Good evening from a soggy and pleasantly cold Arizona. Almost makes me think of winter today and definitely has me reflecting on the fact that 31 years ago today (or more likely tomorrow by the time I get this written and posted) I acquired my copy of the only triple album I’ve ever owned – Sandinista! Last year we were all drawn in to the rumour and then soft confirmation that a 30th anniversary special Legacy edition of the 4th Clash album was going to surface with added ‘rare’ material. Speculation was rife that we’d get unreleased tracks or better still an excellent live document of the band circa 1980/1. However more than a year later that ship has obviously now sailed with Sony confirming it wasn’t to be. Perhaps the 35th anniversary will see the vaults finally opened up.
I mentioned it on Facebook today (the anniversary) and it led to some good discussion as to the merits of the album which are worth a look. As I wrote there I remember clearly buying it on release and being a bit confused, a bit shocked and rather annoyed that this wasn’t The Clash as I knew them or at least expected. I was only 13 at the time and if you asked me then or even a few years later I would have placed Sandinista! as my least favourite Clash album (excluding Cut The Crap – different parameters altogether). As the years rolled by and my maturity arrived the album was revisited time and time again, instead of my initial feeling of five or six good songs, there were suddenly a dozen. A few years later more than half the album was obviously brilliant and by the time the 90’s rolled around I realised that most of the album was excellent – one of the most ambitious, challenging and bold records ever made. You can argue that it’s not the best Clash album but it may well be the most interesting and certainly contains some of Joe’s best lyrics. Beyond all that remember how quickly it was made and so soon after the brilliance of London Calling, also think of how many new barriers were broken down in particular by Mick and Topper. The band released 55 songs plus Bankrobber within 12 months, unheard of output. Brilliant stuff indeed, at a later time we’ll try and determine the best Clash albums whilst remembering there are no wrong answers. Happy anniversary then to Sandinista! and its far reaching, sometimes ugly beauty – an album that will last a lifetime.
Sorry for the brief detour there, I owe it to myself and to you to share a few more guest contributions about the Justice Tonight tour, specifically the final night in Glasgow which ended everything on quite a high. Glasgow as you all know holds it place high in the list of cities with Clash lore and with that, great affection for the band. There are a number of rumours/quotes doing the rounds about whether this concept might be revisited in 2012 and whilst I naturally have no inside track on that knowledge I’ll say only that many rumours concerning Mick Jones in the last few years have come to fruition. We’ve just been through the most active 3 years Mick has seen since I don’t when, the early 90’s I’d guess. I hope that doesn’t signal the end of that spell but only Mick knows what he’s doing next – what is apparent is that he is thoroughly enjoying playing live. Glasgow then; please join me in thanking Geoff (via Martin who provided us with his summaries of London and Liverpool) for the overview beneath:
Based on the Liverpool start time we arrived at 8.20 only to find The Farm ending their set with All Together Now. Pete Wylie then launched straight away into his set of: Come Back, Better Scream, The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies, Story of the Blues (with a neat little segued start of Drift Away as a tribute to Dobie Gray who passed away this week) Heart as big as Liverpool and ended with Sinful. I Have to say I was really impressed with his set, fantastic sound and vocals (despite the ‘hometown hangover’ from the previous evening) ably backed up by Joe, Paul and co Mick then took centre stage sharing vocal duties with Pete and James Allan from Glasvegas.
As a side note James Allan was a footballer playing in the Scottish lower leagues including Queens Park (not QPR). (ClashBlog ed: that’s news to me, but then again so is the overall interest in Glasvegas, looking a bit like Joe doesn’t make you Joe).
Immediate set after Pete Wylie was: Train in Vain/Stand by me, Stay Free, Clampdown, White Man (in Hammersmith Palais) – which is James Allan’s favourite Clash track. Then we went into a short break forJustice Tonight speeches and a single Glasvegas song – Daddy’s Gone. This was followed by the return of Mick and Co for Bankrobber, Armagideon Time, Should I Stay or Should I Go and London Calling before launching into All Together Now, at the conclusion Mick shouts ‘see you next time’.
Hmmmm wonder if he meant as B.A.D. who were brilliant earlier this year at the same venue or another cause that is deserving of the Clash set. Either and I’d be happy, just keep getting on stage, Mick. They left the stage to ‘make way for the disco’ only for them to return with Janie Jones. Disappointingly a fair number had left immediately after or during ATN. Another reason you should never leave before the final whistle. (Eds note: Anfield ’89) They’ll never be the same without Joe though I’m sure he’d have approved of the cause. Despite having mixed emotions as I did when the Skids reunited without Stuart Adamson I’d rather see Mick and Paul belting out Clash songs than some tribute band. More please……
Thanks so much for that, a great review I thought cheers Geoff. I also have another short summary from Murray which I liked, he may be a bit more forthright than some but just remember opinions about music are simply that and everyone is entitled to one. After all you’ve been digesting mine for the better part of three years now. Does he like Glasvegas? Read along and find out:
The Farm – I never bought into that baggie nonsense the first time round and other than Altogether Now this just washed over me. Pete Wylie was brilliant, a greatest hits set worthy of the price of admission. The Clash set was great, better than I’d imagined. They took a break and the guitarist and singer from Glasvegas got on to do “Daddy’s Gone” – their one great song it seems ! He didnt get the best reception, while he was havin trouble plugging in the guy next to me was repeatedly yelling “you are a wank” at the top of his voice to much laughter around. He’d maybe win a Joe Strummer lookalike competition, but he was struggling with Bankrobber, fluffing the lines he had to read off the page, but then Strummer was always prone to fluffing lines so maybe it was some kind of homage ! or maybe the event was just too much for him. The night ended with John Robb taking a mic to the crowd for Janie Jones. Good fun and by what Mick was saying onstage I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened again sometime ….
Thanks for that Murray, I can just hear a Glaswegian punter shouting that at James Allan in my head. Made me laugh I’ll confess, but as a guest I think he merited more class or am I getting soft? Right then I’ve got to go and drive with the lunatics in the rain this morning but please join me in thanking our guest reviewers for taking the time to write. Speaking of John Robb – his tour blog on Louder than War has been exceptional from the first night in Cardiff and provides so much insight you’d be a fool to miss it so please check that out. I’ll be back during the week, things are going to be hectic around here for the next six weeks as it looks like ClashBlog towers will shortly be relocating to new accommodations in California (more on that soon) but I want to keep up the momentum on the blog – we’ve had an exceptional number of visits over the last month for which I thank you and if you ever want to help our your humble blogger there’s a small banner ad over on the right. Thanks so much to those who already have. Also remember you can keep up to date by Facebook, Twitter or get the RSS feed which will see the blog sent to you directly. Cheers – Tim