Out of Control Tour '84

updated 2 Sept 2016 with better audio information

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Did you go? What do you remember?

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(MSU Auditorium, East Lansing, MI, 5/10/84)

When my friends and I first heard about this gig, we were thrilled at the idea of seeing the Clash in such a small venue (especially since East Lansing, at that time, wasn't a real priority for most major bands).

Reports from the two-night stand in Detroit had been encouraging, although (perversely) Mick's absence had put the old uncertainty and riskiness back into the equation...which didn't faze us longtime fans.

My late compadre, Tony Salazar, summed up our collective consensus in some written recollections of his own: "I can't overstate how divided I felt when founder-guitarist Mick Jones was dumped, but as a Clash loyalist, I had to see them."

I don't recall who opened the show, but they didn't last too long, maybe 20 minutes (a common fate for anybody undertaking such a perilous assignment!).

Following the gonzo "hiphoppers, punk rockers pill poppers" intro, the one-two punch of "London Calling" and "Safe European Home" got matters off to their usual rousing fast start.

Contrary to most wriiters' claims, however, the band played a wide variety of songs: for me, what stands out is how the lesser-known material fared, such as a tough, taut "Know Your Rights," while Tony singled out "Straight To Hell" in his recollections as "far more haunting than its recorded counterpart").

Nick's guitar work proved a consistent highlight, as well as his gutsy delivery of "Police On My Back" (the only Sandinista! song, besides "Junco Partner," to be aired on this night).

We also agreed that Pete Howard's drumming seemed like the perfect mix of thunder and finesse (though it couldn't redeem a fairly perfunctory "Rock The Casbah," which -- in our ears -- lost something, without the bouncing piano part to drive it).

Nor did the band neglect the reggae touchstones that cemented its pioneering reputation; Paul's vocal and harmonica cameo on "Guns Of Brixton" impressed, as did a long version of "Armagideon Time."

The four new songs ("Are You Ready For War," "Sex Mad War," "Three Card Trick," and "In The Pouring, Pouring Rain") also sounded promising, well and truly in the Clash groove; "if they can get this on a record," we agreed on the ride back to Grand Rapids, "they'll prove all the naysayers wrong."

That didn't happen, of course, but we left the MSU Auditorium feeling invigorated by the blast of power and aggression that we'd just witnessed: make no mistake, this band could throw down with anybody.

My other lasting memory of this night is the chaos!  Ducking out for a mid-gig bathroom break, I heard a commotion in the lobby; when I ran out to see what happened, my friends told me that some guy had just run off, carrying a stack of T-shirts under his arms!

This was also the night of the missing money (I have a CREEM blurb from August '84 that puts the amount at $1,700).

I remember asking cohorts on the MSU Programming Board about it, long after the fact: according to them, somebody left the cash in a briefcase, which was promptly taken from a hallway backstage!  (You wonder if that earned the offender a one-way ticket to rock 'n' roll Siberia!)

I got the sleeveless T-shirt (two or three years later) for free from an usher who'd worked the gig on that night...I recently sold it on eBay for $30

Did you go? What do you remember?
Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
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Wpnow - 9 Aug 2017, 20:12  User
I was there ...I waa like 16...fra k some beers at msu ....remember Paul S. Getting pissed about somehthing. Joe using mike like a snorkel ...it was good. I was so excited

  • No known audio or video
    If you know of any recording, please email blackmarketclash

    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

    A collection of interviews, features, articles and tour information from April to August 1984.

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

    Clash bash out of control
    Lansing State Journal - Fri May 11 1984

    Band keeps clashin'
    Lansing State Journal - Sat May 5 1984

    Checkout Vince White's Clash biog, The Last Days of the Clash

    We Are The Clash: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Last Stand of a Band That Mattered
    By Mark Andersen, Ralph Heibutzki

    If you know any please let us know

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    The Clash - Toronto Bus Interview April 1984

    Joe Strummer interviewed by Lisa Robinson for WNYC?

    This 2-part interview presents polar extremes of Joe Strummer. The first part most likely takes place in late 1983, after Mick Jones left the band but before the new Clash line-up started touring together. The majority of this segment involves Strummer heatedly discussing all the reasons Jones was fired. He then goes on to talk animatedly about the new incarnation of the band and how everyone in America is on drugs.

    In the second part of the interview, recorded in the beginning of 1984, Strummer sounds melancholy and exhausted. However, with the departure of Mick Jones from The Clash being old news by this point, Lisa Robinson is able to steer the questioning towards what Strummer makes of performing, success, and his music.

    Part 1
    00:00 Why Mick was fired: emotional blackmail
    01:15 Bitterness
    01:56 Success vs. personal problems
    02:48 Mick's vision for the band / guitar synth
    03:59 Who/what constitutes The Clash
    06:10 Making a not-so-great Clash album: Combat Rock
    07:05 Glyn Johns saves Combat Rock (as per Joe Strummer)
    07:55 Glyn Johns ruins Combat Rock (as per Mick Jones)
    08:35 Forcing Mick Jones to sing "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"
    10:22 An honorable way for a band to go out
    11:00 The two new guitarists (Vince White, Nick Sheppard)
    11:39 Hoping to be possessed
    12:40 A divorced writing partnership with Mick / "Death is a Star"
    14:02 Writing with Paul Simonon / road-testing new songs
    14:55 Pete Howard on drums
    15:07 Recording a new album
    15:49 The US Festival
    16:46 Everybody in America is on drugs
    18:29 [phone]: Mick Jones' response

    Part 2
    00:00 Other aspirations / graphic artist
    00:51 Growing up with a diplomat father
    01:57 A feeling of homelessness
    02:29 Slagged for being middle-class
    02:59 The reaction in Britain to the disbanding of The Clash
    03:45 Taking some criticisms to heart
    04:25 Not enjoying playing in stadiums
    05:45 Crowd behavior / whose fault
    07:13 The ideal performing situation
    07:49 Pros and cons for The Clash getting bigger
    08:30 Avoiding the problems of The Who
    09:09 The commercial success of Combat Rock
    10:48 [A false start]
    11:07 Joe's opinion of The Clash's music
    12:11 Musical influences
    12:45 The blues boom of the 60's in Britain
    15:05 Re-selling R&B to the U.S.

    Joe Strummer Interview Ltd Edition picture disk

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