Saturday, 11 October 2008

The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium

It's too frequent that bands and musicians get labelled as legendary, which kind of detracts from the import of those that truly deserve the title. It may mean that a re-issue or compilation needs to be released to remind us, but this can also be seen as a cash-in. So you need to teach a lesson through something that's so good, all notions of the musicians in question needing a new swimming pool go out the window. This is just what Live At Shea Stadium does.

Recorded back in 1982 when The Clash were at their peak, despite all the songs you remember (and there's far more than you'd even realise), it could have been recorded a few months ago. The sound is incredibly clear, but sounding very live it captures the essence of a concert incredibly well. The songs are played with an instant urgency that makes these twenty-odd year old songs sound as fresh as the day they were put to record. It's a live attack that seems so well performed you cannot believe this isn’t even a headlining set. They’re opening for The Who, yet from the noise the crowd makes you can understand why people said of the gig that there were as many The Clash fans as there were fans of The Who.

The songs are fantastic, even though many of you will have heard them umpteen times; the crisp sound combined with the live element brings them to life. All the songs you'd expect; 'London Calling', 'Tommy Gun', 'Rock The Casbah', do not disappoint, but even the less well-known tracks impress; 'Career Opportunities' and 'Police On My Back' in particular proving highlights. But all you really need to do is consider how many bands can have as good a back-to-back finale as 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go?' and 'I Fought The Law'? Let's be honest, there’s about three.

For any existing fan of The Clash, you’ll probably already know that it's a must to get hold of this release. For those that have never heard The Clash or seen what all the fuss was about, this release is as good a place to start as their London Calling album. This is no cash-in; it's a fiery reminder of just why The Clash are the reason for most of the music you listen to.

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