Good afternoon everyone and cheers for stopping in. It’s lunchtime in the desert so therefore Thursday evening in the UK as I write on December 1st which just happens to be the first date of six scheduled concerts on the Justice Tonight tour in Cardiff. I’m going with my gut on this plus some of the feedback from the Liverpool concert that took place earlier in the year, these six concerts are going to be something really special for Clash fans and indeed those who believe that music has the power to make an impact. While many of us have seen B.A.D., Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros, Carbon Silicon or other events that featured member(s) of The Clash the emphasis has always been on the artists own work outside that sphere. Which is as it should be but until now there’s never been something performed live with the promise of Clash songs being performed.
Of course Joe Strummer worked many Clash songs into his set, even going back as far as his time with The Pogues. Conversely Mick Jones has seemingly until more recent years left history on the shelf in favour of his subsequent material. That stance has only really changed in recent years which leads me to believe that his change is probably due to the loss of Joe in 2002. Mick has apparently felt that the Clash songs are too good to be left unperformed live and that with Joe gone the most appropriate person left to honour these songs is himself. Even when it would have been a huge crowd-pleaser (last year with Gorillaz for example) Mick has never added a Clash medley just for the sake of it. I’m all but sure Damon must have suggested it at some point, probably met with a scowl by Paul Simonon as a result. When I saw Gorillaz last year I remember watching Paul and Mick beside each other on stage again and just wishing for a Clash song (I certainly had flashbacks to seeing them as a teenager so long ago) but of course it wasn’t to happen.
So tonight, and for the other five concerts to come I hope those of you who are able to attend get something I didn’t really ever expect to see. Part of a set quite rightly dedicated to The Clash and perhaps just as importantly it’s truly in the spirit of Joe Strummer. I’m positive that he’d approve. We’ll see what songs get played and who picks up the vocals and see some moments that should he held onto for a long, long time. If there is one concert I’m really aching about missing over the last 5-10 years it’s this tour. The guest stars plus Pete Wylie and The Farm all appeal to me as well in equal measure to the cause itself.
This is for those who lost their lives at Hillsborough after all, on an afternoon where they’d headed over to Sheffield simply to watch a football match. Something I did countless times at exactly the same age and in the same places. This isn’t a football blog but I love the game almost as much as the music and though I was actually at Highbury that afternoon the events of that day will always be with me. Somehow a ‘modern’ country paid the ultimate price for treating hundreds of thousands of people like cattle and the loss of lives remains as inexcusable today as it was that grim day. If you’re under 25 it’s almost impossible to imagine how we supporters (much like fans at concerts) were once herded and simply taken for granted. Tragedies and disasters can and do happen but this one was so avoidable that it’s painful to even reflect on. Going to matches was never the same after that, nor should it have been. Time does heal the wounds to some extent but the vitriol and lies from parts of the British press can never be forgiven. I sincerely hope a significant aspect of these concerts is raising awareness of the cause itself.
Enjoy it and perhaps savour it. Best of luck to Mick and those on the tour and to you who are heading out to see it. Roll back the years and have a laugh but please remember why the concerts are taking place. You also ought to know I’ve heard from people in deep despair because they can’t make one of these concerts. If you care to share your experience on the blog even if its just a sentence or two I’d be glad to include in the days ahead, photos too please! Cheers – Tim