16 Tons Tour
Supported by local bands booked by the local promoter, The New Matics and Whirlwind

updated 7 April 2003
updated 10 July 2008 - added backstage pass
Updated 22 January 2022 with support acts

Audio 1

Sound 1.5 - 1st generation - 1hr 19mins - 23 tracks

Jimmy Jazz

Sound Quality

9th date of a lengthy tour and The Clash return to the famous De Montfort Hall. This new unknown recording came into circulation in 2002 direct from the taper. Unfortunately the taper only had primitive quality recording equipment which was made worse by trying to record amongst a packed and lively audience.

This new 1st generation recording is sadly a poor one. It has some clarity early on but then the microphone is muffled by clothing and being pressed up against other bodies. There is very little range but some clarity particularly on the first 5 songs. Vocals are distant but not awful, guitars can be heard but the bass is barely present.

Pass & Tickets

De Montfort Hall Leicester

The Clash played the famous and rather grand De Montfort Hall several times. It was built in 1913 but still in use today. Although normally seated for gigs it would be standing only allowing a capacity of 2,200.

This songs for Mutt & Jeff!

The recording starts with the full 16 Tons intro followed by the normal set plus some songs getting a rare airing.

Joe addresses the lively audience before Safe European Home. He tries to talk to one person but can’t understand him “What language do you speak CHINESE! This songs for Mutt & Jeff!, entitled 3 days in Jamaica”.

“Would you be so kind as to welcome Mr Mickey Gluggo Gallagher” . Mickey’s playing adds to Jimmy Jazz and the song gives the band a chance to stretch out making this the highlight of the recording.
“That’s enough of the drag,” says Joe and Mick shouts out “1-2-3-4” and they crash into a great London Calling.

Mick’s playing is now largely free of the dreaded Take the 5th guitar effects pedals, only using them sparingly on this tour. His playing is still highly powerful but he adds to great effect more fills and variety of playing. The excellence of the band’s playing and the quality of the sound equipment used makes it doubly sad that the recordings from the tour are mainly so poor.

The sound now dips further making the rest of the recording barely enjoyable.

“We’ll try - On the route of the 19 Bus” - Rudie Can’t Fail is one of the rarer performances this night. Guns of Brixton goes straight into Train In Vain.

Much of the between song chat from Joe is unintelligible but Joe does have a dig at Mick “Come on Valentino, play the guitar!” Bankrobber has the same arrangement as at the Kampuchea Benefit.

Clampdown is now complete with the great ending, Topper driving the song to a fitting climax but Joe is not yet ad-libbing lyrics over the ending.

Police & Thieves gets a French intro for some reason from Joe and he launches into a rant mid song but the sound is too poor to understand what he’s saying.

Despite the sound the strength of the performance comes through particularly as the pace picks up through Janie Jones and Complete Control to the end of the set.

The first encore begins as usual with Armagideon Time with Joe adding to the performance with his now trademark full range of vocal gymnastic whoops and cries. On this tour Armagideon Time segues into English Civil War before “We’re gonna go back to the beginning now” and Garageland.

The audience demand a second encore and are rewarded with London’s Burning and the now increasingly rare White Riot. A very fine performance but poor recording.

A legendary concert in all ways

Nigel : A legendary concert in all ways - I had just started work in April and spent my first weeks wages on the Clash Album, I am surprised to see that they played the Poly - I have no recollection of missing it, as far as my memory stands, as soon as the tour was announced I checked the dates and got the tickets. (But I also remember it as costing less than £1.50 so my memory is obviously less than perfect.)  

It was my first punk concert and my first impression was that at eighteen and 6' 3", I was 4 years older and two foot taller than the rest of the hall.  

Subway Sect - I have little recollection other than competent but not inspiring.  

Slits - technically the worst band I have ever seen (and I've seen thousands) - rarely managed to get all 4 to start the same song at the same time, usually ended with drums or bass continuing after the rest finished and they seemed unable to learn that running around each other in circles meant that the leads got tangled up, cutting out guitars & ripping microphones from hand at inappropriate moments.  However there were unique with a certain magic about them and I was certainly not put off enough to stop me buying Cut or seeing them live a few years later.  

Buzzcocks - superb - I remember them as a lot more aggressive and harder than the poppy band I saw in later years. Spent the next couple of months touring the local record shops of Leicester trying to find someone who could get me a copy of Spiral Scratch.   

Clash - amazing - everything I hoped and expected (You've heard the recording and so can image).      

De Montfort Hall was one of the best venues in Britain with amazing acoustics, easy to enter or leave and had a decent bar the whole length of one side. Granby Halls was a temporary tin hut of a cattle shed, decades passed its sell by date and acoustically hell on earth (but held 4,500) - Bob Geldolf once spent a whole concert apologising for playing there and the Boomtown Rats did two nights at De Montfort the next tour "rather than ever play Granby Halls ever again".  

Coventry Specials - did not spot them then as what became one of my favourite bands of the next decade.  

Suicide - loved by the older, art school types at the back (I went out and bought the album) but hated by the skinheads and younger fans at the front. Half the front were lighting boxes of matches and throwing them onto the stage to set fire to the band, fortunately(?) the other half were pissing into the plastic glasses and throwing them at the band thereby putting out the fires. Joe Strummer had to come on to ask the crowd to let them play as he wanted to see them.  

Clash - the improved PA was lost on the appalling sound quality of the hall, at the front it was all fuzz and at the back as tinny as hell.    

I'm sorry but no recollection of support or anything about the gig other than I saw a great performance of London Calling.  

I note on your website that there is a recording and would love to hear it, I have nothing to trade but would be happy to cover any costs of copying and postage.    

I was also at Watchfield Aug 1975 and saw the 101ers - I saw three or four days of bands and they were one of only a couple of bands who stood out (and the only one of those who I had not heard of). Good enough for me to have caught most of two sets.  However I was convinced that they were called the Fabulous 101ers - I checked out a Watchfield site and although not listed someone has commented "on the first Friday night a riproaring set from the fabulas 101ers" suggests I was not the only one who might have thought this.    (http://www.ukrockfestivals.com/watchfieldfestival-menu.html)     Hope these are of use to you   Regards   Nigel Craddock  < >

I was lucky enough to get this and saw the Clash soundcheck

Philip wrote…

My friends band the New Matics did support along with Whirlwind. I was lucky enough to get this and saw the Clash soundcheck and got to met them all as well. Great day. Link

S&T Fanzine issue #5 Sound & Techno

Link - or online

Reviews of Du Montford 28 May 77 and 16th January 1980 (this concert)

S&T fanzine, issue #5 (1980)

reviews of Du Montford 28 May 77 and 16th January 1980 (this concert)

The Clash – Official



Guitarist Mick Jones performing with English punk band The Clash, London, 16th January 1980. (Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images)

Strummer In Leicester

Singer and guitarist Joe Strummer (1952-2002) performing with English punk group The Clash at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, 16th January 1980. (Photo by Kevin Cummins/Getty Images)

Did you go? What do you remember?

Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
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Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European home
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Rudie Can't Fail
Guns of Brixton
Train In Vain
Wrong `Em Boyo
White Man in Ham Palais
Stay Free
Police and Thieves
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
English Civil War
Londons Burning
White Riot

There are several sights that provide setlists but most mirror www.blackmarketclash.co.uk. 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'

16 Tons UK Tour


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

A collection of articles, interviews, reviews, posters, tour dates January, February 1980 covering the period the 16 Tons tour of the UK.


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


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