The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium (Sony BMG)

Lisa Norman | Monday, 29 September 2008

The Clash - Live At Shea Stadium (Sony BMG)

The Clash's sound hasn't aged. From the start of this 1982 recording of the second night of their Shea Stadium concerts, you get the feeling this could have been recorded yesterday. Their frenetic, wild and ambitious vibe is infectious, truly making the listener feel alive.

These recordings by Glyn Johns were found by the late lead singer Joe Strummer while packing for a move. For many years, they remained unreleased and sought after by fans. The atmosphere is electric, appealing to the head banging generation with its attitude of spirited rebellion.

The crowd is barely noticeable as the ripping vocals and heavy rifts take centre stage. It's an energised, flamboyant rock performance from the masters of punk. Opening track 'London Calling' is exhilarating. With its mass of heavy drums and guitars, this well known masterpiece packs an electric rhythm with an instantly recognisable opening beat. 'The Magnificent Seven', lyrically inspired by the newly emerging hip hop legends of the time, also packs a mean punch.

Vocally, Strummer sounds slightly weary and yet seems energised by the crowd's enthusiasm. 'Spanish Bombs' is an ambitious track, yet as the crowd scream, Strummer belts out a melodramatic performance. 'Rock The Casbah' continues in the same vein, a fast paced, frenetic mix of pure energy and class. It was the only Clash song to reach the Top 10 in the US and cover versions included Will Smith's on Will 2K. Its reach is certainly dynamic, but nobody can beat the original.

'Should I Stay Or Should I Go' is perhaps the most commercially played of the singles. Mick Jones takes over the vocals while Strummer backs in Ecuadorian Spanish. The result is electric and outstanding, boasting a ripping drum beat and gravelly vocals. It's loud, melodic and fabulous! Closing track 'I Fought The War' is fitting as an end track. The Bobby Fuller original inspired this cover and The Clash give it a punk rock makeover that's edgy and bursting with punk rock attitude.

Strummer closes by shouting "Mucho gracias, adios", which is soon followed by another roar from the crowd. This is a piece of history that should never be forgotten.

Rating: 5/5