of the rhythm section and vocals on this tour.

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

New MASTER concert audience source
A very clean upgrade from the same source as the old recording. Slightly at the top end with some distance but very good. Runs some 40 seconds longer. Much improved.

Old concert audience source
This source captured the whole concert but suffers from heavy bass distortion. It is an audience recording as voices can be heard near the taper and it lacks the qualities of a soundboard source. It is though a quality recording, with good range and clarity, vocals (touch distant) and instrumentation clear. There is some digital clipping which is a little annoying and some tape wear from this unknown (but low) generation copy. If not for the heavy bass distortion this recording would rate higher however with bass tone controls turned down this is still very much an enjoyable sound capturing some great performances not included on the FM source.

The audience recording begins with the full Morricone intro music, and then the opening chords of London Calling* hammer out. After a lukewarm start where he repeats the first line, you can hear Joe getting fired up, responding to the audience reaction, and getting more and more into it as the song continues. A fine performance with Mick’s 81 variations on his solo clear in the left channel. Straight into a powerhouse Safe European Home spoilt somewhat by sound levels fluctuating and bad distortion problems. By The Leader its clear there’s a real edge to the bands performance tonight. “Murder” shouts Joe, then Mick picks out the crescendo intro to Somebody Got Murdered, bass drum comes in and the crowd clap along.

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

“Yeah thank you, anyone out there, up on the side? No, Midnight to six then!” and the band launch into a great White Man In Hammersmith Palais*. Joe adlibs over the final bars with a comical plea to the audience, “Move it, move it yourself, get up and wank or do a skank! Move it now, don’t save it for breakfast, do it now!” Mick is playing a different guitar break on this tour but it’s not as effective as earlier ones.

Guns of Brixton unusually tonight is unexceptional, missing the interesting variations on its opening bars played on earlier dates on this tour. Lightning Strikes* in contrast is one of the best sounding performances of this Clash “rappo clapping” song and tonight Joe’s copes much better than most nights with the mass of lyrics. It’s a tight, funky performance, helped by being shorter than earlier nights, losing some of its not always effective improvisations.

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

Complete Control returns for its first 1981 outing with its great slow build up opening as on FHTE. Maybe included at this point to break up the new ‘more difficult material’ and please the Amsterdam punks in the audience. Mick’s playing is very enjoyable but it’s a performance lacking some fire and intensity.

A fine Corner Soul next with Mick playing a variation on the opening guitar figure. Someone shouts out for Cheat, which surprises Joe, “Cheat! Don’t know/have the chords ready, yeah I get violent when I’m fucked up” but Ivan Meets GI Joe kicks in before Joe can reminisce further! The band try mindfully to translate one of the lesser songs in the Clash canon to the live stage.

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

“Oh no, not you again! Another difficult one.Well this is another one so everyone get right back against the far wall!” says Joe sarcastically. Then an excellent This is Radio Clash* begins with a blood curdling scream from Joe. Dropping down to drum and bass with emphasis on the rhythm and with Joe playing funky guitar licks; who says you couldn’t dance to The Clash!

Joe often annoyed on this tour by shouts for the older punk songs says before Charlie Don’t Surf, “Meanwhile we’re going to Cambodia, you just breeze(?) there for half an hour and we’ll be with you, spunk, blue funk this is Radio Saigon!”. Joe adlibs later in the song “This is Radio Saigon bringing you how to stay alive, you’re sitting there getting weaker, Charlie’s sitting out there getting stronger”.

The sound improves a notch after an edit before the start of Magnificent Seven* on the audience source. The audience clap along to Topper’s intro then Mick and Joe’s guitars lock in tight and hard and the band deliver an excellent performance, complete with a great instrumental break and Topper’s ascending drum roll ending. Joe has another dig at the Amsterdam punks ”Alright you’re on in a minute” before a very fine Bankrobber*. Again on this tour it’s an almost soulful performance, played slower with Mick’s guitar now filling in the spaces rather than dominating as in mid 80.

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

Wrong ‘Em Boyo continues the strong performances tonight, displaying to strong effect the variations the band are adding to the older songs to keep them fresh and exciting to play. Further evidence of this on Train In Vain where Mick’s improvisations around the song’s usual guitar lines makes this one of the most interesting performances of the tour.

“The next number, I don’t know if it means much here but its OK for England, Jamaica and Portugal” says Joe before the energy levels hit peak on Career Opportunities. Mick and Joe share lead vocals as again the band sound like they are really enjoying playing this 1977 classic again.

The momentum is maintained and exceeded as the band thunder to the end of the main set with an exceptional Clampdown. Joe intones a few lines of “As the chopper descends…” then the band explode into the song, Mick’s variations on the opening guitar attack sounding much more effective tonight than earlier in this tour.

The band are really fired up, there’s a momentary pause for emphasis and effect after the “How can you refuse” line, and the band add other subtle variations to the 1980 arrangement. Joe in brilliant form delivers up a classic rant over the suitably apocalyptic finale, “They’ve got a bunker for the Clampdown, Lord have mercy on those entering the bunker, [atomic] cloud sits over their heads,.. I caught VD off the atom bomb, honest officer!” The crowd love it and shout and clap for more, as the band leave the stage.

One More Time again begins the first encore. A powerful performance and a definite highlight tonight. Mick is increasingly now using his effects box which was meant to sound like apocalyptic explosions going off but sounded like naff fireworks going off to these ears!

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

The recent riots in Brixton get repeated references from Joe on this tour and of course the band felt vindicated after their warnings on Guns of Brixton etc. Tensions had been brewing in Brixton with the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Swamp 81, which resulted in a large number of black youths being stopped and searched in the Lambeth area. On 10 April 1981, a PC tried to assist a black youth who had been severely stabbed. Eventually, a crowd of youths released him from police protection and took him to hospital. The police had bricks and bottles thrown at them, and four police cars were attacked. With tensions so obviously high incredibly Operation Swamp searches were continued immediately the next day. Violence broke out, eventually centring on Railton Road, where many buildings and cars were set alight before the police regained control.

With these events in mind Joe adlibs “One more time in Brixton these days, too much pressure, too much pressure put on, they say you got to give it one more time in the ghetto, even if you was nearly dead, even when the door slams in your face”

Joe Strummer of the Clash live in Edenhal, Amsterdam ©1981 Laurens van Houten -

Excellent encore performances continue (after an edit) with Brand New Cadillac and (after a further edit) Street Parade. The latter is tighter, more committed and effective than earlier performances. “Take it Away, Topper” shouts Joe before I Fought The Law* and Topper’s hi-fi recorded drumming shatters your speakers! A great performance with Joe adding, “Bobby Sands fought the law” a reference to the IRA hunger striker.

The band are called back for a second encore which begins with Washington Bullets, much improved from its debut in Barcelona at the start of the tour. Joe adlibs, managing to connect President Samoza, and the Sandinos with Kurtis Blow and Chocolate City! Distortion problems are bad at this point in the audience source. Joe is in fine form on Armagideon Time next and then an edit goes into the start of London’s Burning, which has been added, from a lesser sound source. “Brixton’s Burning, I told you it would burn!” shouts Joe.

* On the FM Radio source

photo courtesy of Joerg Bruekner

[more Amsterdam '81 SBD tracks!]
by Rat Patrol

I would say this show has the best-ever OMT, Lightning Strikes (Bonds on the CoB boxset sucks), and Radio Clash performances I've ever heard (TIRC had some looser, more-inventive ones on the Asian Tour, but this is the definitively tight one that replaces the drippy single for me...moreso than the somewhat underwhelming Tom Snyder take). Top 3 Somebody Got Murdered performance.

Top 3 Career Opps performance...and best available in CD-quality. Top 2 or 3 Charlie performance, and best available in CD-quality (Bonds is a slophouse, Sun Plaza has gorgeous Mick textures but too fatigued-sounding). Top 3 The Leader, best in CD-quality (Bonds sloppy, Lillie not as crisp a recording). Top 5 SBD IFTL, White Man, Bankrobber (FHTE2 only slightly better for CD-quality), Guns of Brixton (short, tight, nice rhythm scratching by Paul syncopated with Mick's flutter effect), Clampdown (Topper's ad-lib solos are awesome). Cleanest/crispest Ivan, although I like the crunchier Asian Tour arrangement a little better from a performance standpoint (this is nice display of that Levene-esque hypnotic riff that Mick was doing Spring '81, though). And a solid, if generic Train In Vain. Really the only weak track on here is LC, because Joe sounds half-asleep.

Smooth as silk performance. Tight and efficient. As straight-on run-throughs go they manage to keep the performances representative while still cramming in enough subtle extras to make them more special than usual. Balanced mix thanks to the pro touch. Inspired and inventive playing by Mick and Topper, ESPECIALLY on the dub-tastic TIRC and OMT. Good display of Joe's playing since he's up in front a little, but not so much so as to annoy (I do wish Mick weren't as far in the back, but it's only slight and the '81 Wall of Sound still comes through clearly). Paul stays out of the way and doesn't have any groaners. Only slight deficiency to the performance is that Joe is a little hoarse from playing his 7th show in as many days, but there are certainly worse nights for his voice. And I'll also say that this is one where it's almost equally enjoyable to listen to the audience source in regular boots rotation with the SBD source. The more-even mix on the SBD doesn't capture how BIG they sounded with the hall echo and how FUCKING HARD Topper was slamming the cans that night. I actually still like the AUD Career Opps a little better because he makes the whole arena shake on the chorus. Pete-esque power.

I agree...forget Shea. THIS is the introduction to live Clash that everyone should get as their first show. If some of the other more seat-of-pants Spring '80 thru '82 Asian Tour shows are a little advanced listening for the uninitiated because of how loose and risky they were playing, this is about as representatively well-oiled as they could ever get post-'79 and basically gives a definitive overview of what the songs SHOULD sound like...with a setlist more interesting than a greatest hits list because of the dub-ified S! tracks. We just need the lossless and the rest of the tracks...then this becomes release-quality. And maybe Sony (hint-hint) can acquire the source from the radio station and do a proper release if the keeper of the tape doesn't try to ransom the multi-tracks like the Chorus TV rightsholder did. Perfect way to do a live series is 1 release from the U.S. (Shea/Terry Tour), 1 release from the UK (Lewisham), 1 release from Continental Europe (Amsterdam)...and maybe 1 release from Asia so long as something better surfaces on multi-track than excruciating Sun Plaza (Hong Kong? One of the elusive Sydney residency tapes?). Gets your different eras covered, too, although I'd want a Lyceum '79 so GEER gets its day.

And if not...hell, maybe this will become the most popular boot available and get released on some high-qualityish grey market silver CD & vinyl with some care put into the packaging a la that nicely done Boston Tapes release that just came out.


London Calling
Safe European Home
The Leader
Somebody Got Murdered
White Man
Guns of Brixton
Lightning Strikes
Complete Control
Corner Soul
Ivan Meets GI Joe
This is Radio Clash
Charlie Dont Surf
Magnificent 7
Wrong Em Boyo
Train in Vain
Career Opportunities
One More Time
Brand New Cadilac
The Street Parade
I Fought the Law
Washington Bullets
Armagideon Time
Londons Burning

Tracks in Bold rebroadcast on FM 2008

The Essential Clash Bootleg Bible
Chris Knowles

Any further info / reviews appreciated

Apr 27 Barcelona, Spain
Apr 28 Madrid, Real Madrid basketball stadium
Gig reviewed in Record Mirror 9 May 81. Gig played in front of 7,000
Apr 30 Cascais, Portugal
May 1 Lisbon?
May 2 Velodromo de Anoeta, San Sebastian, Spain
May 4 Bordeaux, France
Joe IDs this date and gig the following night in Lyon before the first track
May 5 Palais des Sports, Lyon, France
May 6 Palais de Beaulieu, Lausanne, Switzerland
May 7 Zurich [venue unknown]
May 8 Hippodrome de Pantin, Paris, France
May 9 Palais St. Sauveur, Lille, France
In 1981 the gigs at Lille and Amsterdam were supported by the Belle Stars (they were travelling on the tour coach which we bummed a ride on!), I think they did most of those European dates. J Heath
May 10 Japp Edenhall, Amsterdam, Holland
In 1981 the gigs at Lille and Amsterdam were supported by the Belle Stars (they were travelling on the tour coach which we bummed a ride on!), I think they did most of those European dates. J Heath
May 11 Forest National, Brussels.
May 12 Musikhalle, Hamburg, West Germany
May 14 Idrottshuset, Copenhagen, Denmark
May 15 The Scandinavium, Gothenburgh, Sweden
May 16 Isstadion, Stockholm, Sweden
May 18 Eissporthalle, (West) Berlin
May 19 Circus Krone, Munich, West Germany
May 21 Velodromo Vigorelli, Milan, Italy
May 22 San Remo
May 23 Stadio Comunale, Florence, Italy
May Rome - cancelled
the proposed Rome concert never came together- problems with Bernie
May 26 The Bullring, Milan?? or Arena Civica
Usually named from Londonderry boot LP which was the 23rd. Probably did not take place.

Joe Strummer of the Clash live in Edenhal, Amsterdam ©1981 Laurens van Houten -