Supported by Mikey Dread, Lee Dorsey & The B-Girls

updated 30 Oct 2003
updated 7 July 2008 - link to photos by Cathrine Vanaria
updated 14 July 2008 - added ticket - new photos
updated 7 Sept 2008 - added punters comments
updated 4 Aug 2014 - Added video Safe European Home

Audio 1

Sound 3 - time 1hr 30mins - unknown generation - tracks 25

Spanish Bombs

Audio 2

Sound 3.5 - time 1hr 26mins - unknown generation - tracks 25

Spanish Bombs

Audio 3

Sound 3.5 - time 1hr 22min - unknown generation - tracks 25
lots of mp3 compression but feels like there's a better sound underneath?

Spanish Bombs

sound quality

The sound quality of the best circulating recording does not match the quality of the performance, although it is by no means bad. It’s problems all emanate from it being several generations off the audience master, making it duller and less detailed and crisp.

Both Mick’s and unusually Joe’s guitars come through well and are high in the mix giving a very powerful and aggressive sound.

Bass is good as are drums and keyboards but there is a general lack of range of sound. Vocals fair worst, being OK but too distant to hear for example all of Joe’s adlibbed lyrics. It is though an enjoyable listen (crank up the volume!) aided by some stereo separation on the instrumentation.

An upgrade nearer the master would make this a very enjoyable bootleg indeed.


1 track - source unknown dubbed with soundboard audio (1982?)

Alan McPheely : I shot this March 9, 1980 on silent Super 8mm film. Recently, some thirty years later, I found the audio on the internet and matched it up.

Clash return to Boston

The Clash return to the Orpheum Theater where the previous September violence from the promoter Don Law’s ‘security’ had so upset fans that Joe reportedly said they would not play there again. Creem (June 80) gave Joe’s view; “Like in Boston, we’d just got out of the coach and there were all these people shouting “Ban Don Law” and handing out pamphlets. The guy turns out to be the promoter, and I’m thinking, here we go for the classic punch out gig, you know.

And we get in there, and they’re taking all the seats out, and that’s made their demonstration irrelevant. They were complaining about being harassed, and told to stay in their seats, but they’d actually taken out the seats, like everywhere should. They were complaining that this guy uses gorillas. But I went to those people - I went to the biggest guy I could see. And I said, “There’s no chairs here right?” And he said “No” And I said “Well, what are you going to do when there’s people standing there?”

And he says “I’m not going to do nothing to them”. “Well what if they start jumping around?” “Well we’ve got the chairs here to protect us so I don’t give a fuck” That kind of eased the tension a bit, I reckon. But we’re always walking into that, ‘cause its hard to be a group from somewhere else, and come steaming three thousand miles in and you have to go with the guy in town.”

Conflict Fanzine No.5 in their review of the gig wrote “The bands ethics were being questioned because Joe said they would never play for Don Law again after last September’s Orpheum gig. Well, anyone who cried “sell-out!”, should have known better, for when the show time rolled around, there wasn’t one Red Shirt in sight!”

With the first 5 rows being taken out, allowing at least part of the audience to dance, The Clash could feed off the energy and enthusiasm of the audience, as they needed to deliver a really great performance. Thus, this is a more exciting committed performance to the all seated Passaic one the night before. The Passaic performance is strong and inspired at times but the band lapsed into autopilot, with Joe having to push himself and the band, to ‘deliver the goods’. Tonight there’s no evidence of that with Joe in particular fired up, he’s ‘lost’ in the performance, as he is in all the best Clash gigs.

Jim Sullivan in Situation Butane Fanzine, Boston April 80, page 5, perfectly described the 1980 vintage Clash gig “A power paced, multi-faceted concert that would mix up the components - politics, aggression, swing, punk, reggae, best of Mott, blues, compassion - and churn out a volatile, entertaining package that grabbed both the intellect and the emotion, wrapping them up and binding them to the other, mutually reinforcing. The Clash have developed a sense of pacing, a feel for build up and let down (compacted perfectly in White Man, that lasted throughout the concert.… Once a punk band always a punk band. Not in terms of three guitars and three chords, but in terms of continual restlessness and pride that that the spirit of rock’n’roll matters very much.”

Conflict Fanzine No.5 again “The fact that they maybe the best isn’t what’s so surprising at this point, it’s just that now most people are finally finding out about it. They maybe the best, but they’re still getting better.”

Mikey Dread was again badly received but not Lee Dorsey and Police & Thieves is again preceded with Ray Charles “Hit the Road Jack”. The band must have thought it was a good night too adding as they did in these circumstances an extra song to the second encore, not White Riot tonight but London’s Burning.



Orpheum Theatre, Boston

The Orpheum Theatre was popular with The Clash (they would play there 3 times) enjoying its famed acoustics. It was opened in 1852, seating 2,800 and is still a popular music venue today.

Orpheum Theatre, Boston MA

The Orpheum Theatre at 1 Hamilton Place in Boston was opened in 1852 and is one of the oldest theaters in the United States and is still a popular music venue today. It has very good acoustics and seats 2,800.

Boston was a “Clash City” according to Joe and references this in the gig before songs, asking how many times they had played the venue before (this was the 3rd time) and stating “..Boston is one of the better places for us in America”. Although normally an all seated venue the band insisted for their shows at the Orpheum that the first 5 rows of seats be removed.

“Alright then hey Johnny little bit of gaffer”

The recording starts with part of “16 Tons” before Joe announces “Glad that you could make it” and then it’s into a powerful Clash City Rockers. Again on this tour with Brand New Cadillac, The Clash hit top gear, with Joe really into it adding adlibbed lyrics.

Joe addresses the audience “Good evening, hope you got a good eyeful and a good earful here, ..peanuts, popcorn!”. Safe European Home explodes in with Mick laying down heavy slabs of lead guitar as Joe adlibs over the top, no autopilot tonight!

Joe intros Jimmy Jazz and has fun at the clash of fashions in the audience “Do me a favour and welcome Mr Gluggo Gallagher on the organ, ..We’ll play 1977 if you take your head band off!” Jazz is always an opportunity for the band to improvise and Joe adlibs a plenty “Wait a minute are you sure you got the right man? There’s an awful lot like me, in this part of town” The music drops down to drum and bass and light fills from Mick, Joe’s adlibs are not clear but include intriguing references “to reading that holy book” and “1945”.

A powerful London Calling next with plenty of Joe’s trademark ‘wolf cries’. Next highlight is a return in the set for a frenetic Protex Blue.

Joe remarkably then lapses into what only can be described as his best Carry On Up The Khyber Indian accent “White Man in Hammersmith Palais, its velly nice to be here!”. It’s a bit of fun but it’s inconceivable that 20 years later Joe would have introduced say ‘Bhindi Bhagee’ in the same way. It’s another great performance though, Mick’s powerful lead contrasting with Joe’s choppy rhythm work.

With Mick’s guitar high in the mix Spanish Bombs is particularly searing. An edit before Rudie Can’t Fail cuts off part of Joes spoken intro. It’s an intense rocked up performance of this infrequently played song with Joe really into it; his ‘wolf cries’ heavy with echo.

Then its straight into the intro to Police & Thieves adapted around Ray Charles classic ‘Hit the Road Jack’ before the song proper kicks in. The Clash twin guitar attack is well demonstrated here with both guitars heard clearly as is Mickey’s keyboards. Joe adlibs at length around the ‘54 - 46 that’s my number, right now someone else has that number’, name checking the lines writers, Toots and the Maytals (who they had wanted as support for the UK 16 Tons leg). The song builds and builds with some great guitar from Mick.

Before Stay Free there’s a lengthy gap before Joe says “Alright then hey Johnny little bit of gaffer” Mick says “Try this one”, maybe repairs to the strum guard needed, certainly Joe at the end of the song calls for “another bottle of brandy for Johnny Green!”

A fine Wrong Em Boyo before the set pacing gets raised to maximum and it’s into Clampdown. Joe precedes it with “footwork Topper, how’s your footwork? (hear feet stamping!). The band conjure up for the song a suitably apocalyptic powerful sound with Joe launching into a rant which includes reference to American Express, but most of his words are unclear. A charged up Janie Jones follows leading into Complete Control . Joe’s echo laden vocals are really intense and he’s clearly enjoying Mick’s searing solo “You’re my guitar hero” adding an emphasised “Yeah!”

The recording has no edit as the audience shout and stamp for encores. Mikey, booed earlier, returns for Armagideon Time, which has got longer with a more dub wise treatment since its first live appearance on the Take The Fifth tour. As usual it segues into the great arrangement of English Civil War. A superb, passionate Garageland ends the first encore.

An edit almost certainly cuts out Bankrobber and leads into Tommy Gun. These last two songs maybe from a different source but probably not; certainly the sound is much inferior, flat and suffering from dropouts. An intense London’s Burning closes the show.

RE: The Clash at the Orpheum, March 9th 1980.

I saw this show on my tod, as all my friends were still listening to Tull...

The things that really stand out in my mind are Lee Dorsey, B-girls all in Army gear, I think it was Mick Jones with a coral sitar (can’t remember the song..) and Joe Strummer throwing his tele over the amps, to be caught by the guitar tech.

I had a balcony seat but managed to get stage left, unfortunately in front of the PA stack.

I saw many shows at the Orpheum (the Jam, Kid Creole & the Coconuts, B52s, The Police) but they had nothing on the Clash.
I don‘t think I have ever seen a better show.

I ended up living around the corner on Winter Street, backing onto the Orpheum a few years later. Nice part of Boston late at night!

Nice site. - All the best - Barry

ne of the best concerts I ever attended

Just came upon your page detailing The Clash show at The Orpheum Theatre in Boston on March 9,1980.

I was at this show and to this day I remember it fondly as one of the best rock concerts I ever attended. (Out of thousands !)

I just want to let you know that you omitted one of the openers. Also on the bill with Lee Dorsey & The B-Girlswas Pearl Harbor & The Explosions. Don't mean to be anal, but for historical purposes I thought that this should be noted. Cheers ! -Paul Cirincione.

Seats sucked but the sound awesome

Great concert in a smaller venue for the London Calling Tour. A Don Law production. Seats sucked but the sound awesome. There was an opener who was pelted with cups. The Clash brought him back out for the encore. Great band, great memories.

Joe Strummer at 60

August 21, 2012 – Joyce Millman

Archive PDF

{Extract] "My first Clash show, March 9, 1980, Bostonís Orpheum Theater, and how dangerous and transgressive it all felt to be attending this riot set to music, which was like nothing I had ever experienced before, or since. A crazy adventure in New York seeing the Clash play the steaming sauna of Bond's, which felt like (and looking back at the media coverage, was) the center of the universe that night."

Did you go? What do you remember?

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


Boston Globe Review - March 11, 1980
Steve Morse

Most of the reviews at Boston were written by Steve Morse, the long time rock critic for the Boston Globe and clearly a fan of the clash (he traveled to NY, NJ and Wash DC to review the band). As a native of Boston and a 25+ year fan of the Clash I have always enjoyed and agreed with his reviews. That can't be said for Jim Sullivan!

The Clash conquer America

Creem - June 80

Conflict Fanzine #No.5


Boston Globe review


The Clash - unknown clipping


Boston Phoenix gig sold out gig


Situation Butane Fanzine


Chris Knowles The Essential Clash Bootleg Bible

includes this gig


The Clash/Safe European Home/ Boston, MA 3/9/1980 - YouTube

Alan McPheely
I shot this March 9, 1980 on silent Super 8mm film. Recently, some thirty years later, i found the audio on the internet and matched it up.

4 years ago

Great  find ... was there at the time.. what a great night.. i had two extra tickets i was trying to give away outside the venue before going in and couldn't find anyone interested.. still have the two un-used tickets..

8 years ago

+Alan McPheely   Thank you for uploading this Alan. I, too, was at this Boston Orpheum gig, the final of three Clash concerts I attended 1979-80 (and ever). As I recall the support acts at that March 9, 1980 show were The B Girls and Lee Dorsey, the latter a New Orleans r&b singer best known for his original version of Allen Toussaint's "Working in the Coal Mine" that would be covered by New Wave band Devo within a year of this tour. 

Dorsey's recording of "Coal Mine" peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1966, while Devo's version just missed the Top 40 (at #43) in 1981.  Dorsey also had a slightly bigger hit with "Ya Ya" (a tune he co-wrote, the lyrics inspired by a chant in a children's nursery rhyme) in 1961. That one peaked at #7, and Petula Clark reworked it into "Ya Ya Twist," a hit in France during the Twist dance craze in 1962.

I don't recall much about The B Girls, other than they were a pleasant enough all-female band from Toronto who played some pop-influenced rock and that their bassist (Cynthia Ross) dated Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys (the Cleveland-based punk band who had, by then, become a fixture at New York's CBGB's). I also seem to recall the B Girls had a single on Bomp! Records.

Although The Clash were as magnificent as ever at this show, it was the least potent of the three Clash concerts I attended, in part because the support acts at the previous two Boston area Clash shows (September 19, 1979, also at the Orpheum, and February 16, 1979 at the Harvard Square Theater) were stronger; Bo Diddley on the first Pearl Harbor Tour, and soul duo Sam & Dave (or at least Sam Moore, perhaps a substitute "Dave") and The Undertones at that first Orpheum gig six months' previous. In fact, the latter pop-punk outfit (from Derry, Northern Ireland), with their dynamic frontman Feargal Sharkey, gave the angry young men from West London a real run for their money with their "Teenage Kicks." And I had never heard a singing voice (before or since) as unique as Sharkey's quavering tenor. 

That first Orpheum show also laid the foundation for a continuing battle between Clash frontman Joe Strummer and the concert promoter's (Don Law's) bouncers Strummer called "bloody redshirts," after said Lawmen intimidated some exuberant fans from dancing in the aisles, the perfect set-up (nominally and symbolically) for The Clash's equally exuberant cover rendition of The Bobby Fuller Four's "I Fought the Law." And while the Law (organization) may have won the battle that particular evening, by the return (March 9, 1980) Orpheum engagement The Clash won the war by having predesignated rows of seats removed just to accommodate any would-be dancing enthusiasts wishing not to remain glued to their seats for the show's duration.

Also, nothing could have compared more favorably to that first Clash gig in Cambridge, one of only nine shows on their first United States tour, in which "The Only Band That Mattered" (as their CBS-Epic PR advertised) actually lived up to the record company hype and churned out a raucous and riotous (some might say  "life-changing") set of tunes that delivered on the promise of the message emblazoned (across a quilt of the flags of world nations) on their stage backdrop, which read "Unprovoked Retaliation!" The band may have opened with the tune "I'm So Bored with the USA." But by the end of that night several hundred ancestors of some former Brit colonists were anything but bored and knew they had just witnessed another moment of history, that time musical and with the Brits dominating.  

And though The Ramones came before them, and lasted a few years longer, that winter night of '79 all eyes and ears fortunate enough to be there in Harvard Square knew they had just seen and heard a new culture clash in that new Clash culture!Read more

3 years ago

Fantastic, I saw them  a month earlier over two nights at the Top Rank in Birmingham UK (Feb 5th/6th '80). I'm an old film student who worked with Super-8 in the  70's and 80's,  so to me this is great! Well done for matching up the sound and vision!

11 years ago

Chills! ...I was there -- I am there! I finally made to yt. That's not why the oohs from me, o course. I am on film w/The Only Band That Matters. I was there in 12th row, no wait make that 2nd row, left-center orch, boppin in front of Mick. Cause The Clash fought the Don Law* (and The Clash won!) They insisted the local promoter remove the first 10 rows of seats, after bouncers had busted dancers at the band's last visit there. Well, now there was plenty of room to bust a pogo groove. Brilliant!

PS Yeah, that was something else. Best concert I ever saw. Of course. Now the volume was voluminous, driving many away to the lobby, or outside. I stayed and had both ears enflamed. I was on fire for life. The band literally scarred my body and mind, igniting a blaze across my brain that stood my hair on end. Until The End... Says Joe, "Start again!"

8 years ago

Thanks for this piece of amazing nostalgia for me. I was at this show and it was GREAT. Pearl Harbor and the Explosions opened.

11 years ago

the clash at the harvard square theatre,i heard was totally incredible!!!!

11 years ago

PPS The Clash, The Boston Orpheum, 1980-03-09, "Police And Thieves," Joe Strummer outro... 

"So I was out in Boston today. And what's it say? [musical climax flashing] 'All the lights, in Massachusetts/ All the lights, in Massachusetts/ They've all come out tonight! They're goin outta sight! All the lights, in Massachusetts." [thunderous rumbling close]


Photos from The Clash at the Orpheum on March 9, 1980, and at the Worcester Centrum on April 13, 1984.

All Photography: Copyright Jeff Thiebauth

Photos by Cathrine Vanaria

7 are from Harvard Square Theater, Cambridge MA, USA (16 Feb 1979)
1 is actually from Boston Orpheum (Sept 19th 1979)
3 from the Boston Orpheum - one of which wrongly attributed to Harvard (March 9 1980)

The Boston Years 1979 - 1986
The Clash - Catherine Vanaria

Below are three photos from March 9 1980
All photos are available as 16"x20" prints for $300US
C.A. Vanaria, 50 Hudson Drive, New Fairfield, Connecticut,
06812, United States
Daytime phone 203-791-1474 -
E-mail -

The Clash Official | Facebook

Here’s a pic that I took the first time I saw The Clash in Boston




Clash City Rockers
Brand New Cadilac
Safe European Home (video)
Jimmy Jazz
London Calling
Guns of Brixton
Train In Vain
Protex Blue
White Man in Ham Palais
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Spanish Bombs
Rudie Cant Fail
Hit the Road Jack
Police and Thieves
Stay Free
Wrong `Em Boyo
Janie Jones
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
English Civil War
Tommy Gun
Londons Burning

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'

16 Tons US Tour


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

A collection of articles, interviews, reviews, posters, tour dates covering the period the 16 Tons tour of the US, March 1980.


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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