Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Album Review: Live At Shea Stadium from The Clash

I was a mere lad when The Clash played their epic gig at Shea Stadium, opening for The Who on October 12, 1982. Technically speaking, I was just shy of my 12th birthday. I wasn’t yet loyal to any one band and was just starting to figure out the music scene and my place in it. That all changed for me when I heard Give ’Em Enough Rope a few years later. While this is perhaps not The Clash’s finest album, it was my gateway.

So now I’m not a mere lad. I, in fact, have a lad and lass of my own now. But the release of The Clash’s set from Shea Stadium proves, once again, what a great band they were. The set is thrilling to listen to. It’s the band at the top of their game, although teetering on the brink. They had recently fired drummer, Topper Headon, due to his drug use. Tensions were high. (The 11/08 issue of Relix has a great story about the gig.)

It is great to hear some of their older songs played with The Clash’s later influences, such as early hip hop, mixed in. This is chill inspiring stuff, and that’s what matters most about this recording. It’s a testament to the fact that music can save your life. For me, The Clash was one of the first bands that proved this to me. However, Live At Shea Stadium shouldn’t be viewed as an epilogue to The Clash’s greatness. It should be viewed as a further proof of their continued power and influence.


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