In late January and early February of 1982 the Clash played eight shows in Japan. The band was embarking on a month-long tour of the Far East that, as fate would have it, would be the last tour with their classic lineup. When it was over, drummer Topper Headon was kicked out because of his disruptive drug habit, and the band would never be the same. In this video we roll back the clock to see and hear the Clash in the twilight of their heyday.
The concert was apparently filmed on the fourth night of the tour, at the Nakano Sun Plaza in Tokyo on January 28, 1982. According to music journalist Chris Salewicz’s book Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Stummer, the Clash had refused to play in Japan prior to this tour because of the Japanese custom forbidding audience members to stand up. They agreed to play after a compromise was struck: The fans could stand, but only at their seats.
The band had just finished recording Combat Rock, but none of the songs from the unreleased record are in the film. At one point, bassist Paul Simonon’s wife Pearl Harbor (a.k.a. Pearl E. Gates) of the new wave band Pearl Harbor and the Explosions joins the Clash onstage to sing “Fujiyama Mama.” Here’s the set list:
- London Calling
- Safe European Home
- (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais
- Brand New Cadillac
- Charlie Don’t Surf
- This is Radio Clash
- Armagideon Time
- Jimmy Jazz
- Tommy Gun
- Fujiyama Mama
- Police On My Back
- White Riot
The Clash’s charismatic frontman, Joe Strummer, died ten years ago this Saturday, on December 22, 2002. You can read a little about him in our Aug. 21 post, “Remembering the Clash’s Frontman Joe Strummer on His 60th Birthday.” But perhaps a good way to remember him would be to watch this film, a rare visual record of a concert by the group many called “the only band that matters.”
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