16 Tons Tour Europe/cancelled dates due to Toppers injury.

last updated September 2004

Audio 1

master audience - Sound 3 - time 1hr 32mins - tracks 26
Poorer copies circulate

Spanish Bombs

Sound quality

Recently the master audience recording came into circulation; a very welcome upgrade on the poor quality, well-copied tapes circulating previously. The master reveals a good audience recording, which considering what was going on all around the taper that night is quite remarkable!

Its main problems are of distance to the stage resulting in a lack of clarity and detail particularly on vocals but also instrumentation. A reasonable range though and enjoyable, it suffers only when compared with the other better recordings from this final 16 Tons leg. If this were from the UK Jan/Feb 16 Tons leg it would stand as one of the best bootlegs from that period!

There are some mechanical tape flaws throughout and the taper missed the first 2 songs beginning abruptly with Safe European Home. An edit loses the start of Tommy Gun.

The importance of the recording is not as a document preserving a great musical performance (there are better sounding recordings from this period that do that job excellently) but it does capture the atmosphere in the Ballroom; you can almost “sniff that wind of ugly tension” that night at the Mayfair, “the jerks had got aggression!”

gone down in local folklore

The Clash’s only appearance at the much-missed Mayfair Ballroom and a night that has gone down in local folklore as one everyone claims to have been at: others include Led Zeppelin in 1972 and Nirvana in the early 1990s. With definite similarities to the infamous Hamburg gig, 2 months earlier, there were chaotic scenes of fighting, gobbing, and general mayhem.

Songs are interrupted, the mic is grabbed, and Joe and Mick appeal for calm. Before Jimmy Jazz, Joe angrily had a dig at those in the audience baying for punk purity; “Next we’d like to do this here tune, which ain’t nothing except a tune, which we caught a lot of flak for especially in Hamburg, where they think its 76 and act like it”.

Date: CBS Internal News magazine

CBS Internal News magazine released (containing 12 printed sides) on this the 14th of March 1980 Covering the Clash's 16 Tons Tour & Toppers torn thumb ligament


Clash City Collectors | Facebook



Newcastle's Mayfair Ballroom

Newcastle's Mayfair Ballroom hosted Europe's largest and longest-running rock club, spanning four decades. Some of the biggest bands in the world played the venue early in their career, such as Pink Floyd, U2 and Nirvana, while Led Zeppelin returned from an American stadium tour in 1971, to say thanks to their fans in Newcastle.

As time and tastes moved on, a host of other acts moved in. The Clash and The Jam played at the height of their popularity, as did New Order and The Smiths. Rezerection staged the city's biggest raves in the 1990s.

But the legendary Rock Disco continued as the main attraction, Fridays and Saturdays, for thirty years. 5,000 people turned out to pay their respects on the closing night in the late 1990s. It was demolished to make way for a 'leisure complex' called The Gate.

The Mayfair was a typical oblong-shaped Mecca ballroom, capacity 1,500, with the small stage built flush with one of the longer walls (instead of at one end of the room), a large oval-shaped wooden dance floor in front of this, and a large balcony right around the room (and above the stage). Marshall Hall

“OK you’ve made your point, go back, go back!”

Tonight is not a night for concentrating on the playing but on trying to control the audience and stop people getting hurt; Joe adlibs in Safe European Home “OK you’ve made your point, go back, go back!” Joe does his angry rap about 76 and Hamburg before Jimmy Jazz. It’s one of the best performances of the night with Joe going into an extended stream of consciousness adlib (an accurate but too pretentious a description for Joe’s always different every gig, off the cuff raps);”My advice to you Jimmy boy, is not even to pack a suitcase, where are you tough guys from, smack, smack, smack” then tonight Topper gets included (for not too mystifying reasons!) in his Police Officer drug bust rap;“Are you Topper Headon, put up your hand, get a haircut!” Mick delivers a great solo and Joe barks out the words.

Trouble flares again during a remarkable Spanish Bombs. Mid song amidst the mayhem the band stop playing, all except Joe who continues on his own for a while singing solo accompanied only by his Telecaster strumming. “Sorry got carried away there, oblivious to the mayhem!” he says. “You tell me if I get any really big goolies [presumably he meant gob!] in my face, will you shout, which means you lot much as I hate this I’m going to carry on anyway just to show you” Then there’s a stage announcement presumably from the bouncers “Try to calm things down fookin’ behave yourselves, we gonna cause a fookin’ racket if you don’t behave yourselves” which is met with shouts of “Fuck off” from the crowd! Chants of “Geordies” and the band restart the song.

There is a mass singalong on White Man In Hammersmith Palais with Joe barking out the lyrics. But the trouble continues and an angry and distressed Mick shouts “You fuckin’ cunts, your fucking it up for everyone else, you bastards ”. Some of the crowd are presumably now on the stage as Joe gets a laugh when he says ironically “As we’re all standing here anyway, this is something new entitled Some one got murdered”. As the song ends there’s more chanting and Koka Kola soon breaks down with yet more fighting. Joe says “Anybody out there? Anybody want to come up here and tell us what’s going on?” Joe obviously concerned that the bouncers maybe the cause of the trouble. No response so “Sod it” restarts Koka Kola but as it segues into I Fought the Law, Mick shouts, “While you’re all fighting the real fuckers laughing his bloody head off”.

An edit restarts with Jail Guitar Doors probably not losing any songs based on previous set lists. “Lock em up” shouts Joe who adlibs as usual a verse but the sound is not good enough to understand what he’s singing. Topper strikes up a constant beat and Joe shouts echoed Hit the Road Jack calls before the intro proper to Police and Thieves kicks in.

Clampdown gets a “Dedication to the Heaven Boys” and Joe adlibs at length over the ending, but again his words are unclear. Then Mick says “My turn to be gobbed at, apologies, but I can’t sing this song with conviction with all this gob going on my face, and I really mean it, this song is called Stay Free

It’s the charge then through to the encores via English Civil War, I'm So Bored With the USA and into Complete Control. The audience singalong and then scream, chant and clap for more.

As the band return someone’s bent Joe’s microphone but he’s in a good mood “It’s only a microphone, hang on a minute, might even win a design award for this!” As Armagideon Time begins Joe introduces Mikey Dread who toasts in the gaps left in Joe’s vocals. Keith Thompson who was at the gig remembers Mikey too so reports in Marcus Gray’s book of a falling out over The Clash’s refusal to pay for Mikey to bring a backing band over from Jamaica would appear wrong. An edit at the end of the song loses the start of an intense Tommy Gun. London's Burning is even better with Joe screaming out adlibs over the ending. The crowd love it calling the band back for a second encore.

Mick plays the current variation on the intro to Capital Radio (less effective maybe) with Topper adding drums and Joe shouting out the initials of the song, before Mick screams out “1-2-3-4” and the song proper crashes in. Its straight into more 77 crowd pleasers, with What's My Name (adlibs unclear) and then “We’d like to do one more number” leads into an intense Garageland. But it’s not the last song as Topper immediately beats out the intro to White Riot with Mick shouting as it begins “Alright then, you’ve been fucking asking for it!” Various voices shout the lyrics either because the fans are on the stage or because Joe is passing the mic to them. It is probably the former as although the song gets its usual reprised final verse there is no more singing and the song soon breaks down and the House PA comes on.

Newcastle Stuff Fanzine

Marshall Hall has kindly contributed background about the gig and about the Mayfair Ballroom. His NEWCASTLE STUFF is an entertaining monthly magazine, distributed free of charge around the city. It’s website includes a page on the Mayfair.

He writes “It's interesting what you say about Joe referring to the crowd as 'acting like 76'. Newcastle is a notoriously slow adopter of fashions and trends, and punk didn't really catch on here until around 1979. I began running a punk clothes shop around then, which really took of in 1980/81, when local demand for bondage pants etc. was phenomenal. So it must have seemed strange to Joe, witnessing scenes he hadn't seen for two or three years.”

“The band were banned from the City Hall by its owners, Newcastle Council, in 1978. Rumour had it at the time that someone - Strummer, it was said - had a shite on the stage. They were also later arrested for damage to their hotel.

The Poly gig the year after did indeed end in a riot. The venue was open to students only, few of whom were 'punks'. To remedy this, the band's roadies let true fans in through toilet windows, which resulted in large-scale fighting with the student stewards.

The Mayfair gig the following year took place in what was very much a 'rock' venue, although the regulars were outnumbered by punks. My mates talk of tables being dropped from the balcony onto the stage, although the Mayfair's bouncers no doubt made matters worse in the way they dealt with this. These guys really enjoyed their work and it's unlikely they would have called on the local constabulary for assistance.”.

Marshall has also kindly supplied an article from Newcastle fanzine ‘Helter Skelter’ about the gig and contains an interview with Joe (see link) The article and interview focus on the violence but when asked did he enjoy the gig Joe replies “Yeah, it was really good after the crowd had settled down and we could get down to what ourselves and the vast majority of the fans were there for - music!”

Elsewhere The Clash crowd at the Mayfair were described as ‘like Reservoir Dogs with bad haircuts’. Many thanks to Keith Thompson for his recollections;

“I did see The Clash at the Mayfair in 1980. I don't remember anything startling to do with fighting although the band were getting really pissed off with "1976" gobbing from the front. At this time audiences were very mixed with some hardcore (but 4 years out of date) punks accusing bands like The Clash of selling out through to others who had moved on and were into Magazine etc. Anyway back to the night... They hadn't wanted to play White Riot but gave in at the end. I remember Mikey Dread coming on for a set (possibly half way through?), which went down like the proverbial lead balloon with the gobbing brigade.

Detail is hazy but I don't think the band were late on, no Police called, but a very rowdy crowd. A worse gig for fighting was December 1978 at what was Newcastle Poly, which I was also at. The Poly union merrily sold tickets to anyone who asked and then wouldn't let people without a union card get in on the night. Local band "Angelic Upstarts" (used to kick a pigs head with police hat on around the stage) and their fans were amongst these and some fire doors were just forced open and everyone went in. The Poly must have decided to let it go in fear of inciting even more destruction so a 1,000 person venue had double that number in. Support band was the Slits but Budgie was drumming.

Local paper the Sunday Sun still managed to say they were all female though. Loads of fighting when he Slits were on including with the singer (Ari Up) but again I don't remember anything out of the ordinary during the Clash.

To put the sounds of fighting etc on the tape into perspective: In 1981 when riots started around the country after Toxteth one of the TV news programmes spoke to Chief Constables around the country about the trouble in their areas the night before. After pictures of people running amok, doing handbrake turns in stolen cars, shouting in the street and general fighting, each Chief Constable reported that indeed there city had been affected by riots. Then it was Northumbria's turn. After similar TV images he calmly said, "no riots here, just a normal Friday night in the city centre!"

Did you go? What do you remember?

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

Newcastle 80 Fanzine


Blog: The Clash Newcastle Mayfair

June 12th 1980
Posted July 17, 2012 by vintagerock

PDF version

Book: An Analysis Clash in Concert


Newcastle 12 June 1980

Book: The Clash Takes on the World:


(PDF verison)

Page 35
Transnational Perspectives on The Only Band.

..Detailed memories of the gigs at;
Newcastle University May 1977
Middlesbrough Rock Garden, May 1977,
Sussex University May 1977,
Newcastle gig in both Oct 1977 and December 1978,
Newcastle Mayfair June 1980,
Newcastle City Hall July 1982..

Photos from Newcastle

Hiya, Just looking through the site and the above gig in particular as it was the first time I saw them live and still the best gig I've ever been to for atmosphere, finally getting to see them, the bedlam, Mikey Dread coming on stage, everything about it was just memorable.

Anyway, I came across a photoogrqphers site (Jenny Lens) who took photos on this tour and confirmed certain gigs she'd been to on the tour, this being one of them. Doing a bit of homework I was able to identify a photo from this gig as well as another from Derby Assembley Rooms.

This is her site

Newcastle photos

This is the photo from the Mayfair and I recognised the funny coloured patterns on the white board at the back (I was a regular gig goer in there) 

To verify I found a local band who played there and on their website was a picture from the same year with the same stage back board (halfway down their site) 

I've attached photos of both just to point out in a red circle the same back board.

I also think this is from the same gig but Jenny is adamant it's not as she says she wouldn't shoot from both in front of stage and on it but does admit she was 'out of it' a lot back then, I still believe it is from the same gig having viewed their clothes on the other gigs on that tour. 

Derby Photos

This is from Derby Assembey Rooms on either 9th June, Jenny wasn't sure but loved the red floor and asked me to trace it. 

I found this other link from a Smith's gig about 3 years later which shows a red floor there. 



Safe European Home
Jimmy Jazz
Revolution Rock
The Guns Of Brixton
Train In Vain
London Calling
Spanish Bombs
White Man In Ham Palais
Somebody Got Murdered
Koka Kola
I Fought the Law
Jail Guitar Doors
Hit the Road Jack
Police and Thieves
Stay Free
English Civil War
I'm So Bored With the USA
Complete Control
Armagideon Time
Tommy Gun
London's Burning
Capital Radio
What's My Name
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 Europe 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 Europe and the UK in May and June and any other articles through to the end of the year.


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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