Welcome back to the Clash Blog with another update on the Justice Tonight tour. Because I have to sleep, eat and work I’ll probably be about 24-36 hours behind events in the UK during the duration of the tour. Life goes on I suppose, although I wish I had a railpass and was going from venue to venue taking notes of these concerts first hand. Speaking of life going on I’m actually sitting at a Girl Scout’s meeting for the Clash bloggette’s daughter tonight as she can’t be in two places at once. Talk about the opposite of punk rock, this is surely it. Of course I’m not making it up how could I….
Cardiff then – I wanted to say a huge thank you to Charlotte from Birmingham who I caught via Twitter on her way out of the gig last night and hoped she might be able to put together an account of the night from her perspective. I woke up this morning and she’d kindly obliged by sending a summary through to me to be posted on the blog. Last night was fun even to track from miles away, as soon as it got to around 11pm UK time I was checking Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to try and find some early feedback. Lots of comments on Twitter like “Can’t believe I’m seeing Mick Jones playing Clash songs” and “Mick Jones with James Dean Bradfield, surreal” plus a fair few about the very strong communal aspects of the gig, rallying cries from Pete Wylie about the state of the nation and the Hillsborough cause. As I wrote earlier in the week I hoped that the cause would be a key aspect of the tour and so it’s proving. One great quote relayed from Charlotte last night as stated by Pete Wylie:
“If you rob a bank, you go to prison; if a bank robs you they get a bonus.”
As you know these are very politically charged times and it seems ironic (probably using that word incorrectly as usual) that the gigs are taking place the same week as the largest national action in the UK since The Clash were at their peak in the winter of 1979. Add to that the ongoing occupy movement and things have a definite early eighties feel at the moment. Enough of my viewpoints, let’s instead hand things over to Charlotte with her rather brilliant account of proceedings:
It’s been a while since I’ve felt so excited by the anticipation of attending a gig, but I just knew that Justice Tonight would be everything I expected and more.
The Farm kicked off the gig, with Peter Hooton explaining why the Justice cause means so much to him, before launching into five of their biggest tracks, including Groovy Train and All Together Now in which Pete Wylie joined them onstage for.
Wylie gave an extremely passionate performance, particularly during Heart As Big As Liverpool. It was clear to see just how much the cause means to him. Joining him onstage, special guest James Dean Bradfield certainly added even more energy to Wylie’s Come Back, successfully throwing his trademark hop-on-one-foot-spin into the equation.
Despite the political issues and seriousness of the gig, the atmosphere couldn’t have been any more relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of correctly projected anger at the government, the Murdochs, and of course The Sun, but everyone also seemed to be having a good time and enjoying the music. The most outspoken person on the night was Pete Wylie, whose constant jibes at Margaret Thatcher sparked much applause throughout the gig, and his new song The Day Margaret Thatcher Dies was received incredibly well.
After casually chatting to fans at the side of the stage, the rather dapper Mick Jones kicked off the Clash songs with Train In Vain, followed by Pete Wylie’s choice of Stay Free, then James Dean Bradfield’s rather spectacular rendition of Clampdown.
At one point, the modestly sized stage held nine musicians, all of which genuinely looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying the gig, especially Mick who spent the whole gig with a slightly cheesy, yet sincere grin spread across his face.
There was no questioning of the cause for the gig, and deafening chants of “Justice for the 96” could be heard throughout the interlude before the first encore. I don’t think I have ever seen so many people look so passionate at a gig.
Of course Joe Strummer wasn’t forgotten, Mick Jones, Pete Wylie and Peter Hooton all giving reference, with the general consensus being that he would have loved the cause, and would have been proud that people are fighting for what they believe in.
Being 22 I know this will be the closest I will ever get to seeing The Clash, and for me, it was definitely awe-inspiring not just to attend a completely non-corporate event, but also to watch a gig where every person on stage genuinely appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. I’ve never left a venue feeling so elated.
Wow….what a great night and a marvelous summary of it. Please join me in thanking Charlotte for her guest post, I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to give a first-hand account and Charlotte did the Cardiff audience proud. I’ve got many more bits and pieces from the tour to follow and I’ll try as best I can to update every 12-18 hours until the tour is over so all of us overseas or unable to get tickets can feel part of it. I wish I was there…I think I’ve said that previously. Enjoy the gallery below, just click on any picture to enlarge and then cycle through.
The photos last night were rather good with Mick Jones looking dapper and elated throughout and its great to see Pete, Peter, James and all of the others looking so committed. I typically try and make sure I credit the photos but I pooled tonight’s gallery from a number of people on flickr, if you need a credit please let me know. I saved these files at home and now I’m on my laptop so don’t recall the source on each one. I’ve also been wondering what you felt about the sound and the overall execution of The Clash numbers by the composite bands. While it’s nice to see the videos captured on mobile phones the sound leaves a lot to be desired. Right, that’s me done for now. Thanks for dropping in to the blog. Don’t forget to keep current via via Facebook, Twitter or get the RSS feed