The Clash live at Shea Stadium

November 25, 2008 at 10:37 pm (Uncategorized)

I didn’t stand in line to pick up the new (old?) Guns ‘n’ Roses CD Chinese Democracy. The line I saw in an add in the weekend paper did it for me: “It’s been 17 years and worth the wait!” I can’t imagine waiting 17 years for anything and it being worth it.

Still, a few days before the epic event, I did shell out for the release of the Clash’s show at Shea Stadium recorded on October 13, 1982 (26 years later – beat that Axl!)

I saw the Clash play that summer in Toronto promoting what was to be their final “real” album, Combat Rock. It was a great show. The openers were Black Uhuru , who were also wonderful. Topper Headen had already been kicked out of the band,  but the Clash were really tight. Most of the hits, and only three songs from Combat Rock, which was fine with me, and I wasn’t 100% sold on it.

The Shea show follows the same pattern. Only two songs from Combat Rock appear, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and “Rock the Casbah” (both punked up for the show). And apart from “Armagideon Time” the band hardly slow down: “Tommy Gun”, “Police on my Back”, “Clampdown”, “I fought the Law”. It’s a blast of energy. The band also reach back to the beginning to play “Career Opportunities” (the only song which has appeared previously – it’s on the From Here to Eternity album).

But it’s “London Calling” that sets the tone. I hadn’t heard the song in a while, but the version here, with a slightly longer intro that on the record, brings back all the memories of that song. I recall buying the 12″ single and then the album in December ’79, and being stunned by what the Clash had become. Simply amazing.  A fantastic record. I listened to Shea in the car, but put on London Calling as soon as I got home.

The show was recorded by Glyn Johns, who also produced Combat Rock, and it’s very clean.The CD is available in a nice fancy package with a book of photographs. for some reason it retails at the same price as the regular CD so there’s no reason not to get that. But after you’re done, put on “London Calling” again.


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