Good evening, how was your weekend? Bloody hectic one here but that’s alright it’s going to happen from time to time. On the plus side it’s been really cold and rainy most of the weekend which sounds a bit glum but when you live in a desert it makes a lovely change. The clouds were so low that the mountains to the NE vanished for two days and finally left today to reveal snow, if I liked snow I’d be more encouraged. With that said the best laid plans of getting the blog updated a few extra times this weekend fell to the wayside but I’ll surely get back on track tomorrow. There’s a lot to cover from the Justice Tonight tour but that needs to wait as The Clash time machine has thrown up something really brilliant this weekend.
On Friday I was made aware by a few people of some live footage of The Clash that was filmed in high quality but as it was super 8/cine film there was no sound. A number of people around the net and on If Music Could Talk started trying to work out which concert film was from. Luckily the uploader on Vimeo also added another file called ‘Manhattan 1979′ (linked) which I watched with some faint hope it would lend some clues. Initially it showed the World Trade Centre and various street scenes around New York and then some bounty – an early evening shot of the marquee at the New York Palladium advertising The Clash, Sam & Dave and The Undertones – Sep 20 & 21 and towards the end of the footage live action of Sam and Dave. Clash historians will know the second of those dates led to the famous incident between Paul Simonon and his bass that was captured by Pennie Smith and became the cover of London Calling. What wasn’t certain was whether the film on the other upload featured live footage from September 20th or 21st.
It was at this point where the community that surrounds The Clash went into overdrive and also impresses the hell out of me. Everyone wanted to know which songs were being performed and match the audio to the performance. After going through existing recordings and matching up what was happening on stage in terms of lead vocals, backing vocals and other indicators there were enough clues to match it up perfectly. I’d like to thank Dom who I’ve been in contact with, for painstakingly adding the audio to the super 8 film with all the cuts and edits included – I thank you.
What’s remarkable about Super 8 film is that although the technology is older than many of us, the quality of the film far surpasses much of what you see compiled these days via mobile phones or even the less expensive digital cameras with video capability. I’ve watched the tape below a number of times and although it’s often blurry and edited badly you certainly feel the energy of The Clash on stage and the chemistry of the band which was perhaps at it’s very peak in the late months of 1979. Thrilling to see and priceless in it’s rarity what we have is a new document that in addition to being 32 years old also captures the band on a night where Paul Simonon was going to create an unrehearsed image that has become as famous as the the album cover it graced, perhaps even more so. While there are no complete songs on the tape we have pieces of I’m So Bored With the U.S.A., I Fought the Law, Jail Guitar Doors, and English Civil War. Enjoy it – it’s brilliant. I’ll be back soon with lots more. Tim
(Full credit from the YouTube upload) – The Clash – 1979-09-21, at the New York City Palladium performing the songs I’m So Bored With the U.S.A., I Fought the Law, Jail Guitar Doors, and English Civil War. It is only short clips of the songs but great nonetheless. This concert was the same night Paul Simonon smashed his favorite bass guitar thus creating one of the greatest moments in rock and roll history ever captured, seen on the album cover of London Calling, and taken by photographer Pennie Smith. More info about this special gig, including the full setlist, can be found here: http://homepage.mac.com/blackmarketclash/Bands/Clash/reco…
The original source of this video was a silent Super 8 film camera. I layered the audio over it and synced it together.