Comeback gigs & Glastonbury Warm Up

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
Joe Strummer: Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Martyn Slattery: Lead Guitar, Keyboards et al
Anthony Genn: Guitar
Scott Shields: Bass Guitar
Pablo Cook: Percussion
Smiley: Drums

No known recording exists.
If you know of one please please email blackmarketclash


As far as Special Guests go there wasn’t any. A DJ played a lot of great reggae though interspersed with a couple of tracks from Combat Rock i.e. Ghetto Defendant at the end of which he done something quite interesting with the track mmmm hard to explain. But if he ever reads this he has got to send me a tape.

Then The Mescaleros made their entrance stage left. My first impression was they all seemed to be under 25 the drummer excepted. I thought of recent B.A.D. gigs there is no question M.J. loves to be surrounded by young guys I think he feels less of his age with them around.. (ooohhh that was bitchy)

No worries with these lads though they knew who the crowd were here to see and they stayed very much in the background but provided a great backbeat for Joe’s vocal.

And so to the man himself as he made his entrance he screamed HELLO AGAIN LIVERPOOL and from that moment the crowd were putty in his hands. My first thoughts were Joe’s filled out (middle age?). As my wife Pat and I were right at the front we were able to get some great photo’s he drank from my water bottle and at the end of the set shook hands with Pat and gave her his plectrum WOW!!!!

Anyway enough about us, Their opening number was a new song I didn’t catch the title but it was either Something D.J. or Something Decay. It was a superb little number and this song promised a great evening in store. As the number came to an end a number of the crowd were screaming out for London Calling and Joe just held out a hand and screamed YEAH. London Calling blazed out, I couldn’t believe it I was transformed 20 years back it was really hard not to think this was The Clash on stage. (Anyone who never got to experience a Clash gig will certainly get a real taste on this tour).

Then another new song that rocked. Then he talked about Pete Wylie (local band member) and asked if he was here tonight and offered him a fiver (£5) for a contribution Wylie made to the Liverpool Echo newspaper in an article about Joe. If Pete was there he didn’t take up the offer. Then came The Clash’s greatest recording White Man (In the Hammersmith Palais). This was Classic Clash, if you closed your eyes you could almost feel the original line up on stage. Then a dedication, this song is for Topper Headon he yelled as the band played Straight To Hell. Then a couple more new songs, again both tracks were excellent, surely every new song couldn’t be great? Then a bit of politics "You know, I was reading The Guardian recently and it was the tenth anniversary of Tienanmen Square and you know how many protesters turned up?, just one guy had balls big enough to stand in the square giving out leaflets before the secret police came and took him away. I wrote this song 8 months after the massacre and its been put on a shelf for 9 years and 4 months and now its time to come out" The song again stood out as class. I Fought the Law was next and again it was superb. "Now when we play the next song I dont want you all to leave through those doors". He said pointing at the main entrance. "Because this song’s called Tony Adams*."(*see below.)

More prompts from the audience; Bankrobber!, Rock the Casbah!, both songs were played surrounded by new tracks. The only request he didn’t play was Rockin’ World hmm maybe that was a good thing. Then came the last track Yalla Yalla. "This is the next single". Joe said. OOOooohhh I dont know about this one, maybe a few hearings will change my opinion but this song was the weakest offering of the evening and went on for about 15 minutes.

They left the stage. I noticed sweat dripping from the ceiling. The Lomax holds about 200 people, as we had entered, our tickets were taken and we asked for our portion back we were told to come back after the show, looking back the tickets were being resold on the street outside suddenly The Lomax became a 400 person venue, Naughty but nice, it all added to the atmosphere inside I suppose. Encore time. Yet another great new song and the finale Tommy Gun. I couldn’t have wished for a better set of songs, they mixed so effortlessly with the new material. The Mescaleros were fantastic and Joe Strummer is God.

All Hail The New Clash......

*Tony Adams is an English soccer player who plays for Arsenal F.C. arch rivals to Liverpool F.C


The last time I saw Joe Strummer was in 1991 as front man for the Pogues. That night they played mainly Pogues songs as well as London Calling, Straight to Hell and I Fought the Law. The time before this, Joe was fronting the Latino Rockabilly War.

8 years on, and for the first time, looking a little heavier, and a little older, Joe walks almost angrily, almost reluctantly on to a tiny stage in a 200 capacity club in Liverpool. The script is almost the same. Snarl and look angry, appear slightly distant, and play London Calling, Straight to Hell and I Fought the Law. At the Pogues gig in Manchester, the person next to me commented "this is one of his songs" as Straight to Hell began. Tonight it was embraced. Tonight it was expected. Joe knew he wasn’t going to get away with playing only Mescaleros songs, something he turned to his advantage in his pre gig press releases.

This is slightly disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I have spent most of my adult life being distracted by the Clash, and to be more specific Joe. This was a gig out of the blue for a Clash connoissuer desparate for a fix. On this Joe delivered. When you’ve gone almost ten years without hearing a live rendition of your favourites, you start to beleive that Oasis aren’t actually that bad. The Mescaleros performed the classics with enthusiasm although at times they looked as though they were wondering what had hit them. The Mescaleros are most definately a "him and us band". Maybe this is what Joe had in mind with the Clash. One review I have recently read suggests that it was "hard not to think this was the Clash on stage". No possibility.

The Mescaleros rely on their band leader, and play as though they will be punished for straying from the script. At times the bassist and guitarist looked nervous. This is understandable, they are providing the backing music for the main event. When the Clash played live, no song ever seemed to be played the same twice. A few gigs under the Mescaleros belt will certainly see them gain in confidence, but unless they have the courage to express themselves, the songs may start to sound "reeled off".

Joe isn’t a dictator, but he is surely the pilot. There is room for initiative, but not for a power struggle. So what do the Mescaleros sound like? In a word good. They are tight, and they are raw. A major appeal to a Clash die hard. The new songs are varied. "Yalla Yalla" slightly tecno, "Forbidden City" slightly Punk Rock Blues/Trash City. The second song, called X- ray Style (I think) sees Joe upset at the highly strung roadie not rigging his ghetto blaster correctly. What follows is a jumble of percussion, and the rest of the band looking lost as Joe tries to salvage something. This will sound better on CD. A song called "Tony Adams", an English football player with considerably more brawn than brain. I hope this isn’t a tribute. A couple of others I can’t quite remember but quite liked.

Joe commented before this tour that if you were going to see the BeeGees live, you’ expect to hear the classics. Would the same be true if Barry Gibb was playing live? You see, this is my major criticism. The Clash split 16 years ago. No one disputes their quality, least of all me. Then I was 19 years old. I knew that the legend would see me through for a while. It did. Today, since the split, no band has ever inspired me as much as the Clash, and I can play their songs all night long. I’m not bored of them, but I am looking for new inspirations. You tend to look at your heroes for this, and apart from E=MC2, and a few solo Joe songs, it has been a long wait.

Most articles where Joe is mentioned these days have him portrayed as a highly likeable, genuine sort of geezer. Shaun Ryder said as much and commented that Joe seems to know everyone, and everyone seems to know him. I have met Joe several times and this is certainly how he comes across. Joe the family man. So what drives him, more specifically, what makes him seem so angry on stage? His new songs are not revolutionary but are slightly rebellious. What turns Joe from being a romantic, all round nice bloke, to a slightly bitter looking reactionary lead singer once he takes the stage. Lets face it, everyone loved him at the Lomax. Perhaps Joe represents a side to us old Clash fans that appeals. In the end we all had to conform however reluctantly, and no matter what gloss we put on it, we’re not that different from your average Phil Collins fan. The same is true for Joe. But at least we all know that we questioned it.

So, Joe, if you are reading this, the gig was brilliant, the Clash songs were great to see played live again, and you still remain a cult figure. But, develop the set, and have more belief in what you do now. From the look of the audience, a strange mix of accountants, mechanics, and possibly even policemen, but overwhelmingly white thirties something male, you were playing to the converted. You need to add a new audience. From what I have read, this is a full on project and Joe is back. So, if you mean this, give us something to stir us out of our impending middle age, and continue to remind us of what live music really sounds like. If you disagree, you may as well reform the Clash.

BY Simon Hurley.

Did you go? What do you remember?
Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
Please email blackmarketclash

No known recording exists.
If you know of one please please email blackmarketclash

There are several sights that provide setlists but most mirror They are worth checking.

from Setlist FM (cannot be relied on)

from Songkick (cannot be relied on)
... both have lists of people who say they went

& from the newer Concert Database and also Concert Archives

Also useful: Ultimate Music database, All Music, Clash books at DISCOGS

Articles, check 'Rocks Back Pages'

You can stand by me
Joe Strummer, Liverpool Lomax
Guardian - Tuesday June 8, 1999
Midway through Joe Strummer's blistering comeback at Liverpool Lomax comes a defining moment which proves the old adage "They just don't make 'em like that anymore". PDF or text version

Fans view of the gig

UK Tour poster

Clash singer breaks ground
mid 1997
By Todd Martens - Staff Writer

A bit of history
UK Tour itinary - alas front cover only
and a Tour pass

with the dates on the back
and ... US Tour itinary - alas front cover only

The Sunday Times Pick of the Week
Joe Strummer UK Tour

Joe Strummer Interview
Punk Magazine - by Judy McGuire
It's always scary to meet people you admire as much as I admired Joe Strummer. He was the closest thing to having a hero I ever had. When I got the assignment to interview him, I was both excited and scared shitless. What if he was nasty or rude to me? I'd be crushed. Words can't truly express what a huge influence the Clash had on my life. I was a painfully shy, depressed, awkward teenager the first time I heard them. They taught me about politics, to think for myself, to question authority, and to become a better, more informed person. Their lyrics gave me the courage to stop caring what other people thought about me and to always be true to myself.

BBC Music Jools Holland
We found Joe Strummer on the terrace of the BBC bar, where he imparted to us the wisdom that only comes from hard years on the road . . .

Former Clash frontman, Joe Strummer, is back out on the road with a new band - The Mescaleros. They played Glasgow on Monday night and tomorrow take to the stage at the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth before shows in Dublin and Belfast.

Guitar World 1999
Diggin the New (1 page only)
Huge Clash retrospective

Unity Rocker (Australia)
Real Groove Magazine Strummer interview (inc Australia 82)

Any further info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
email blackmarketclash

White Riot Tour


A collection of
• Tour previews
• Tour posters
• Features
• Articles
• Tour information

from the White Riot Tour.
Articles cover the month of May 1977.


Video and audio footage from the tour including radio interviews.


Return of the Last Gang in Town,
Marcus Gray

Passion is a Fashion,
Pat Gilbert

Redemption Song,
Chris Salewicz

Joe Strummer and the legend of The Clash
Kris Needs

The Clash (official)
by The Clash (Author), Mal Peachey

Other books