Pearl Harbour Tour supported by Bo Diddley & The Cramps
Also, Harley from the Stimulators was at the NY show but they didn't play. (Scratchy)

updated 7 July 2008 - added punters view (Joe Burdette)
Updated 28 Dec 2008 - added new venue info and photos
updated xmas 2023 added new photo and Clash in Amercia article
updated March 2024 added NYT article, backstage photo

Audio 1

unknown gen - Sound 2.5 - 69min - Unknown Gen? - 21 tracks

Tommy Gun

not at all bad audience recording

Thankfully a recording circulates of the concert and it’s a not at all bad audience recording. All instruments are clear, though there is some over amplification and the sound is toward the top end. Most of Toppers drum kit can be made out and Paul’s bass is clear if low.

Its main problem is that the taper was well back in the Palladium making the vocals in particular sound distant. There is also some noise but the atmosphere is captured quite well.

The Clash in New York

A highly significant concert in the history of The Clash, particularly in terms of breaking the band in the USA. There was a buzz about the band in the US before the Pearl Harbour Tour but here at the Palladium were the key players in US rock journalism (not to mention the New York glitterati of De Niro, Andy Warhol, Springsteen ,Paul Simon). The band were fully aware this was the big one that could really break the band in the States, and they did not fail putting in a superb charged but professional performance.

The Clash Official facebook

The Clash toured the US for the first time, taking along Bo Diddley as support, one of the greatest pioneers of American rhythm & blues and a Clash hero.


A night of nights - Strummer

Strummer remembers it now, still as one of the greatest and most significant Clash concerts, “a night of nights”. Joe had said, “Rock’n’roll changed the way I look at society” The Clash were attempting to make the US do the same. They had come to the USA, not to bury rock’n’roll but to reclaim and re-energise it.

They won important converts to their cause at this concert. Journalists previously sympathetic were now bowled over: the now legendary Lester Bangs declared it one of the best concerts he’d seen in his life; “They launched into I’m So Bored With The USA with a surge of energy that surpassed any band we’d ever seen and just built and built, leaving us all drained and ecstatic”. Tom Carson in Rolling Stone wrote, “The Clash unleashed one of the most staggering performances I’ve ever seen. It was music of heroic grandeur, epic sweep and visceral force; each song was faster and meaner than on record and had twice the impact”

Village Voice


The equally influential Robert Christgau, wrote the Palladium crowd was on its feet before a single note was played and 2 hours later were still on their feet. Christgau eloquently described the visual and aural impact of The Clash; Mick and Paul leapt around as if no stage could hold them, Topper’s drums cracked through the music with the authority of machine gun fire, Mick’s ethereal, incantatory back up vocals filled the gaps in Joe’s harsh leads. “Strummer his eyes alight and staring as he snarled and screamed his message, looked like a man who’d just seen everything he loved destroyed, unsure whether to explode with rage or run for his life. His extraordinarily expressive face conveyed as much wit as passion.”


New York Palladium

The 3,800 seater Palladium on New York’s 14th Street was an old converted theatre, as ornate as London’s Lyceum but sleazier with drug pushers plying their trade outside. Thanks to Sukwoon Noh (it was his first Clash gig) for providing the following recollections of the Palladium;

You can see the ol Palladium inscription in the left photo above the montage on the facia.

"In the 70's and 80's the Palladium was THE place in NYC. That's where all the great new wave bands played. I saw the Jam, Joe Jackson, Ramones, David Johansen and few others. It was essentially a movie theater converted into a concert hall.

Main floor and the second level called the loge. It has since been demolished and in place stands a high-rise. The street level is now an electronic store called 'PC Richards' and the upper levels belong to NY University's dormitory. Only 1 block away from the Irving Plaza [where Joe played with Meskies in 99 & 2001]"

“OK Strummer, lets go!”

Its an enjoyable listen and conveys the brilliance of the performance, Joe’s vocals snarl and rage and Mick is excellent playing a brand new guitar, having broken the neck off his Les Paul in Washington.

The band were very nervous and Mick starts the gig with a determined “OK Strummer, lets go!” before blasting into Bored With The USA. Bass distortion in the right channel affects the first half of this song and then cuts out for the rest of the recording.

Mick introduces Hate & War topically with “this is an old one from the last record, and seeing China have just invaded Vietnam, we’re back in it”. In a snap shot which reveals The Clash’s determination to break the States Joe says “ this guy in the white t-shirt says it sounds alright, how about you people in the $27 seats?” but before Joe can say anything scathing about the celebrities and the rich in the Circle, Mick jumps in with a calming “I saw Bruce Springsteen up there and he wasn’t half bad”. Joe pauses, says OK and the band play White Man. No Lennon “rattle your jewellery” lines ala the Royal Command Performance here!

Indeed there are no “political” comments from Joe to stir the waters, which did not stop Andy Warhol stating, “The Clash are cute but they all have bad teeth and scream about getting rid of the rich!”

Mick intro’s Stay Free with “its time for the wimpoid ballad, I don’t know if you’ll fuckin’ understand this, oh yeah you will, its about a geezer in nick and their mates waiting for them” but then goes on to deny it by delivering a particularly impassioned performance. Police & Thieves and Capital Radio are the highlights of a set full of highlights. The dub echo intro of the former swirls around the Palladium dramatically and Joe bemoans the state of New York radio on the latter.

The crowd roar the band back for 2 encores and still cheer for more.

Did you go? What do you remember?

Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
Please email blackmarketclash

The Clash were the sound and fury of a new generation

"3000 of us waited for the Clash to take the stage. It was their first performance in America and many of us wondered whether these punkers from England could deliver the goods, many had their doubts. The lights came down. Beams of light started searching the stage, like prison spotlights. Suddenly a huge roar, a machinegun-like volley of raw guitars and drums. The Clash tear into 'I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.' The power and glory of rock and roll had never sounded so urgent and furious. Joe Strummer leaned into the mike like he was about to rip it from the stand with his teeth. His voice, a cry, a scream, a call to arms, a liberating burst of human anger and rock and roll voodoo. The Clash were the sound and fury of a new generation of rockers ready to riot and ride out on strings of steel and thundering drums. This was more than music, this was the human heart, the gut, the soul, electrified, amplified, bonafide!

I was there

Read your story about The Clash / Bo Diddley / The Cramps at the Palladium in 1979. I was there and it was a great show.

The crowd booed Bo Diddley and Joe Strummer came out mad and gave them a talking to, it was one of the best things I ever saw. I always liked their music, but when he did that, I really had respect for Joe Strummer. Thanks. Joe Burdette

RobW - @MarxandSparx

I attended the first night of that tour. Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC January 31, 1979

The Clash in America by Sylvie Simmons

17th, February 1979 an article on The Clash in America by Sylvie Simmons and Pics by Bob Gruen. "For the first time in the US I could see the relevance of pogoing". "The Clash were electrifying. Like a bloody great headline, commanding attention and belief." 

@TheClash  @sylviesimmons  @bobgruen01


Clash City Talkers:New York Meets Jones And Co.

Ira Robbins, Trouser Press, June 1979

There's nothing quite as frustrating to watch as the hypocrisy of press, radio, and record companies rushing to get behind some new band that has successfully survived their initial indifference and become some sort of hot property.

New York Times: Rock: The Clash Bows In

The New York Times
February 19, 1979, 
Section C, Page 14

John Rockwell

THIS has been a particularly scarce winter for major rock tours, and hence, Saturday evening's New York debut by the Clash at the Palladium Constituted the first major rock event of 1979.

This reporter was able to see only about the last three‐fifths of the Clash's set. On the basis of that, however, was the best Clash performance he's seen, far superior for spirit and intensity to the two he'd encountered in England last June.

The Clash is a rock quartet from London that consists of Joe Strummer, lead singer and rhythm guitar; Mick Jones, lead guitar; Paul Simenon, bass, and Nicky Headon, drums. In Britain, the band is a critical and a popular favorite; here, its admirers, so far, consist largely of rock critics, and the more extravagant among them believe firmly that it is the finest rock band in the world today.

Others of us aren't so sure, however much they may enjoy the band and its music. The Clash is a punk‐rock band rather than a new‐wave band, insofar as one makes that distinction. With the demise of the Sex Pistols, the Clash is without question the leading punk band in Britain, and the decision to follow the final encore Saturday with a recording of Sid Vicious's version of “My Way” was a fitting symbol touch.

The Clash appeals on several counts. The songs are full of overt revolutionary appeals, yet partake more universally of the aggression and passion of the age. The instrumentals are solid and exciting, distinguished by Mr. Jones's guitar work — skilled but never vacantly virtuosic, the solid rhythm section and Mr. Strummer's feverish strumming. The songs are nearly all uptempo, and for all their individual virtues they fuse together into a whole that transcends the parts.

But there are problems, too. Nobody in the band has much of a voice (actually Mr. Jones has more of one than Mr. Strummer, who takes most of the lead vocals). In terms of the group's unity, perhaps it's better that there's no one with the charisma of Johnny Rotten, and there's a certain communal charm to seeing two obvious vocal amateurs singing their hearts out. But better still would be a blend of passion and skill. And although the overall rawness is exciting, it will almost certainly preclude any sort of mass success in this country. Which is all right on one level, but represents some sort of defeat another.

Ultimately, though, the concert was a nice success, at least as an event in itself. The sheer sight of Mr. Strummer, Mr. Jones and the others working themselves into a frenzy, the jumping excitement in the hall, and the simple pleasure the band seemed to take in the crowd's response, all made for as good a symbol of rock's recent revitalization as one might hope to find.

The Big Clash In


Sounds review New heights of punk paranoia

10 March

The Clash Conquer America

Rolling Stone - April 25th 1979
By Tom Carson

In the two years since the release if their first album, the Clash have earned a following unlike almost any other in rock & roll. To their fans, they're not just the greatest rock & roll band in the world - they're the last hope, the only group that still seems to promise that rock & roll can make a difference. This is an almost impossible burden to put on anyone, but the crowd at the Palladium expected nothing less; they were on their feet before a single note was played.

The New York Rocker New York Palladium

March 1979
Page 6

Don't expect the back-Clash to start here. Since the Clash's smashingly successful Palladium debut, I have had some second thoughts, but none of these contradict my first impression that this is the finest young rock 'n' roll unit in the world. Their performance still resonates, dominating my hopes and fears about the future of not only rock 'n' roll, but the world.

Des Moines Tribune - Rock Talk

Fri Mar 2 1979

Billboard: Surprisingly Few Clashes Noted as the Clash Tours the Nation

3 March 1979

Clash off to New York


NME A Garbled Account of the Clash US Tour by Joe Strummer

Link - Text version here

Punk Fanzine: Clash


Meanwhile, a report from one other correspondent ...


A Riot of Our Own pg146


The Clash Official | Facebook

Topper Headon and Joe Strummer of The Clash, Al Fields, David Johansen and Debbie Harry of Blondie backstage at the Palladium NYC. February 1979 by Bob Gruen

Ebet Roberts - New-York.

4 excellent photos Ebet Roberts -

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 17: Joe Strummer of The Clash performs at The Palladium on February 17, 1979 in New York City, New York. (Photo by David Gahr / Getty Images)

Archive PDF

© Allan Tannenbaum

© Allan Tannenbaum

© Allan Tannenbaum

© Allan Tannenbaum

© Allan Tannenbaum

A collection of wonderful photos by © Roberta Bayley



I'm So Bored with the USA
Guns On the Roof
Jail Guitar Doors
Tommy Gun
City Of the Dead
Hate and War
Clash City Rockers
White Man In Ham Palais
Safe European Home
English Civil War
Stay Free
Police and Thieves
Capital Radio
Janie Jones
Julie's / Drug Squad
Complete Control
London's Burning
White Riot
What's My Name
Career Opportunities

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'

Clash's first US Tour Pearl Harbour Tour


A collection of
- Tour previews
- Tour posters
- Interviews
- Features
- Articles
- Tour information

Numerous articles, interviews, reviews, posters, tour dates from the Clash's first US Tour
covering the period of the Pearl Harbour Tour.


Video and audio footage from the tour including radio interviews.


A Riot of Our Own
Johnny Green


by Johnny Green (Author), Garry Barker (Author), Ray Lowry (Illustrator)

Pearl Harbour Tour pg129
Vancover pg131
Seattle pg133
San Francisco pg134
Berkley pg138
Filmore pg139
Santa Monica pg140
Cleveland pg145
New York pg147

Johnny Green first met the Clash in 1977 and was their road manager for three years. Ray Lowry accompanied the band as official "war artist" on the second American tour and designed the ' London Calling' album cover. Together, in words and pictures, Green and Lowry give the definitive, inside story on one of the most magnificent rock 'n' roll bands ever.

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

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