16 Tons Tour
Supported by Mikey Dread

last updated 18 April 2003
updated June 2021 added passes and date list
updated 9 February 2022 added photos





Audio 1

unknown gen - Sound 2 - 1hr 17mins - 24 tracks

Koka Kola





some generations off the master

This recording is better than some from this tour having an OK level of clarity, but is affected by being very bass heavy, (overcome by bass controls) and much more seriously bass distortion. It does improve from a noticeable swirling start, maybe the taper got caught the mayhem an excitement ealiy on.

It is some generations off the master, but not too many retaining some width and clarity of the original sound. Joe’s vocals are distant but OK and some if not all of his between song comments can be made out, but his improvs in songs cannot.

Mick’s vocals are worse. Bass is good (too good) but guitars are thin and blurred. Audience chat is intrusive at times but adds generally to the atmosphere of a very enthusiastic audience.





very enthusiastic audience

Twenty odd dates into an exhausting tour and The Clash are struggling at times to find inspiration and not fall into autopilot. This concert submits to this at times but there are plenty of highlights though, all in all a fine if not great Clash gig. The audience help; clearly very enthusiastic securing the now customary, on this tour, two encores. Again Mickey Gallagher is missing (returns at Manchester 3 days later).

The day after this gig The Clash are booked into Manchester’s Pluto Studios to record Bankrobber/Rockers Galore (the Hanley concert scheduled for 1st February cancelled to allow this) with Mikey Dread producing.





Leeds alumni online: Everybody hold on tight

Andy Kershaw

Link

By 1980 the hippy influence had disappeared, and bands that first played Leeds as anarchic punks now returned as established stars. The Clash, for instance, played the Refectory that year as part of their 16 Tons tour and impressed Liz Kershaw’s younger brother Andy, who was then an enthusiastic Ents steward, spending more time in the Union than on his politics degree.

“That was the greatest gig I ever saw in there. It was the last time they were all truly happy,” he says. “They’d just released London Calling, the album where they fully bloomed as a band, allowing all their enthusiasms - reggae, R&B and country - to come through. They had big proper rock n’ roll songs, and by that stage they could play as well.”

Several months after that gig, Andy became Ents Secretary and booked a stream of sell-out bands, from 1980 to 82. Your writer arrived at the University in 1980, and watched Siouxsie Sioux, all black spikey hair and smokey eyes, doing her freewheeling metallic dance.





Flyer

Above is an original flyer for the Leeds Fan-club which also lists
The Clash at Leeds Uni - Kindly shared by Robbie Wilson






Tickets

Link

Link and Link





Advert

I was the Ents Publicity Secretary at the time, and had a back stage pass. Usually these would be printed with the bands name, but seems mine was just written on in pen for this gig!





Leeds University





“I just got back and wished I’d never left”

The recording starts with a roar from the audience as the 16 Tons intro fades and the first chords of Clash City Rockers ring out. The usual set follows, strong if not inspired performances; Joe is beginning to repeat his song intros unlike earlier tours, again it’s “I just got back and wished I’d never left”.

His comments before Jimmy Jazz are unclear but are presumably directed at spitters “..I don’t actually care much, when it hits you feel no pain [reference to Bob Marley’s Trenchtown Rock, another Strummer hero]”. The song is minus Mick’s heavy echo effect played earlier in the tour when Mickey was also absent, and the audience clap along. “Calling out all round the world” is Joe’s intro to a fine London Calling. Protex Blue continues in the set and Joe adlibs over the end of White Man but sadly his words are unclear.

Bankrobber is moving in the direction of the soon to be recorded version but still is more a ska/r’n’b number than a reggae one. Much quicker and much more lively upbeat. Mikey Dread’s influence on the final recorded version cannot be overestimated.

Joe has a long spiel following Bankrobber which is distorted and unclear.

Clampdown is a highlight with Joe screaming improv words over the ending. An edit leads straight into the first bars of Wrong ‘Em Boyo.

Topper then beats out a steady pattern and then Mick sings high-pitched “oooh’s” and Joe chants over the top in an unusual opening before the usual intro to Police and Thieves kicks in.

Another highlight is an amazing (the always standout) Capital Radio; Mick plays a staccato intro ending in feedback hanging in the air before he screams out “1,2,3,4” and the band crash in. Joe rants away incoherently as Topper’s drum rolls build and build before the song careers to its conclusion with Joe doing a 'phah, phah, phah' Jam impersonation ad lib.

It’s straight in then to Janie Jones, punctuated mid song with Joe doing a 'Ten Pole Tudor/Lydon' high pitch vocal. The band are on a high and race straight into Complete Control leaving the audience shouting for more. The band leaves the stage with Joe saying "thanks, its better than the last Tour".

An edit begins the first encore with Kosmo or Scratchy introducing “..Michael Campbell, Mikey Dread” then the audience roars as Mikey says “This one’s called Armagideon Time, Irie, Irie!” This is the chief highlight of the set with Mikey toasting in the gaps left by Joe, with both adding there own trademark whoops and cries. Mikey adds a different dimension to the song, which again segues into English Civil War more smoothly than at Bradford 2 nights previously.

An impassioned Garageland ends the encore and leaves the audience chanting (after an edit) “White Riot, A Riot of Me Own”. They don’t get that and after the Sheffield incident earlier when Joe punched (or beat up Mick depending on the account) for refusing to play White Riot it would become a rarity in future concerts. They do get Tommy Gun and a blistering London’s Burning to send the audience home more than satisfied.





I was there

John Barnett - @21pavone
The Clash, best concert ever Leeds Uni. Seen them a couple of days before at St Georges Hall too!

Paul Johno Johnston
Yup was there. Great night.

Darren Blundell
Was there ever a better tour by any band!?

Steven Walker
Was at the dragonara hotel with them after the show

Andy Veryinkydude Taylor Boocock

I was there !. Incredible performance!!

Chris Gray

me too! With you!





Leeds alumni online: Everybody hold on tight

Link

PDF version

This story originally appeared in Leeds magazine. Music writer and former punk, Lucy O'Brien recalls Leeds in the punk and post-punk years.





Here's a little bit of union history: Andy Kershaw on booking The Clash to play at Leeds Uni

LeedsUniversityUnion - @LeedsUniUnion

http://bit.ly/13c2qMC or archive PDF





Photos

Gary Penketh went to this show & took some great private photo's Facebook

Robin Tate - 31 January
Tonight saw The Clash playing Leeds Uni on this the 31st of January 1980 on their 16 Tons Tour. Below we have some great private photo's from the gig, taken & kindly shared by Gary Penketh





Did you go? What do you remember?

Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
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Setlist

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24

Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadillac
Safe European Home
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
The Guns Of Brixton
Train In Vain
Protex Blue
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
White Man In Ham Palais
Bankrobber
Clampdown
Wrong 'Em Boyo
Stay Free
Police and Thieves
Capital Radio
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
English Civil War
Garageland
Tommy Gun
London's Burning


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


ARTICLES, POSTERS, CLIPPINGS ...

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

Video and audio footage from the tour including radio interviews.



BOOKS

Return of the Last Gang in Town,
Marcus Gray

Link


Passion is a Fashion,
Pat Gilbert

Link


Redemption Song,
Chris Salewicz

Link


Joe Strummer and the legend of The Clash
Kris Needs

Link


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

Link


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