The recording begins with the full range of the air raid intro sound effects The Clash used at the Lyceum; klaxons, sirens and then the “All Clear’”! With a “Good evening and welcome” from Joe the band launch into One More Time and the quality of the recording becomes apparent. Joe’s passionate vocals are upfront and the band produce a very strong performance, not extended but hard as nails.
Joe’s vocal performance is committed and enjoyable throughout but his voice does sound strained, which he acknowledges later in the encores.
An extended Broadway is a highlight, the recording revealing the detail in the arrangement. “Yes and Welcome to the Lyceum here, hope you can see and hear, this is called Know Your Rights” A good performance but one which lacks a cutting edge due to Mick’s guitar being too much in the background. “To Hammersmith” shouts Joe and the band deliver a strong White Man In Hammersmith Palais. Performances tonight are significantly better than the 21st (main set) but not as inspired as the 22nd. “What did I go down there for, yes what was it?”; rest of Joe’s adlibs over the ending are unclear.
Guitar swop time next for an excellent and extended Guns of Brixton. Mick hangs some lead guitar in the air over Topper’s and Joe’s drum and bass. Train In Vain is fine if unexceptional. Lack of lead guitar attack detracts from an otherwise strong Magnificent Seven. Joe adlibs “What are you going to do with words, what did he say, time for a lecture now” and launches into the usual lyrics with great effect. “Sweat, sweat, sweat all in a day’s work now” Mick’s keener on his electronic effects tonight than playing his guitar adds his electronic bleeps.
“Right now we just gonna have a lunch break here no we’re not!” Cheers as the intro to Clash City Rockers is recognised by the audience. An intense pumped up performance followed by “Ladies and Gentlemen, elevator goooooing up!” Koka Kola is followed by Topper’s vocal on Ivan Meets GI Joe.
The bass lines on an inventive Junco Partner are clear and then after a seamless edit Joe announces “You’re all under arrest “ and the band launch into an inspired Julie’s Been Working For The Drug Squad. The sound is at its best quality now and the band sound like they’re enjoying playing this song again. Joe’s in great voice and adlibs “Walk tall man Henry, try to remember, always hold your head up like a man..” (presumably a reference to their friend locked up by operation Julie which inspired Joe’s lyrics)while Mick plays some great guitar behind him. An excellent performance ends with “Going down the Old Bailey”
“And now we bring you from the Conservative Party Conference the new national anthem!” the intro in particular to The Leader sounds great; the band again demonstrating their super-tight playing. Another highlight follows with “Hanoi, to Hanoi! “orders Joe, “Play that trash, play that Saigon pop, pop,POP!” Mick’s guitar intro to Charlie Don’t Surf has a touch of Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner sound.
Topper’s bass drum repeats and it’s into a very fine Radio Clash, at last moved from its position at the end of the set. Joe intro’s it well with “Now they say turn on, tune in and drop dead now I say turn on, tune in and wake up!”
“Tom toms, now the sound of the tom toms “ instructs Joe and Topper thunders into I Fought The Law. Mick manages yet another variation on his guitar crescendo intro to Somebody Got Murdered. “Murder” repeats Mick rather lamely over the ending but Toppers great drumming holds it altogether.
Instead of the usual London Calling next, Ghetto Defendant is inserted. There’s a drum intro from Topper then first Joe wails and then Paul wails on his harmonica! A good sounding recording to hear the lyric differences from the later Combat Rock version. Joe’s voice is breaking with wear but passionately sings his new lyrics which show his new more opaque ‘poetic’ approach to lyric writing.
A short pause then to cheers from the audience the band launch into a pumped up London Calling. Joe sings “at the top of the hour and after all this won’t you give me a flower” With a shouted “1-2, 1-2-3” its into the main set closer Clampdown. Mick is fired up singing the lyrics with Joe. On Joe’s adlibs on songs like the ending of Clampdown, Police & Thieves, Safe European Home, etc he appeared to rarely prepare anything in advance relying instead on the inspiration of the moment. When this came off it could be remarkable and really add to a performance, but here again as per recent nights the inspiration does not come. He starts under his breath with “and they want us to be free” he mumbles on but nothing comes, the band though rip it up impressively behind him.
The audience cheer the band back for the first encore which begins after Joe asks “Hello is anybody shouting for anything?” as per usual at the Lyceum with a pumped up Safe European Home. An excellent Washington Bullets with Joe (and Mick) in great vocal form unfortunately is interrupted up by a tape turnover edit 2/3rd ‘s in. Moreover the blank tape Derek now used was of inferior quality so there is here on a drop in high frequency quality particularly in the left channel; all making for a flatter less dynamic sound. After a lengthy instrumental extended ending it’s straight into Revolution Rock but it is a rather disappointing performance compared to the one on the 22nd, shorter and rather fizzles out at the end. Mick’s Stay Free next is fine but his lack of interest in his guitar tonight is evidenced by his minimal contribution over the ending. “Alright then this is a 1981 number written in 1902!” and the band launch into Career Opportunities; bringing the encore to an end on an adrenalin rush.
The second encore begins with another fine Armagideon Time with Joe (and Mick’s scream!) in fine vocal form. Joe adlibs “I feel like something to eat, yummy, yummy, calculate it, subtract it. Divide, come and get it!” After a drum and bass section Joe comes up with “10-4 big daddy, 10-4 what is your 10-20? big buddy this is your 10.29 do you happen to have a hamburger!, lets fight for it!”
Next Joe introduces Futura’s, Graffiti Rap; “Ladies and Gentlemen will you please welcome Futura 2000 all the way from Jarvis City” “That’s New York” says Futura and launches into his assured rap and name checking NYC rappers. Again there’s little guitar contribution from Mick.
After an edit Joe shouts “You’ll have to listen very quietly to me right now” presumably referring to his strained voice but he certainly does not hold back on a blistering Brand New Cadillac (although left channel HF loss and the lead guitar mix limits it’s effectiveness) An edit goes into Mick’s Should I Stay or Should I Go but again it’s not an inspired night for his playing. Sound dips a little more on a fine London’s Burning and then the concert ends on a high with Complete Control. It begins with a great drum fill intro and then a slowed down section till “..press went mad” then the band storm it through. Mick and Joe are pumped up, Mick’s lead work is clear if in the background but Topper’s drums thunder high in the mix with Joe’s vocals. An “Adios” from Joe ends another very fine Lyceum concert and a very good recording. Cheers Derek!