Sunday, March 04, 2007

Classic Bootleg Series Vol. 2: The Clash - Chaos In New York

Given the name of our little blog, it seems only fitting to go from Dylan at the peak of his powers to The Clash at the peak of theirs. And there are so many tremendous Clash boots, it's tough to turn the spotlight on just one. But when it comes to finding a recording that captures everything that was special about the band, from the performance to the context in which they delivered it, it's tough to beat this one from their legendary 17-gig residency at Bond's Casino in New York, during the tour to promote Sandinista! in the summer of 1981. An article on Wikipedia sets the scene pretty well:
This bootleg was recorded live at Bond's Casino on June 4, 1981 in New York City.

The club was formerly Bonds department store, which had been converted into a large second-floor hall. Promoters kept the name because there was a large Bonds sign on the outside of the building. As The Clash had not yet broken out into mass popularity, eight shows were originally scheduled: May 28, 29, 30, 31 and June 1,2, 3, and 5, 1981. However, given the venue's legal capacity of 3500, the series was blatantly oversold right from the first night, leading fire marshals for the New York Fire Department to cancel the Saturday, May 30 performance. In response, the band condemned the brazen greed of the promoters while demonstrating unprecedented integrity to each and every ticketholder by doubling the original booking with a total of 17 dates extending through June. Strict interpretation of the fire laws meant that audiences were relatively small and the concerts had a feeling of intimacy that future Clash shows in arenas could never recapture. Audience members clambered onto the stage to join in singalongs. New York musicians, including Pearl Harbor, assisted and overseen by Andy Dunkley, provided disc jockey services as the audience entered and gathered.

The concert captures The Clash on the cusp between being a cult band and their short-lived major market penetration. As always with The Clash, even in their arena days, ticket prices were set relatively low.
I had the privilege of seeing The Clash twice, although slightly later and in bigger venues. If musical time travel were possible, these shows at Bond's would be way up there on my list of destinations.


Front cover
Back insert
Booklet outside
Booklet inside

Disc 1:
01 London Calling
02 Safe European Home
03 The Leader
04 Train In Vain (Stand By Me)
05 White Man In Hammersmith Palais
06 This Is Radio Clash
07 Corner Soul
08 The Guns of Brixton
09 The Call Up
10 Bankrobber
11 Complete Control
12 Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice)
13 Ivan Meets G.I. Joe

Disc 2:
01 Charlie Don't Surf
02 The Magnificant Seven
03 Broadway
04 Somebody Got Murdered
05 Police and Thieves
06 (Working For The) Clampdown
07 One More Time
08 Brand New Cadillac
09 The Street Parade
10 Janie Jones
11 Washington Bullets