Residency - fifth of seven nights

Updated 19 July 2006
Updated 8 Jan 2008

Theer are numerous versions all from the same source. I actuallyprefere the 'warmer' version (3) from the master rather than the master which has been sligtly enhanced (5).

Audio 3 -
Sound 3.5 - time 1hr 50mins - unknown gen. - tracks 30

Safe European Home

Audio 5 -
Sound 3.5 - time 1hr 49mins - master - tracks 30

Safe European Home

Two recordings circulate:

1. Derek Harris master tape
Derek kindly allowed his master tape to be brought into circulation in 2006. Derek recorded five nights of the Lyceum residency and his recordings improve with each night as he experimented with where best to stand. See Derek’s own account for full details in the reviews of his 18th and 21st October tapes.

His tape from the 22nd has a fuller lead guitar sound than the 21st and more clarity. Bass though is still barely audible, drums still high in the mix, and vocals still a little distant. But as its direct from the master it has a crisp, clear sound.

2. Alternative unknown generation tape
Poorer copies circulate but the lowest generation source has a decent enough sound, being at least several copies off what must be an excellent audience master tape. It has a fuller lead guitar sound and less distant vocals than Derek’s whic

h means it arguably captures better the live Clash sound.
But because it has been copied several times there has been a significant loss in clarity and detail. It also runs a little slow although this is not audibly that noticeable and there are minor edits on the first CD cutting out a few seconds between songs. It’s sound characteristics differ from the 21st and 20th tapes and is probably therefore from a different taper.

Can anyone help in turning up the master tape?

Both sources are complete, with tape turnovers in the same place. Derek’s tape certainly wins on sound quality but the alternative source has a more dynamic live Clash sound.

Derek’s tape is a must have but the alternate tape is well worth seeking out too as they both give different listening experiences of an exceptional Clash performance.

Best Clash Concert ever?

Chris Knowles’ book Clash City Showdown cites this concert as the best Clash performance of all. A bold statement and one most Clash fans would disagree with. This writer was at this concert and a dozen other Clash gigs and remembers this one as very memorable (emerging from the mosh pit at the end of Complete Control I could not understand why all of the Lyceum audience were not reacting in the same way as me and that the walls of civilisation were not crumbling around us!) but not the best. Memories though are very unreliable and other factors determine which nights stick in our mind and have a lasting impact on us.

thanks to callum for the pic from the night

Whilst memories are unreliable, recordings are not and thankfully preserve a performance permanently. The two quality audience recordings in circulation lend considerable weight to Chris’ view. Listening in particular to the master recording brought into circulation in 2006 it’s impossible to argue with Chris’ comments that “There’s a paradoxically laid-back urgency in the playing. It’s as if The Clash understood the power they were capable of wielding and didn’t feel the need to play so frenetically. There’s a seductive, atmospheric charge to this show as well. The Clash sounded huge and mysterious in late 81. I picked this show as best for several reasons. First of all, the playing is razor sharp and hard as nails. Second the set list is incredible.”

Compare the lackadaisical performance of the 21st (excluding the encores) with this one and you hear the difference between The Clash on auto pilot and a band fully committed and inspired; firing on all cylinders like a perfectly tuned Ferrari engine! Paul’s contribution is sadly largely buried in the mix but not his band mate’s; Topper’s drumming is inventive and simply delightful throughout; Mick’s fully focussed on his guitar playing (something that will become increasingly rare) delivering great inventive lead guitar as a result and Joe is just as focussed (unlike the night before) contributing great Strummer rhythm guitar and terrific vocals.

If a great Clash gig to you is one veering on the edge of chaos, with maniacal punk attack and Strummer rants and adlibs then this is not going to deliver. But if you want to hear The Clash at the top of their musicianship and professionalism, playing a diverse range of musical styles, demonstrating an almost telepathic togetherness and being fully focussed and committed then this is the one.

Unarguably an essential Clash bootleg and best Clash gig ever? Maybe.

For further background info go to the opening night, the18th

Both recordings start with the air raid sirens intro and then as the ‘all clear’ sounds the audience cheer as the band emerge into semi-darkness in front of the ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ type barriers.

“We’re The Clash Jimmy!” announces Joe and instead of the by now normal low key opener of Broadway, (the opening songs are reversed giving a much more high octane start and retained for the remaining nights) the band launch into One More Time. The stage lights flash on with the great power chord over drum and bass intro and an outstandingly consistent Clash performance kicks off.

Like the rest of the gig there’s no extended improvisation or inspired Joe rants but there is a focussed power and total musical togetherness. The edge of your seats near chaos of the punk years has been long replaced by an assured authority of greater musicianship, which is arguably no less exciting and surely no less enjoyable. Joe shouts mid-song “All together, push, push, PUSH!” as much to his band mates in encouragement as to the audience.

The previous night, until the encores, Joe sounded unusually uninspired and uncommitted but tonight he’s totally focussed with intent throughout and produces a terrific vocal performance on Broadway.  Mick too unlike the 21st wants to play guitar and plays with focus and invention. His new splintering guitar sound is to the fore on “Know Your Rights all 3 of them!” It sounds much more like the finished product now rather than a song in development. 

Another new song next, Should I Stay or Should I Go and again these 81 performances have a vitality lacking in many of the 82 performances of the song. Mick sings “because I’m honour bound you won’t find me hanging ‘round” which would be later changed as presumably not rock’n’roll enough! Joe’s only vocal contribution here is a scream, not the “go now” shouts on the chorus like the night before. 

A fine Guns of Brixton next,  the recordings revealing the detail in the arrangement  and Mick adds lots of splintering guitar fills (aka Know Your Rights) on a strong Train In Vain. 

A very enjoyable Magnificent Seven has none of the improvisation of the May/June 81 shows but the playing is just hard as nails and super-tight. It ‘s more extended than other Lyceum performances. Derek’s tape in particular showcases Topper’s terrific drumming which like his band mate’s contributions tonight are focussed and inventive. It’s just missing a Strummer adlibbed rant to be truly magnificent!

“Going back in time” announces Joe before an excellent White Man In Hammersmith Palais which again is not extended but is exceptional through the total committed professionalism of the performance from a group at the top of their game. Joe is enjoying Mick’s playing tonight “let that guitar play boy!” he says over the instrumental ending.

A very strong Clash City Rockers is followed by “Elevator goooooooooing up!” and the band race through 100 seconds of an impressive Koka Kola. “Welcome Mr Topper Headon” but Ivan Meets GI Joe whilst OK is as usual the lowest point of the gig; a song that just does not translate well to the stage.

Paul’s bass is largely lost on the recordings but is audible on Junco Partner which again showcases Topper’s invention and virtuosity. A tape turnover on both tapes only loses part of Joe’s intro to Charlie Don’t Surf which restarts with “first the helicopters are coming in”. The song begins with Topper’s repeated drum pattern then Mick’s light guitar fills which build to a crescendo. Again no extemporisation from Joe but the performance is tight as hell. An edit on the alternate tape at the end of the song cuts out Joe’s intro to The Leader;  “This is for those of you old enough to vote or lived in the same area for 3 months” Mick’s great guitar intro is upfront and clear as is Topper’s terrific drum roll intro, “yeah, yeah, yeah” shouts Joe clearly enjoying the band’s performance. “Topper!” shouts Joe and his drums thunder in crescendo and the band slam into a pumped up I Fought The Law.

On a night of highlights Ghetto Defendant is very strong; Paul’s harmonica rings out clear over the intro and he continues playing longer than usual. A new song which has been honed from repeated live performances into almost the finished product. “Hospitalisation” repeats Joe by way of explanation after the first verse.

Mick’s teased out crescendo over Topper’s s repeated drum pattern heralds a powerful Somebody Got Murdered, and the high energy run through to the end of the main set. Mick’s playing here again demonstrates his ability to come up almost night after night (if he’s in the mood) with variation after variation on the intro to the song. The section where Joe comes in is especially effective here and he literally barks and screams “murder” over the ending

London Calling is intro-ed by a classic Strummer scream and he’s on top vocal form throughout a pumped up performance, whooping, crying, and hollering.   Joe starts to freestyle near the end of an impressive Clampdown but there’s no inspiration but Topper’s drum attack carries the song through to its conclusion.

An ear splitting Joe scream kicks off Radio Clash, again super tight. The main set ends with their new single which would finally be released a few weeks later!

The recordings capture the audience calling the band back for the first encore but the alternative source cuts out Joe’s intro “This next one is entitled Hitler has only got one ball!” and then the band slam into a pumped up Safe European Home. When the music drops down Joe repeats “When Rudi came down to London town the SPG came and they beat him down, when Rudi came to London town the SPG got him and they beat him down” and then the band bring it back up again very impressively. Bankrobber next is excellent with some great inventive guitar fills from Mick and the reggae continues with an outstanding Revolution Rock.. Chris described this performance as “a vicious, minor key revamp of Revolution Rock” and it’s certainly a highlight helped by its rarity in a Clash set. Topper’s drumming is again a delight here as is Mick’s guitar playing and Joe responding to his band mates performance delivers another great vocal performance. Another tape turnover at the same point on both sources loses the start of Career Opportunities.. Another exceptional performance, the band clearly enjoying themselves and Topper adds some extra drum fills. The band leave the stage with the audience roaring for more. 

The second equally excellent encore starts with Joe screaming “Topper” and the band kick into Armagideon Time. Mick adds his now customary ear splitting scream and Paul’s bass line is clear on both recordings. It’s another excellent inventive band performance demonstrating their almost telepathic togetherness. “Now if you don’t mind we’d like to present the history of graffiti as seen by the cat burglar himself Mr Futura 2000”. The band support Futura’s Graffiti Rap with added inventiveness and then at the end Topper segues the drum pattern into the start of Complete Control to terrific effect. The brilliant performance encourages someone from the audience up onto the stage to add extra vocals to the ending. After a short pause the band launch into a thrilling edge of your seats charge through Brand New Cadillac, London’s Burning and finish the concert with Janie Jones; Joe and the band on fire throughout. 

These recordings provide ample evidence that The Clash in late 81 were still moving forward musically and despite increasing internal problems could if caught live on the right night still be truly phenomenal. 

Did you go? What do you remember?
Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
Please
email blackmarketclash

First saw The Clash at the Lyceum, London around this time (1981), being only 14 at the time, it was one of the first gigs I'd ever been to but remains one of the best. Still remember the sheer power of Safe European Home (hairs are standing up back of my neck as I type this), Tommy Gun and London Calling.

Also then saw them several times in Brixton through Sandinista and Combat Rock - Straight to Hell what a song!!! Most bizarrely was The Clash busking on the steps of Leeds University Union (1984?) when they were following The Alarm around (crap band -who incidently I first saw supporting The Farmers Boys and they never should have got any higher up the bill!).

Incidently The Clash also had more than one drummer which is enough of a link to the GB's to legitimise this bit of reminiscing, besides which beats working!

C Gull

The Lyceum on Wellington Street, at the end of the Strand, has had various names since the present building was opened in 1834 including English Opera House, Royal Lyceum Theatre but when The Clash graced its Grade II listed stage it was leased to  Mecca as the Lyceum Ballroom hosting concerts and discos.

The venue was chosen because it was the only 2000 plus capacity venue at the time in London with no seats allowing dancing (the upstairs balcony was seated for those who liked to observe not pa rticipate!). 

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One More Time
Broadway
Know your Rights
Should I stay or Should I Go
Guns of Brixton
Train in Vain
Magnificent 7
White Man in Ham Palais
Clash City Rockers
Koka Kola
Ivan Meets Gi Joe
Junco Partner
Charlie Dont Surf
The Leader
I Fought the Law
Ghetto Defendent
Somebody Got Murdered
London Calling
Clampdown
Radio Clash
Safe European Home
Bankrobber
Revolution Rock
Career Opportunities
Armagideon Time
Grafiti Rap (Futura 2000)
Complete Control
Brand New Cadilac
Londons Burning
Janie Jones

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

Also useful: Ultimate Music datbase, All Music, Clash books at DISCOGS

If you know of any articles or references for this particular gig, anything that is missing, please do let us know.

Chris Knowles
The Essential Clash Bootleg Bible
includes this gig

A collection of articles, interviews, reviews, posters, tour dates from the Clash's UK Radio Clash Tour and residency at the London Lyceum. Articles cover the period from October upto the end of the year.

Interview - Electric Lady Studios, NYC - Combat Rock - The Clash

Joe Interview New York (Gun Shaped 7")

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