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

updated 14 July 2008 - added poster
updated 5 Jan 2010 - added punters comments
updated Dec 2014 - punters comments on radio source & songs
updated August 2022 added
Forty years ago article

Audio 1

Sound 4 - time 27min - FM /unknown generation - tracks 9

I Fought the Law

Audio 3

Sound 4 - time 28min - FM /unknown generation - tracks 9

I Fought the Law

Sound quality

Sourced from an FM radio broadcast this has a great sound, the best from this European/UK final leg of the 16 Tons Tour. It’s the best sounding source for hearing the particular live sound The Clash were producing at this stage in their history; very tight and dominated by Mick’s effects heavy lead guitar, played in a great mixture of short solo bursts and punk power chords.

Its source on the Fxxk You Baby bootleg is probably first or second generation as there is a little flatness and lack of clarity however it is a very enjoyable sound with all the instrumentation well mixed and clear. Vocals could be more ‘in your face’ though and there is little stereo separation.
It of course only a section of the concert and an edit loses Koka Kola after it is announced.

FM radio broadcast

From the FM radio broadcast the announcer confirms the date. Whether the whole concert was broadcast or just the half hour here is not known either. No longer recordings have ever surfaced although another tape is said to include Koka Kola, which is missing here. This recording comes from the Fxxk You Baby bootleg where it is added onto the Wichita Falls 1983 concert. It’s title coming from Joe’s response here to an apparent interruption in the power supply.

The actual venue appears to be the Base de Plein Air du Comit d'Entreprise d'Usinor (France)

I think they played a full set

I'm a French Clash fan since several years now. Congratulations for your website, it is great to see it back.

In the Rettel 1980 page, you say: "It is though certainly from France and from an FM radio broadcast, with the announcer confirming the date. Whether the whole concert was broadcast or just the half hour here is not known either."

Two persons answered you telling you that Rettel was in France so I guess the first sentence has not been updated since a long time.

About the Clash playing only 8 or 9 songs at the festival, I am really sceptical.

I am also a Cure fan and a 6-song FM recording exists from France Inter radio. I'm quite sure it is the same radio which broadcast the Clash. Moreover, as you can see in the link, Cure played a 18-song set and the Clash were much bigger at that time. So I guess they played a regular set and France Inter only broadcast half of it.

Again, congratulations for your website, it is great.
Greetings, Julien.
Julien Cohen <jumeteor[ at ] hotmail.com>



Base de Plein Air du Comit d'Entreprise d'Usinor

The actual venue appears to be the Base de Plein Air du Comit d'Entreprise d'Usinor (France)

“All aboard!”

The recording starts dramatically with Joe shouting “London Calling to the faraway towns, now war is declared and battle come down” and then Joe’s guitar intro kicks in. A fast paced, intense performance of London Calling, almost great but for a muted guitar solo from Mick. It’s typical of all the songs here, highly enjoyable but not quite inspired enough to make them exceptional performances.

A strong Guns of Brixton follows with Paul’s vocals a bit too far back in the mix but his scratchy guitar chording and Mick’s echo heavy lead guitar lines are very clear.

“All aboard!” shouts Joe as Train In Vain begins but soon there are other shouts and the songs breaks down. The radio announcer says a problem has begun at ‘Rotelle’ and Joe asks “Pour quoi?”. After a short gap and the presumed power interruption is solved, Joe has a go at the culprit, “Nous allons maintenant and fuck you baby!” Train in Vain restarts and Mick’s playing is particularly enjoyable over the ending coda.

There’s no break between songs and now Joe calls for “White Man” and Mick obliges shouting an urgent 1-2-3-4 and the band launch into an excellent performance of White Man In Hammersmith Palais. Mick sings a verse and adds a biting solo. Joe changes the lyrics to “Punk rockers from France and in Germany, you come too late!” and in his pigeon French sings at the end “Only cherchez la jolie!”

Joe announces Koka Kola but an edit restarts as he shouts “Hit the deck” and the song segues into a powerful I Fought the Law. Then Joe scratches out the intro to Somebody Got Murdered with Mick building in crescendo his lead guitar lines over the top. Joe shouts “nouveau chanson” and it does still sound like a new song in transition live, but is nevertheless hugely enjoyable.

“You been to prison?” intros a fine Jail Guitar Doors, with confusion over the usual verse that Joe adlibs on, with Mick in the end adding a few muffled words.

An excellent Clampdown, with the pro-sound recording documenting well the variation on the songs opening that he was playing in June 1980. Sadly the recording ends there, but the quality of the recording and the strong performances makes this an essential bootleg.

Forty years ago: June 1980 The Clash at Rettel: an agitated concert


The Rettel Rock Festival took place on Saturday June 14, 1980 at the Usi-nor open-air base on the banks of the Moselle. The event has a prestigious poster: Roxy Music, The Clash and The Cure, a great evening in perspective.

Dirty reputation

The Clash? A name that revives the nostalgia of sexagenarians. It's the 80s, the end of the punk movement, and London Calling, a Clash album softened with reggae and ska accents, has just been released. The group has a bad reputation. His concerts are anarchic, the sound is rotten and their rabid and addictive energy has a way of getting fans excited.

Rettel Rock Festival poster. Photo DR

A wild concert

After an afternoon of successful concerts, including that of The Cure, night falls and with it comes the rain. The storm wakes up the crowd and The Clash enters the scene.

The musicians start in the rain around 8:30 p.m. After two songs, wild spectators launch all sorts of projectiles onto the stage: bottles, cans and clods of earth. A fight breaks out in the front rows, barriers are torn down, and the order service tries to contain the crowd with tear gas.

End of the festival

On the recording of the concert for the program "Feedback" on France Inter, we hear Joe Strummer, leader of the group, to ask the public to calm down, before sending them to graze and linking the following songs. A little mess does not scare the Clash who finish their concert and the nine titles pre-seen. The group which was to follow, Roxy Music, however headliner, worried following these disturbances, prefers to cancel its service. She was supposed to close the festival.

The Clash at Rettel. Photo DR/Francis Prymerski

Did you go? What do you remember?

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

the best rock concert that I've ever seen

About The Clash's performance at the Reitel Festival, France, June 80. I was there. The Reitel Festival (Reitel is a small town at the border between France and Luxemburg) was a flop, and in a big way! 10000 were expected but eventually just 4500 people showed up. The weather was cloudy, and rain downpoured every hour or so. Mud was everywhere when the evening came.

The festival stage had been set in a field, with a metallic fence all around it. German and Luxemburger Hell's Angels were in charge of the event, and that would prove to be a real problem with the many "punks" in the attendance. Fights broke loose all along the afternoon and the field was regularly covered by teargas clouds.

The festival began with "secondary acts": Fisher Z, The Cure, Kevin Coyne. Things really got worse when UFO (yes, the german hard rock band!) came. Punks started to throw stones and allsorts of objects on the stage.

Finally, it must have been 6 pm when the Clash played. God, to this day I still believe that this gig has been the best rock concert that I've ever seen (and you can trust me, I have seen quite a lot). Strummer was on fire, the band was tight and energetic. A fantastic moment. I still remember Joe on the front of the stage, a dark silhouette with sweat evaporating from his body like smoke emanating from a fire.

We were only a few hundreds, but we gave to the Londonners the success they owed. At one time Paul Simonon even grabbed one of my friends by the hand and sat him on an amplifier on stage! Pure madness. Roxy Music was supposed to take the stage after the Clash, but Ferry - very wisely - decided that it would be too much of a risk for them.

Too bad, I've never seen Roxy. The festival has been broadcast by the France Inter FM network, under the supervision of Bernard Lenoir (yes, the same guy who did the "Black sessions"). Many years later I have read a Joe Strummer's interview and he said that Reitel was arguably one of the best gigs he remembered. Well, I can only agree with him...

there were many fights

Hi, Just came across your website. I was at this open air festival. Just a precision.

The village where the festival took place is spelled Rettel (and not "Reitel"). It is a small village in France, a few miles north-west of the town of Sierck-Les-Bains.

You will see on a map that it is right at the border with Luxembourg, and just a couple of miles from the German border. So, ideally istuated in principle to attract fans from France, Luxembourg and Germany.

What the other contributor who was there writes is accurate. Rain was pouring all through afternoon, and there were many fights. It was cold and muddy... And Roxy Music did not play.

best regards, Luk Haas, Tian An Men 89 Records

Rock & Folk Pressage (N.161 June 1980) - France Année1980

Best Magazine 141 - Poids Lourds

Avr 80- Mick Jones

Il y a 40ans, le concert hors norme tournait au clash

Link or English version


The Clash à Rettel pour "London Calling" : le festival inachevé

The Clash at Rettel for “London Calling”: the unfinished festival

Online: PHOTOS ET VIDEOS (French)
English translation PDF
English translation text

Poster very large



London Calling
The Guns of Brixton
Train In Vain
Train In Vain
White Man
Somebody Got Murdered
Koka Kola (missing)
I Fought the Law
Jail guitar Doors

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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