I NEVER saw The Clash play live. I was just 10 when the band sacked Mick Jones but if I could go back in time and had the choice of seeing any band from any era or any country play, I’d pick The Clash. Every time.
On Saturday night, I didn’t quite go back in time but I saw a little piece of history being made – the first time Mick Jones has played Clash songs live on stage without Joe Strummer by his side. The fact that it was in Liverpool was fitting. Liverpool has always loved The Clash and Mick’s other band, Big Audio Dynamite, who picked this city to play their first comeback gig after 20 years away back in March. I was there that night in the O2 and it was brilliant. However, nothing can top seeing Mick Jones singing ‘Train in Vain’ in The Olympia and seeing the smile on his face as he and The Farm and Pete Wylie blasted through ‘Stay Free’, ‘White Man…’ and countless other classics from first The Clash and then BAD’s ‘Rush’.
Everything about the night – the venue, (a proper venue, as compare John Rob commented in his excellent review of the night), the cause, the politics, the crowd (Reds, Blues, old punks, skins and music fans of all ages) and the music – was perfect. Joe Strummer would have loved it.
Picking just 10 songs for this list was not easy – even ‘London Calling’, ‘Bankrobber’ and ‘Train in Vain’ didn’t make the list. I’ve left out songs I’ve loved for years but made the task slightly easier by excluding all covers – despite the fact that ‘Police on my Back’ and ‘I Fought The Law’ are two of my favourite tunes ever. Anyway, here’s my personal Top 10 from the coolest band ever – how many would make your list?
10. Rudie Can’t Fail
9. The Magnificent Seven
8. I’m Not Down (Long version)
7. Complete Control
6. Piano Song (From ‘Rude Boy’)
5. Straight To Hell
4. Gates of the West
3. Spanish Bombs
2. Stay Free
1. (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais