16 Tons Tour
Supported by Mikey Dread, Joe Ely by Blast Furnaces Revenge

Updated 22 January 2022 added letter of compaint

Audio 1

less than average sudience, so not good - upgrade welcome -
Unknown gen - 2 sound - 89mins - 26 tracks
White Riot is mssing, Londons Burning cut and distortion

I Fought the Law

Stay Free

From Here to Eternity

8mins - 5 sound -
Capital Radio & Armagideon Time

From Here To Eternity II’

cdr - 7 mins - 5 sound -
Jimmy Jazz & English Civil War

In total there are 6 tracks with pro audio

Essential Clash DVD

8 mins - 5 sound -
Clampdown & Train In Vain


Source for various officlal single track video and audio sources - 2 videos plus 4 audio tracks. A good listing of the contents of the The Clash's Sound System box set can be found here.

Pro source

All the pro-quality songs so far officially released are in superb sound including the two songs on Essential Clash DVD (a major upgrade on the old Singles Video Collection). Almost as perfect are the two songs that have ‘escaped’ onto the recently circulated ‘From Here To Eternity II’ cdr.

Sony tape supposedly exists

From If Music Could Talk messageboard: "Chap says he has DAT tapes of the full gig that he mixed for Mick back in 2000. Pics..."

Audience Source

The audience tape is almost complete (cutting off halfway through London’s Burning) but is of poor quality. It includes the only circulating UK performance of Joe Ely on Fingernails. It has been eq'd to give more top end and bass. Its not bad at low dB but distortion quickly affects the recording otherwise. The tape also suffers some slight wear, maybe through a poor copy and from Protex Blue through to Wrong ‘Em Boyo is very poor.

Although a distant sound there is some clarity, with organ and drums quite good. Bass is there but unfocussed, and guitars OK but distant. Vocals come through well enough to hear Joe’s between song comments but generally not his adlibs in songs.

It’s good enough to appreciate the quality of the performance and the audience singing and comments of the two young tapers adds to its charm. Until and if Sony ever release the whole show it’s a poor but worthwhile alternative.

Two sources

On this famous night in Clash history, two radically different sets of sound recorders were present in the Lewisham Odeon to preserve an outstanding performance.

One set were a professional mobile sound team employed by CBS, and augmented by Don Letts filming at least part of the show for a Train In Vain promo.

The second were two young lads audacious enough to smuggle in their primitive tape recorder. Although the difference in the end results in terms of sound quality are vast it’s clear which set were enjoying it the most!

The writer....

This writer was also present that night, dragging along 3 mates who were ‘unconverted’ to The Clash at the time (by the end 2 out of 3 duly saw the light!). Our excitement intensified as we made our way up Lewisham High Street to see the banner outside the Odeon inscribed with the magic words; ‘Straight Music presents The Clash’.

The Odeon seemed huge in side and was all seated. Although Joe ensured we could all get nearer the stage after a few songs, the seating and the venue in general did not make for a great, sweaty atmosphere. Certainly later shows at the seat less Lyceum and Brixton for example are burned much more on my memory.

Seat-less venues

We do know The Clash were having difficulty on this tour booking seat less venues in London but why the Lewisham Odeon rather than more nights at the Lyceum Ballroom (which they’d played only 2 days earlier) is a mystery. Presumably the Lyceum was not available for later nights.

The ‘official’ tour programme Armagideon Times 1 & 2 were on sale inside the Odeon, containing a band written history, cartoons and comments on the London Calling songs and Pennie Smith photos.

Late start

I would have to agree also to some extent with the person who wrote to the Melody Maker (link) to complain about The Clash not hitting the stage until 10-30 with the result that by the end of the encores British Rail’s last trains were long gone!

It certainly was a long wait for the band too; The Clash’s laudable desire to give good value for money with 3 support acts certainly tested our patience! A enjoyable rockabilly band, Whirlwind as I remember kicked off, followed by 2 sets from Mikey Dread in between Joe Ely’s. I don’t remember any violent disapproval to Mikey as the letter writer states.

I do remember clearly though turning around in the crush at the front during Complete Control and being astonished that many people at the back and in the Circle were mildly swaying to the music and not going ape shit like me. Similar totally baffled thoughts like that always occurred at Clash gigs, how could anyone in the hall (let alone the rest of the world!) not respond like me to the sound and energy of The Clash live!

Record Mirror

To prove the point Chris Westwood in Record Mirror (link) filed a typical of the music press at the time review of the gig that damned the band with faint praise. He starts of with saying that London Calling “doesn’t really sound that spectacular” I wonder if he would still give that opinion today!

He does come up with an amusing if not baffling description of Joe as an “anarchistic Len Fairclough” What connection Joe had with the Coronation Street soap character is anyone’s guess, but no doubt the comparison would have amused him at the time! Even Westwood had to acknowledge the “near-awesome” performance of Capital Radio.

Record Mirror Ely joins the Clash

80 02 02



The Lewisham Odeon in South London

The Lewisham Odeon in South London has since been demolished. The Bankrobber video promo has clips from the gig plus Baker and Johnny running up Lewisham High Street, outside the Odeon and inside at the ticket office.

The Clash hit peak form at Lewisham Odeon

Whether a result of a day’s rest from their draining touring schedule or the presence of a recording mobile and film crew or just one of those nights when it all falls into place, the result is clear from the available recordings, The Clash hit peak form at Lewisham Odeon. The performances of the 6 songs available from the professional mobile recording are all amongst the best ever performances of those songs.

The band plays the usual set but the performances are nearly all inspired. Before Safe European Home Joe says “OK I understand you want to move down the front a little bit [cheers] No need to lose our heads alright, no need for any aggro or nothing, where’s Ray [Jordan, Clash security] [shouts of get on with it] people are saying [I’m a] fuck’in old woman but I’ve seen people with their heads caved in, lets be careful, wanna do it with a lack of blood shed, understand!”

The crowd clap along to an excellent Jimmy Jazz (on FHTEII). The band now joined by “Mr Gluggo Gallagher”. Joe mid song launches into a great improv relating his recent drug bust on Feb 10th at Queens Hotel, Southsea. The fact Joe was reading the bible tickled the tabloid The Sun to write their wild punk rocker found reading the holy bible story.

Joe goes “Yeah yeah that hi hats so cool! OK I don’t wanna go on all night and bore you about tales of these things, but there’s certain things that must be told, so let’s have a bit of peace and quiet.. I was sitting in my hotel room reading the Holy Bible, using a bit of quarter pound of Ishen, when there’s a knock on the door, so I said yes, come in, come in. He said hey what’s that sniff in the air …clear out.”

FHTE II continues into the first 30 secs of London Calling then cuts off. The sound on the audience tape now worsens, at times very badly. Train In Vain needs no introduction and White Man that follows has an extended ending with adlibs and Mickey’s organ to the fore.

Capital Radio edits after Joe says, “I don’t wanna do this..” so we lose the rest of its introduction. Joe and Mick had both said they were bored with singing certain songs at this point, but the Capital Radio well known from FHTE hardly shows any sign of disinterest from the band. To these ears it’s the best cut on the album. The Clash at their finest.

Joe introduces Stay Free for a change and then it’s the highlight of the Essential Clash DVD, the superb performance of Clampdown. The quality of the sound now allows all Joe’s ad libs to be heard including “dragging round the dirty town, sniffing up the match sticks left by all the cool hip guys!”

It runs straight into Police & Thieves with Topper beating out a steady intro and Joe shouting improvs over the top with heavy echo, before the song kicks in. It another highlight. The energy levels build further as its straight into Janie Jones and a great Complete Control bringing the set to a climax. The tapers sing along and only Mickey’s organ sounds out of place; his organ complemented most Clash songs but not the short fast 77 ones.

Into the first encore “For this next selection like to bring out Mickey Dread to lend a hand,..Gluggo” as the organ intros the great performance included on FHTE. It segues into English Civil War included on FHTE II cdr. It’s the best sounding source for this arrangement of the song which builds from bass drum, to bass line, guitar fills then Joe’s scratchy rhythmn before the band kick in. A further highlight. A fine Garageland ends the encore on a further high living the audience shouting for more.

Second encore begins with Joe Ely singing his song Fingernails; Joe intro’s him “Like to do next selection with an amplifier from Texas!.. Mr Joe Ely” Fingernails is an enjoyable if unremarkable standard rock’n’roll song. Shouts continue for White Riot but London crowds will have to wait till 82 for that one! Instead Mikey returns to sing with Joe on Bankrobber and Rockers Galore. Joe then shouts “Topper Headon!” and Tommy Gun crashes in. It’s a fired up performance that leads into the final song, London’s Burning.

The recording ends abruptly mid song just like the 16 Tons UK Tour. Topper would get his thumb stabbed with scissors after a drugs altercation soon after the gig resulting in the rest of the tour being rescheduled for June and throwing the US tour into jeopardy.

the audience kept calling for another encore

After London's Burning at around midnight(!) the audience kept calling for another encore. The Clash eventually came back on, Strummer said "There's only one more song we can do............" and the band launched into White Riot.

By this time my last train had long gone, leaving no other choice than a very crowded night bus to Charing Cross, and arrival back home about 5am

Record Mirror Mailbag: Star Letter

Link or Link

Record Mirror Lewisham Odeon

Chris Westwood

Record Mirror gig review


Saw them at Lewisham Odeon

John Gaston

Saw them on 16 tons tour at Lewisham Odeon, think late 79 with Mikey Dread and Joe Ely as support, saw 2 nights at Brixton fair deal in July 82, one was the night italy won the world cup. Just remember loads of Italian fans driving around with scarves and flags hanging out they're cars sounding they're horns when we came out after the gig.

Then went down to Brighton to see them at the Brighton centre with amazulu supporting and strangely a magician who got pelters, my mate got flung out for gobbing at him, my other mate that got flung out with him got back in.

Then 3 storming nights with the new line up at Brixton academy in March 84 and the 2 scargills Christmas party gigs in December 84, great memories and the 84 gigs had the best clash tour t shirts ever


copyright Gary Penketh last gig he took photographs at on this tour.
Thanks for sharing Gary

Stills from the DVD

Shot from a fan


Did you go? What do you remember?

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Please email blackmarketclash



Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European Home
Jimmy Jazz
Protex Blue
London Calling
Guns of Brixton
Train In Vain
White Man in Hamm Palais
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Spanish Bombs
Wrong `Em Boyo
Capital Radio
Police & Thieves
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagdeon Time
English Civil War
Tommy Gun
Londons Burning (cut)
*White Riot missing

bold indicates on video

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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