Supported by Nod The Geordie Poet and Sisters of Mercy
updated 4 Aug 2014 - added full review
cdr source 1 - upgrade - Sound 3+ - 105min - - tracks 26 - low gen
cdr source 2 very poor - Sound 2 - 102min - Unknown gen? - tracks 26
“Much better than last night” says Mick as the band leave the stage at the end of the second of their two nights at Newcastle City Hall. Theall seated venue with bouncers keeping people in their seats had in the band’s view killed the first night’s gig; stifling audience reaction and leaving Strummer in particular depressed.
Determined that this second night at the City Hall would be better Joe after the first two songs asked for the house lights to be put on. First by putting the bouncers literally on the spot he succeeds in allowing standing in the aisles by the stage so at least there’s some people’s reaction to feed off next to the the stage. Secondly he comes clean; “We shouldn’t be here at all and the reason we’re standing here tonight and you’re here tonight is we’ve been banned for 5 years and we wish we were still banned from it!. We shouldn’t really be here but we wanted to see what it was like so we have to make the most of it now.”
The band and audience do make the most of it and deliver a much more memorable second night as Mick acknowledges at the end. The gig is memorable too for Mikey Dread’s appearance,as on the first night but here for an extended Bankrobber segueing into Armagideon Time. The band play 5 different songs from the first night too and a longer 26 songs too.
The audience recording of the 15th is though sadly inferior to the best one of the 14th but the very low gen. source coming into circulation in 2004 is a big improvement on the very poor one previously circulating. The best recording does though in include the full interview with Joe after the first night’s gig by Simon McKay the transcript of which is available at the excellent website of Newcastle fanzine Eccentric Sleeve Notes .
The Clash returned to Newcastle in 1982 to play two nights at The City Hall. I remember a group of us went along to the gig, and that we were sitting pretty close to the front. I don’t think the venue was full. I remember the gig being ok, but not on the same level as earlier Clash gigs that I’d seen. This was the last time I saw The Clash.
On the same site support act Nod (aka Alan Clark) writes
The Sisters of Mercy provided support on at least one of the two nights.
cla541: 1982 Newcastle city hall, two nights fantastic experience still got the ticket stubs- 1 signed , managed to get on stage and back stage and Paul gave us four cans of larger for the hitch home.
The 2000 seated City Hall on Northumberland Road is the prestigious concert hall for classical and popular music in Newcastle. It opened in 1927 and is still in operation today but its long term future is uncertain. The venue for live albums by Motorhead, Slade and Emerson Lake and Palmer, the City Hall stage has also seen the likes of the Stones, The Beatles, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, the Animals and Springsteen.
Prior to 2004 the only recording of this gig was a very poor audience recording of an unknown generation. The upgrade though, which is not widely circulating, is from another source and is from the master or very close to it. This recording includes at its end the interesting interview Simon McKay of Newcastle fanzine Eccentric Sleeve Notes did with Joe Strummer after the gig on the 14th (so presumably a big thank you to Simon for circulating his recording). The same basic mono cassette recorder equipment seems to have been used for both purposes which accounts for the live recording’s deficiencies; a lack of top end and bass, the sound range limited by the quality of the recording equipment.
There is some distance issues too and it appears the taper moved at least once from his recording position, as the sound improves after London Calling. The lack of range limits the enjoyment of the recording but it has a raw quality, capturing plenty of detail (vocals and guitars best) and the very lively and enthusiastic atmosphere in the City Hall. It is though immeasurably better than the original recording in circulation and well worth seeking out.
Mick plays a variant on his solo on London Calling. The bass is clearer suggesting the taper may have moved position on White Man in Hammersmith Palais, re-energised again on this tour. The vocal interplay between Mick and Joe is great and Joe adlibs over the extended ending.
If you can ignore the deficiencies of the recording equipment then this is an enjoyable recording capturing a band determined after their disappointment with the first night to make this night’s gig a success despite the all seated non-Clash friendly venue.
There’s a big roar as the song ends then Joe wants to communicate to their audience (and the bouncers) and orders “Hey Jackson, put the lights on will you Jackson. Hey listen, see those people over there, OK now is there any way that those people can be allowed to stand in this aisle near the stage?” Mick interjects apparently concerned about crushing from pushing. Joe continues “We shouldn’t be here at all and the reason we’re standing here tonight and you’re here tonight is we’ve been banned for 5 years and we wish we were still banned from it! [cheers] We shouldn’t really be here but we wanted to see what it was like so we have to make the most of it now. The following is a public service announcement …” A particularly raw sounding Know Your Rights because of the recording is followed by a fine Spanish Bombs. Responding to the very enthusiastic audience reaction which the recording captures Joe gives their thumbs up to Tyne-side and voices concern for those now standing packed into the aisles, “We really like this area. OK its Clash City Rockers, mind yourself down there”.
The extended instrumental ending of Guns of Brixton is again a highlight as is Somebody Got Murdered with Joe’s vocals again adding the edge and drama to the song. After an edit the audience are chanting, “Sing up can’t hear you” says Joe. The chanting becomes a repeated “Terry Chimes, Terry Chimes” to which Joe responds “Hold on he’s not that good!”
OK if unexceptional performances of Magnificent Seven and a very well received Safe European Home are followed by a relatively rare outing for Junco Partner to which Terry adds a new drum roll pattern intro.
Train in Vain and another rare-ish One More Time are fine but the sound quality has worsened a little limiting their enjoyment. What sounds like “Hey Micky got the maracas, yeah get a move on, dum do dum, big drums to the left” is Joe’s intro to Car Jamming, one of 5 songs not played the night before.
Energy levels peak again with Brand New Cadillac and a Mick Jones pumped up Police On My Back (an edit loses the start but this can be replaced from the lesser source). “OK we need some help to Rock The Casbah“, after which Joe jokes about the continuing audience singing “Mick Jones on the Tyne is all mine, all mine!” Mick interrupts him with a screamed “1-2-3-4” and the band blast into a fast Career Opportunities. The main set ends as usual with the climatic Clampdown, Joe’s adlibs at the extended ending are sadly unclear.
The recording continues as the audience sing “H’way the Lads” before the band return for the first encore with guest, Micheal Campbell AKA Mikey Dread. As on the previous night Mikey toasts over Bankrobber/Rockers Galore..UK Tour “The Clash are superstars!...” Joe only sings a couple of choruses, it’s mainly instrumental and Mikey. Joe has a go at a bit of toasting of his own (!) before instructing a segue into Armagideon Time. Again it’s much more Dread than Strummer, of greater novelty than musical value but the second half of the song is strong with Joe and Mikey’s vocal interplay effective and Mick’s adds some Studio One like piano effects. Should I Stay and I Fought The Law conclude the first encore.
Recording continues capturing the enthusiastic atmosphere around the taper and calls for the second encore which as usual begins with the emotive Straight To Hell. Mick says he has a “request for this one from the second balcony” before performing his Stay Free. A fine gig ends with a charge through Janie Jones and Garageland and then Mick’s acknowledgement as the band leave the City Hall stage “Much better than last night”
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