16 Tons Tour
Supported by Mikey Dread & Strate Jacket

last updated 27 May 03
updated 13 April 2011 - added punters comments

Audio 1

Sound 2 - 1hr 28min - low gen - tracks 25

Koka Kola

Sound Quality

A good quality audience recording was made of this gig. The best copy from it (2 are in circulation) is complete but several generations down from the master. As a result there is significant hiss, and for large parts the right channel quality is degraded.

It is a little flat and distant but the clarity and detail in the sound make up for the other shortcomings. Mick’s guitar is particularly clear (so a good tape for checking out his guitar style at this time) as are the keyboards, vocals a touch distant, drums OK and bass good (but it over amplifies the recorder and blurs at times as a consequence).

Turn up the volume, ignore the tape imperfections and it’s a very enjoyable listen.

the best of the mediocre batch of recordings

Southampton provides the best of the mediocre batch of recordings from this leg of the 16 Tons UK Tour. The few songs from the Lewisham official recording on FHTE and Essential DVD do showcase the excellence of The Clash at this time. This recording too captures The Clash having developed their tour muscles producing a tight, professional but exciting performance. The strains of the long tour both physically and on inter group relationships are not evident here, with the band in obvious good humour.

There has been some doubt as to the venue for this concert and also whether there was a matinee as well as an evening performance. The Jam played the grander all seated Gaumont Theatre that year, but commendably again The Clash chose to return to play at the seat-less Top Rank.

Topper interviewed for Musician Magazine (Feb 80) stated they had succeeded in only having to book 2 seated venues on the tour. They had wanted to play the Hammersmith Palais he said but the management feared punk rockers would smash all the mirrors there! Punk paranoia was obviously soon overcome, and the promise of a profitable box office, as The Clash would play the Palais in June.

Southampton evening and afternooon tapes: a lot of confusion exists over these tapes and dates.

Joe says "good evening" on the afternoon tape and the recording is actually the same as the evening one, but a poorer copy. A matinee in Southampton would have been very unlikely indeed.

The Southampton Top Rank, usually refered to as 'afternoon tape' is in fact the evening. The Southampton tape labeled Gaumont or Evening is Bristol 10th June 80.




Southamton Top Rank

“OK this next one is our latest disc”

Mick and Joe are in evidently good humour tonight. Joe gives a cheery “Hello to you” before a fine Clash City Rockers. Mick adds his current guitar licks to the song and both he and Joe are clearly up for it despite the long tour. A similarly tight Brand New Cadillac follows and before Safe European Home Joe says “Good evening to you all, gonna carry on like we are”

Jimmy Jazz is strong with Joe adding his now customary ad-libs to the song (sadly unclear). Mickey as usual joins at this point but doesn’t get a name check from Joe “OK a brief round of applause for the organ player, this next number is gonna tax your musical..[tastes]”

“OK this next one is our latest disc” London Calling blasts in after controlled feedback echoes around the Top Rank. Paul and Guns of Brixton gets a big cheer, now getting an extended treatment, a highlight.

Many in the audience shout for White Riot, which used to please The Clash but now annoys. In 1980 they would grow increasingly disgusted at sections of the audience who would not accept their musical progression from the 77 sound (culminating in Hamburg with Joe’s arrest and the near riot).

Joe illustrates this with his barbed wit before the increasingly rare Julie’s Been Working For The Drug Squad; “Don’t you ever get it wrong and shout Borstal Breakout by mistake! Sorry a bit of wit there” Mick laughs “Just watch it will you [to Joe], just calm down, he almost spoke to the audience!” Joe “Hit the spunkin’ drums!”

Mick shouts “Story of our lives!” at the start of Julie. Indeed Joe had got his famous Sun headline following the Police raid on his Crawley hotel room 3 days earlier where they found him reading the Bible (and with his quarter pound of Ishen!).

An excellent White Man with an extended ending next; “Take it back to the Palais and I’ll tell you a tale” says Joe before Mick adds “A story that everyone can learn something from” Koka Kola, the shortest Clash song segues as usual into I Fought The Law. Even spitting doesn’t alter their good humour tonight, as Mick laughs “Oh! One spitter” and Joe adds “The Lone Gobber! Lets drop those Spanish Bombs boys”

An edit before Capital Radio loses Joe’s spoken intro sadly but the mid song improv is further evidence of Mick-Joe harmony as they both improvise lines. A second intro loses part of Mick’s spoken intro to Stay Free “..everybody realised it wasn’t him because he hadn’t had a mohican. This is for the mighty Donald Campari” Surely not the Donald who took the rap for one of Topper’s actions earlier in the tour who turned out to be a racist, spouting NF bull shit at the mike?

The hiss is worse now losing much of the right channel sound quality. Next highlight is Police & Thieves when Joe amuses himself at the lighting man Warren’s expense; Topper beats out the intro “Darkness, darkness, Warren, Oh wake up! Warren you naughty boy! Yes you’re wearing a woolly jumper.. off the rails on the Isle of Wight!” The song doesn’t get the extended treatment of previous tours but does still allow Joe to launch into an amusing mid song dig at consumerism (and Warren again?!) “Better stroll down to C&A is all I can say, better have those trendy clothes people wear, better have those slacks people wear, a Ford Granada in the car park..”

The band then teases out the start of Janie Jones; Topper’s beat, then lead guitar burst, gap and feedback, some bass notes, then finally the song kicks in. An energised Complete Control follows with no sign of going through the motions and Mick and Joe sharing the vocals.

First encore begins and it’s the first time audience chat near the taper can briefly be heard. Mikey introduces Armagideon Time, Joe “Gluggo on your own,…Gluggo!” as Mickey’s organ intro opens the song. Mikey toasts between Joe’s vocals and the song gets an extended treatment before segueing into English Civil War as usual. Garageland follows with the right channel returning improving mid song; Mick says “And this song is still the truth”

Second encore and Mikey returns to do the backing vocals on Bankrobber and then lead vocals on Rockers Galore. Mick says “that’s our new single right” (Wrong says Maurice Oberstein, CBS). Tommy Gun builds the energy before a fired up Joe brings the gig to an end with a great London’s Burning.

Did you go? What do you remember?

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

one of the best days of my life

Southampton top rank 13 feb 1980 was one of the best days of my life. I can't believe this was all corresponded. My friends band Strate Jacket supported them that night.

Gorden O'Brian (guitarist) told me how some one de tuned his guitar just before they were due on.Mick on seeing this said have mine Great days eh. Perry  (see comment below)

I was a sort of roadie for the band, it was my fault

I was reading your page about the clash gig in Southampton at the top rank (1980) and was particularly drawn to the Strate Jacket comment by Perry about someone de-tuning Gordon O'Brien's guitar.

I believe the truth lies with me as I was a sort of roadie for the band and it was my job to replace the strings that Gordon would regularly break.

My recollection is that during the performance he broke a string and as I whisked the guitar off to the dressing room fell off the back of the stage and dropped it!

After changing the broken string backstage I could not find a quiet enough place to re-tune the bloody thing, so gave it back to Gordon un-tuned. He was hopeless at tuning hence the resulting loan of a guitar by Mick Jones.

Yours Michael Jennings < >



Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European home
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Guns of Brixton
Protex Blue
Julies been working...
White Man in Ham Palais
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Spanish Bombs
Capital Radio
Wrong `Em Boyo
Police and Thieves
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
English Civil War
Bankrobber/Rockers Galore
Tommy Gun
Londons 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


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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