Impossible Mission Tour

last updated Jan 2005
updated April 2024 - added posters, tickets and new remastered audio, articles

many various copies circulating

There are many various copies circulating, much of muchness. But a soundboard which as recently surfaced is quite a delight.

The LP Londonderry is included and is the poorest of all copies, though not bad. Others are margibally better audience copies. Older copies split Armagideon Time over 2 tracks

Audio 2 - Audience

Sound 3.5 - 1hr 38mins - gen? - 27 tracks
White Riot cuts off at the end

Audio 3 - Audience

Sound 3.5 - 1hr 40mins - low - 27 tracks

Safe European Home

Audio 5 - Soundboard

Sound 4.5 - 1hr 40mins - low - 27 tracks

Safe European Home

Audio 6 - LP

Sound 3.5 - 1hr 14mins - low - 20 tracks

Safe European Home

Audio 8 - 'remastered'

Sound 3.5 - 1hr 40mins - low - 20 tracks

Safe European Home

Three versions from the same source recording circulate of the concert:

Londonderry LP

A double LP bootleg, inexplicably titled Londonderry first circulated in the early 80’s and was one of the rarer bootleg LP’s to be found for sale in the rougher end of Portobello Market in London at the time. It contains 21 of the 27 tracks played and has good sound. Some cdr’s circulate from a worn out copy but one sourced from an LP in good condition also widely circulates. This gig, in the form of the Londonderry bootleg sometimes mis-circulates as the Milan Bullring from the 26th May.

full concert

A full concert CDR has marginally poorer sound than the Londonderry LP’s and is several copies off the master, running slowly as a result.

major upgrade

A major upgrade advertised on ebay in 2004 has significantly the best sound. It reveals the master recording as a superb quality audience source. The sound quality is so good it appears at first that it must be from a pro-soundboard source but voices heard at times near the microphone suggest otherwise. The sound quality is so good that it must come from very close indeed to the original master recording.

The upgrade cdr is less harsh, has greater clarity, detail and immediacy than the Londonderry LP’s. Vocals and instrumentation are crystal clear and upfront, displaying none of the distance problems associated with an audience source. Bass is somewhat low in the mix but if boosted is clear and undistorted.

There is a little distortion and a lack of pro-separation but that apart it has a hugely enjoyable sound.

15,000 people were inside the stadium with a reported 5,000 more fighting with security to get in

The Clash played in Italy only a handful of times but when they did play, it was always more than a concert; it was an event. In June 1980 they played the now legendary free concerts for the PCI (Italian socialist/communist party) in Torino and in the stunning setting of the Piazza Maggiore in Bologna. In May 1981 The Clash returned to Italy to play in Milano, San Remo and Firenze (a planned Roma concert never came together).

The Milano concert was certainly an event; 15,000 people were inside the stadium with a reported 5,000 more fighting with security to get in. The concert itself was in doubt up to the last minute when the authorities reluctantly gave permission.

By most accounts including Joe’s, Firenze (Florence) was the best of the Italian shows. However in Milano from the evidence of a superb audience recording, The Clash gave a terrific performance too, (especially in the second half of the concert). Indeed in terms of performance and sound quality thanks to a recent upgrade this is very probably the best Impossible Mission Tour bootleg.

This is another recording too that demonstrates the importance of the dynamics within the band. For a Clash concert to be really exceptional, i.e. to burn (“..those nights when it burns, when you cease to be anybody at all, you are just part of something, your hands take over, you don’t know what you’re doing or saying, it BURNS” Joe Strummer) the four members of the band had to be fired up and contributing to the full. From the evidence of all the many live recordings of the band it is impossible not to conclude that the key ingredient that was most likely to be missing, especially in 81, was Mick.

Topper was arguably at his very best in 81 and if Paul’s interest went missing in some shows he could be relied on to respond if the other dynamics in the band were right. Joe Strummer, of course, was one of a very select group of performers for whom giving less than 100% was a rarity rather than the norm. To not give your all on stage was one of the worst sins in Joe’s personal moral code!

In Milano, in the first third of the concert and in a number of other performances on this tour, Mick displayed a degree of dis-interest in playing lead guitar. When he did play, his guitar amp levels were turned down so that Joe’s rhythm guitar was the more dominant guitar in the sound mix.

When Mick was coasting like this The Clash still delivered highly enjoyable live shows. But when he too was giving 100%, The Clash’s music was truly incendiary and the recent accolades of THE greatest rock’n’roll band are surely justified.

In Milano, Mick was playing well, adding some great licks here and there but Joe was audibly coaxing him to really deliver his full 100%. Mick announced his total involvement in the concert in dramatic style with the ringing intro to The Leader echoing around the stadium. From there onwards his playing is a sheer delight, shatteringly incisive and inventive, never crude or bludgeoning or dominating the total sound of the band. His playing inspires the rest of the band to a higher level so that on the 21st May 1981 Milano truly was burning!


Clash City Collectors | Facebook

an original Poster Kindly shared by Gianluca Pescio / Link

Pass - Sponsored by Radio CITTA


the best gig I ever went to

Tony Cad / Link

Vellodromo Vigorelli, Milan

Ferrucio Martinotti has kindly provided these comments on the venue and the concert:

The Vigorelli was an ancient open-air stadium built for cycle races and then used for athletic competitions. Unlike the bad vibes in the audience of the 1980 Torino concert my memories of Milan bring to my head a fantastic atmosphere and a literally terrific and spectacular concert.

The recording starts with Morricone’s “60 seconds to what?” from a Few Dollars More and was the signal that The Clash were about to hit the stage. The sound quality is so good that the dramatic almost bizarre quality of this music is really apparent; the organ sounding like something from Hammer House Of Horror!

Cheers from the audience; “Hello Milano” greets Joe. Topper hits the hi-hat but Mick is not ready. “We’re ready, Prego!”, another pause then an exasperated Joe pleads “Mick”. This is a snapshot of the first third of the show; Joe encouraging Mick to open up and play guitar, Mick seemingly content to contribute here and there and keep his guitar levels down in the mix.

London Calling nevertheless is a very fine performance; Joe’ s contribution is 100% right from the start, his vocals urgent and charged, and his guitar playing crystal clear and upfront. Mick’s solo in contrast is too far back in the mix to be really effective. Topper’s drumming as usual on this tour is a delight and very clear and detailed on the recording. Paul’s bass lines come through well, driving the rhythm of the song along.

Safe European Home next is unleashed on Milano; a terrific performance only soured by Mick’s guitar fills again too far back in the mix. It thunders along powered by Topper’s drumming and Paul’s clear bass lines. Joe’s really up for it, his vocals getting ever more urgent, adding cries and screams.

White Man In Hammersmith Palais again is 95% perfect just lacking the guitar licks that Mick could play but are either missing or too low in volume. Joe’s vocals sound superb, layered in echo and Mick adds his trademark doo-wop backing vocals.

“Light up the drummer” shouts Joe as Topper beats out the intro to Train In Vain. For the first time Mick’s guitar is upfront and clear but again soon its Joe’s guitar doing the work until the ending coda when again Mick comes in but although his vocals are committed his guitar playing is somewhat lacking.

Topper beats out a rhythm then Joe roars “Strike!” A very fine Lightning Strikes follows the band getting into a funk groove, which is tight and hard as nails. Joe’s vocals are terrific, the song now compact losing some of the less than effective improvised workouts on some of the earlier performances on the tour. Mick plays some great licks but Joe knows he can do better, “shush” says Joe mid song “Not you, yes Mick!” encouraging him to play more guitar.

“Down the road” sings Joe and a change of pace with a delightful Junco Partner Mick adds effects, Joe a “1 million lire” and Topper moves it along apace with some inspired percussion. Before Guns Of Brixton some missiles are thrown but with little accuracy, “Missed you cunt, you missed!” After a quick guitar swop Paul scratches out his intro on Joe’s Telecaster, while Joe lays down Paul’s bass lines. Mick adds some delicate guitar fills on top. Not extended as some earlier performances but very effective and enjoyable.

A blood curdling scream from Joe begins an excellent This Is Radio Clash. The bands playing is super tight and effective and in an extended section Joe adlibs “Where are we, what are we doing, why are we here!” “Got the flag here,” says Joe as presumably an Italian flag is thrown up to him. Mick’s gentle guitar intro arpeggio disguises the imminent aural assault of Complete Control, which Toppers bass drum then heralds. Then follows one of the best performances of the song, 81-style that teases out every drop of drama but without losing the passion and intensity of old. Mick’s solo is great but his guitar is still turned too low to really cut through. He is clearly getting more and more fired up though and a great Clash performance is gathering momentum.

There is an edit before The Call Up. This is the first quality live recording of the song and it’s one of the highlights of the night, played much harder than the recorded version. The song begins with Mick’s synth-like effects then a shouted “1-2-3-4” and Joe plays the guitar melody. “Call it up one more time.. Guitar, yeah” shouts Joe mid song as Mick opens out and plays some great guitar but he’s still holding back. “Hup 2, 3, 4” says Joe and Mick takes the cue screaming out “Hup 2-3-4” as the song builds to a climax. “Missed you cunt” interjects Joe as more missiles are thrown and the song ends with Joe’s “there is a rose…rosa” left hanging in the air drenched in echo and feedback.

Joe has a go at one of the throwers and intros Ivan Meets GI, “You’re fucking useless with a bottle!..Well I’m ready for the east-west confrontation!” A song that never translated well to a live setting but tonight sounds good, the sound quality revealing detail and depth in the song.

Charlie Don’t Surf” says Joe but Mick has other ideas and with his guitar intro to The Leader ringing out around the stadium its as though he is signalling his total involvement in the concert. His playing here on is a delight and the band respond; an already hugely enjoyable performance becomes exceptional. The Clash had got Milano to the point of combustion now it was time to burn!

“Turn the lights off, turn the engine on and lets go to Saigon!” shouts Joe as he starts to play the ‘chopper sound’ and a terrific Charlie Don't Surf begins. The 2 guitar interplay now crystal clear and stunningly effective. There’s no adlibs but as the song drops down to drum and bass the audience respond as described in the Italian press article.

“Give me the bass drum” shouts Joe and The Clash slam into an awesome Magnificent Seven with Mick’s guitar razor sharp and thrillingly effective. Joe’s vocals as ever tonight are superb in classic Strummer style. “Guittarro!” shouts Joe as the song goes into the bridge, the band kicking up a ferocious storm. “Magnificent” roars Joe repeatedly over Topper’s superb drumming and Paul’s thumping bass lines. Magnificent indeed; the band on a roll.

The pace drops (to give the band and audience a breather) but not the quality as Joe sings solo before Mick comes in to play the melody of Bankrobber. Mick’s playing a joy now filling the spaces in the song without dominating the song like some of the 1980 performances. He allows the rhythm section to shine but adds great subtle guitar licks. The audience respond singing the melody, “Grazzia Milano” repeats Joe as the audience cheer, the music drops down to drum and bass and Mick adds backing vocals.

“Rhythm and blues” says Joe and Mick responds adding stinging guitar arpeggios over the 81-style intro of WrongEm Boyo. Joe is clearly really enjoying it and no doubt too the band’s performance, adding trademark Strummer cries and encouragement during the Ska section.

No pause for a break as Joe shouts “Murder” and the band build brilliantly from a gentle start until Joe bashes out some urgent chords and the band soar into a majestic Somebody Got Murdered. This is classic Clash, there’s some distortion (but then there should be!) turn up the volume and grin from ear to ear.

On many of the gigs from this tour its not until Career Opportunities in the set that the band hit top gear but tonight Milano’s been burning quite some time! Topper beats the bass drum; Joe just calmly says “Prego” and the band slam into the punk classic as though it is still 77. No pause for breath as Joe shouts “Clampdown” Joe and the band launch into an incredible performance, the highlight of highlights tonight maybe. As Mauro says in his account the start of Clampdown sent shivers down his spine and thanks to this excellent recording it can do so for many more years to come!

Here, is the proof, if any were needed that this was one of those nights that Joe described “when it burns, when you cease to be anybody at all, you are just part of something, your hands take over, you don’t know what you’re doing or saying, it BURNS”. The music the band are playing is ferociously tight and effective conjuring up an apocalyptic sound to match the lyrics. Joe is lost in the music and adlibbing “never worn it anyhow, to be working for the clampdown, they say its better money now, they say get a good life, think about your woman now, say the Internationale, say the Internationale”.

The sound is so good if you close your eyes you can picture the great man lost in the music, slashing away at his guitar repeatedly intoning “Working For the Clampdown” as Topper’s drumming thunders around him. The song ends but Joe’s still lost in the “burn” continually repeating “Working for the Clampdown, paying to be melted down” unconscious of or unwilling to acknowledge that the band has stopped and he is singing solo. Topper and then Paul start up again “Pick it up, snare, snare” says Joe, then Mick comes in, Joe thrashing on his guitar. Finally, he says “Alright I give up now” Topper keeps it going until finally the band bring a unique performance of the song to an end, and leave the stage.

There is no drop in the intensity and quality of the performance through the encores. The recording cuts out the gap after the main set and starts straight in at the first encore with One More Time. Another terrific performance “Must I get a witness” pleads Joe and Mick conjures up a dramatic discordant section using effects and guitar, while Paul and Topper hold it all together. Without a pause it’s straight into a simply stunning Brand New Cadillac and then a scorching Janie Jones. The band leave the stage again with Mick’s guitar feedback left echoing around the stadium.

The 2nd encore begins with a military style drum intro; changing bass line rhythms from Paul and a display of Mick’s sound effects. There’s then a brief pause and it’s into the Armagideon Time bass line. Over the hard as nails rhythm section Joe sings great passionate vocals with cries and screams to which Mick adds layers of terrific echoed guitar licks. No laid back reggae number this, its raging, almost psychedelic, magnificent. I Fought The Law says Joe and the band rip into a brilliantly intense performance. With only a short pause for Joe to strum his guitar, he roars “Milano’s Burning”. Joe screams and rants over the final section of a ferocious performance. “Gratzzi Milano” repeats Joe as 15,000 plus Milanese roar their approval and the band leave the stage.

Tonight there was no doubt complete agreement from Mick to return for a third encore and play White Riot. But first it’s Jimmy Jazz, a usual live highlight and again tonight it does not disappoint. Joe adlibs, “If you think I’m gonna go round grassing him up, you got another thing coming!” As Jazz ends Topper goes into a frantic drum solo intro before the band tear into a manic White Riot. As the song ends Topper starts it straight back up again, “Count us in to the E” pleads a weary hoarse Joe.

No apologies for the superlatives in this piece. This excellent sounding bootleg captures The Clash on an exceptional night. Beg, borrow, steal.

Melody Maker: Safe European Home

6 June 81

text file

Paulo Hewitt was at the concert reporting for Melody Maker (see link). Coverage of the tour in the English press had been almost non-existent and his article is revealing about the music press’ attitude towards The Clash in 1981.

No negative review from Paolo though, a Jam fanatic and Clash supporter. His concert review describes the start of the concert; Like a field of poppies blown upwards by a vicious wind, 15,000 Italians rise to meet The Clash in a Milan cycling stadium. London Calling was harsher and played with a lot more passion than on the record.

NME: Punk may have eventually

Italy-preview - 15 May 1981

6 page Italian Review of Milan and Florence gigs with interview and photos

Archive PDF ... text only, Italian

Rockstar, poster, The Clash

Oct 1981

Poster and pictures from the italian magazine "Rockstar" oct.1981

The Essential Clash Bootleg Bible includes this gig

Chris Knowles

Did you go? Comments, info welcome...

Info, articles, reviews, comments or photos welcome.
email blackmarketclash

Eyewitness accounts

Witnessing this concert had a lasting impact on many of those lucky enough to be there. Mauro Zaccuri was one and his account is on his excellent site Many thanks to Ezio Faro (Evair) for this English translation and to Mauro for permission to use his article:

Even just before the concert Milan town hall had still not given the required permission to the Vigorelli Stadium to go ahead and let The Clash play. Reopened for the occasion, the Vigorelli, in the eyes of the public authority, did not have enough safety guarantees. And who would have explained it to over

15.000 people who had already got tickets? Who would have braked the tension of the fans that waited with anticipation for the arrival of the Clash on the national ground? The organizers and the town hall found a compromise and, also with an amended group of bouncers, the concert took place. A lot of people remained without tickets and tried at different times to break down the gates, often succeeding and also provoking hard and bloody clashes.

We (me and my friend Enrico) arrived early and we entered without problems. It was a rather warm evening and in the long waiting we became "amortized" from beers and other. I was 17 years old and I had a great desire to involve myself physically in the concert. Around 20:00 a confrontation started (not particularly violent) by a group of Milanese anarchic punks (zone centro sociale Virus) near the stage. The confrontation concerned obviously the change to "disco" of the Clash, the abandonment of punk ideals, and the betrayal of the spirit of 77, the signing to CBS etc. The usual accusations denied, by the facts, by the concrete actions of the band in that period.

Around 21:00, when a light evening wind blow around the stadium, they interrupted the notes of the reggae music playing up to that moment in the background with a loud explosion of sound; the tex-mex chords of Morricone, prelude to the entry of the Clash on the stage. Here they are, the Clash, and a piece of my heart flies on the stage together with all those present. Italian rock fans have viscerally loved the Clash, perhaps more than in any other country in Europe or the world. And in that evening, and in the others that followed, we gave demonstration of this immense affection.

The powerful guitars of London Calling cut the air and they disintegrated my doubts; "Safe European Home" is rough and sharp as a blade, "White Man.. ", announced by Strummer, is one of the most beautiful songs written in the history of the Clash. With "Train in Vain" it is Mick Jones driving the operations, performing a rock-song of real class. The quality of the amplification is not satisfactory at all but the intensity of the band seems to make that fact disappear.

Joe thanks in Italian and Topper introduces the presentation of the new tracks of Sandinista through a rhythmic flood of effects. The audience shout and clap in rhythm with the band as they start the stupendous "The Call Up", where Joe tries to insert some Italian words. An intense finale and martial passage in which the military footstep is articulated "1-2-3-4… " An Irish flag flies on the stage from who knows where from.

Then follows the funk of Ivan Meets G.I. Joe and the rockabilly of The Leader. The version daydreams of "Charlie Don't Surf", introduced by the hoarse voice of Strummer, and majestically played on high and low. All the tracks of Sandinista are rearranged in a rock key to great effect. Also very inspired is the execution of The Magnificent Seven where Jones plays the call and response chorus with the audience. Joe Strummer starts solo with "Daddy was a bankrobber…. ", and he invites the rest of the band to play Bankrobber, this hypnotic reggae, performed, as usual, very well. Worth noting the great job of the rhythm section: Paul with the bass and Topper with the drums and also with the more rocking lines of Mick. Joe thanks the Milan audience more times for their warm reaction shown. Then he intros Somebody Got Murdered, the most classical Clash style track on Sandinista, then follows Career Opportunities, historical piece from the punk period.

As always the attack of Clampdown sends shivers down the spine, then with One More Time (one of my favourite songs in the whole Clash canon) apotheosis is reached. An absolutely amazing version with the guitar of Jones that vertically cuts the dub. Great! Fly away Brand New Cadillac and the punk old style of Janie Jones. A reggae version, heavy with echoes and effects, of Armagideon Time, while it is being practically perfect in the irresistible intro of I Fought The Law.

Strummer rechristens London's Burning; Milano's Burning and frees the strength and the compactness of the track. Jones does a great job with the guitar in the introduction of Jimmy Jazz with the audience clapping along to the rhythm again. The end of the song is really vigorous and anticipates without standstill the conclusive track: White Riot…. the public explodes in a physical delirium.

The Clash leave the stage and they pull the plug…. Thanks for everything.

Ezio Fara, was also at the concert and has kindly provided these recollections;

I confirm there wasn't any political sponsorship. I'm not sure about the price, something between 5 and 10 Euros... Quite cheap, but I remember somebody saying "The Clash aren't the same, now they want to make money ... We bought the ticket in advance and I remember there were reported fights outside the venue, because many people couldn't get tickets (it was really unusual at that time that a rock show sold out...) The audience was almost totally of Clash fans and leftist sympathisers. In many songs the audience were singing with the left fist up to the sky.. I can confirm that at that time most of the Clash fans were leftist. The doubts about the political inclination of the Clash were resolved with interviews shown on TV from the 1980 Italian concerts and with the Rude Boy movie.

In the 80's the young new fascists were trying to assimilate the Clash as right wing due to the fact they wore black shirts (that's stupid, I know) and some voices were coming from England. They succeeded with the Ramones (the motorcycle leather jacket was at that time a symbol cloth of the fascist) and some nazi references in their songs helped... and it took a little more years to relocate the Ramones on the left wing for the Italian culture...

But The Clash, after the 1980 tour, they became a myth, the symbol of the Italian Leftist parties, especially the PCI, communist, that, was a kind of popular-labourist party, not aligned with Moscow. The title of their album Sandinista defined for everybody in the Italian press the Clash's social and leftist conscience.

So, there was a great expectation for the Clash show in 1981. There was no Internet; the English music papers did not come regularly to Italy, so there wasn't sureness about how the show would be like...

There was so much interest in the Clash conversion to Rap music, songs like Magnificent Seven and Lightning Strikes played continuously on the radio and in all kinds of clubs!

But anyway, the Show was brilliant! The Clash were always the Clash! The new songs live were rocking! The Clash were perfect! Very professional! I mean: no doubt about their technique. They were The Band of the moment!

Joe, I remember said in an interview that they'd never played to such large crowds as they did in Italy and he said the Italian audience was the hottest of all.

He was surprised to see more than 20,000 in Milan (almost the same in Firenze) singing all their songs for almost 2 hours show. They played an extended This is Radio Clash and the audience loved it. I particularly liked Radio Clash on the Milan show.

The sound was very good and there were a lot of effects (reverb, delay) on the voices and on the music. The reggae tracks were amazing! This time they finished the show with White Riot, I'm sure.

Paul played extremely well, Topper sang Ivan, Mick was brilliant on Charlie don't Surf and Somebody Got Murdered. Joe was very "tuned" with the crowd, he was superb. He tried to tell some Italian words (formaggio for cheese on Mag7, I'll always remember...). I think that the greatest moment of the show was in One More Time, the dub effects made a very magic atmosphere and they played like nobody else...

All the reviews I read later were enthusiastic. I remember that also the first wave punk fans were satisfied with that show. There wasn't any TV report this time.

I remember that a popular TV music show called "Disco Ring" (something like Top of the Pops) announced the Clash’s participation but they didn't show up... There was another TV show of the time, Mr. Fantasy was the name and Carlo Massarini was the compere, where the Clash were practically their heroes: their videos were always being shown. But Massarini also didn't succeed in have a video interview with the Clash.

Another great moment of my life...



21 MAY 1981"

Review by RadioClash
(by Mauro Zaccuri with the collaboration of Enrico Biffi)


Too strong the emotions in feeling the bootleg of the Milan concert dated 1981. We did not succeed in the attempt (in reality we did not want to do it) to stop the "virtual pen" that resurrected the memories of that evening dating back to 21 years ago.

The Clash came to Italy for the first real mini-tour organized in the peninsula. Problems of various kinds came with us: interpersonal (the ever-increasing clash of personalities between Jones-Strummer), health (Headon's drug addiction), financial (the sales of the new "Sandinista!" Were certainly not up to the effort. artistic product).

But the band has always had the great merit of not transferring internal concerns and problems to the stage. The troubles were outside the window, on the stage the four magically found determination, compactness, class.
So it was also in Milan, 1981, a concert to which I approached a little skeptical after having digested (badly) the funk turns of Sandinista. After the show my opinion on the artistic turn of the Clash was practically reversed. Thank goodness I had attended the concert of the best rock'n'roll band of all time.

The concert :
1. London Calling - 2. Safe European Home - 3. White Man in Hammersmith Palais - 4. Train in Vain - 5. The Call Up - 6. Ivan Meets GI Joe - 7. The Leader - 8. Charlie Don 't Surf - 9. The Magnificent Seven - 10. Bankrobber - 11. Somebody Got Murdered - 12. Career Opportunities - 13. Clampdown - 14. One More Time - 15. Brand New Cadillac - 16. Janie Jones - 17. Armagideon Time - 18. I Fought the Law - 19. London's Burning - 20. Jimmy Jazz - 21. White Riot. (NB: We are not sure that all the songs played that night by the Clash are present in the bootleg under consideration)

In the days preceding the show, the prefecture of Milan had not given the Vigorelli accessibility to host the show. Reopened for the occasion, the Vigorelli, in the eyes of the public authorities, did not give sufficient guarantees of safety. And who explained it to over 15,000 people with tickets? Who would have curbed the tension of the fans who were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Clash on national soil? The organizers and the prefecture found a compromise and, albeit with a botched service, the concert took place. The many people left without a ticket tried for several hours to break through the gates, often succeeding, causing even very hard and bloody clashes.

We (me and my friend Enrico) arrived well in advance and entered without problems.

It was a rather warm evening and the long wait was "cushioned" by beers and more. I was 17 and a huge desire to be physically involved in the concert. Around 8.00 pm a protest (not particularly violent) began under the stage of a group of Milanese anarchist punxes (Virus social center area). The dispute obviously concerned the "disco" turning point of the Clash, the abandonment of punk ideals, the betrayal of the spirit 77, the sale to the majors etc…. The usual accusations denied, in my opinion, by the facts, by the concrete acts carried out in that period and even recently (have you ever wondered for example why the Clash, despite pharaonic economic offers,

Around 9.00 pm, when the evening lights envelop the stadium, the notes of the reggae music held up to that moment in the background are interrupted, and a terrifying roar welcomes the Tex-Mex notes of Morricone, prelude to the entry of the Clash on the stage. Here they are, the Clash, and a piece of my heart flies on stage together with that of all present. The Italy of rock has viscerally loved the Clash, perhaps like no other audience in Europe and in the world. And on that evening, and in the others that followed, he demonstrated this immense affection.

London Calling's powerful guitars cut the air and disintegrate my doubts, "Safe European Home" is tough and sharp as a blade, "White Man ..", announced by Strummer, is one of the most beautiful songs written in the history of Clash. With "Train in Vain" is Mick Jones to lead the operations, proposing a rock song of great class. The quality of the amplification is not at all satisfactory but the determination of the band seems to make this problem disappear too.

Joe thanks in Italian and Topper introduces the presentation of the new Sandinista pieces through a rhythm full of effects. The audience cheers the band to the rhythm that starts with the wonderful "The Call Up", where Joe tries to insert a few Italian words. Final of an intense and martial piece in which the military step is marked "1-2-3-4 ..." An Irish flag also flies on the stage, which has come from who knows where.

Follow the funk of Ivan Meets GI Joe and the rockabilly of The Leader. Fantastic version of "Charlie Don't Surf", introduced by Strummer's husky voice, and masterfully played on highs and lows. All Sandinista's songs are arranged in a rock key and acquire great depth.

The performance of The Magnificent Seven is also very inspired, where Jones plays with the audience in recalling the most well-known phrases of the piece.

Joe Strummer starts alone with "Daddy was a bankrobber….", And invites the rest of the band to play Bankrobber, this hypnotic reggae performed, as usual, very well. Note of merit to the great work of the rhythm section: Paul on bass and Topper on drums and also to Mick's phrasing in a more rock key. Joe thanks the Milan public several times for the warmth shown.

Then he attacks Somebody Got Murdered, the most classic Clash piece in Sandinista, which is followed by Career Opportunities, a historic piece of the punk period.

As always, the Clampdown attack puts the chills, then with One More Time (one of my favorite pieces of the entire Clash production) the apotheosis is reached. An absolutely gorgeous version with Jones' guitar cutting the dub vertically. Great!

Brand New Cadillac and Janie Jones old style punk fly away. The reggae version, dilated between echoes and effects of "Armagideon Time", imposes itself, while it is practically perfect in its irresistible stride I Fought The Law.

Strummer renames London's Burning in Milano's Burning and releases the strength and compactness of the song.

Great work by Jones on the guitar in the introduction of Jimmy Jazz with the audience beating time with their hands again. The ending of the piece is really vigorous and relentlessly anticipates the final piece: White Riot…. the audience explodes in a physical and cerebral delirium.

The Clash leave the stage and pull the plug…. Thanks for everything.

Clash on Tour -
Clash Contro il Divieto Milan 21 Maggio
(Original Italian article.pdf)

The Italian music paper Il Mucchio Selvaggio included a great article on the Italian concerts: a review of the Milano concert, a review and interviews in Firenze and an interview with Mick in San Remo (link). Ernesto de Pascale, has kindly given permission to include the article which is hosted on his excellent website,

The article includes photos taken by Ernesto backstage in Firenze but the live photos apparently of Milano, are intriguingly credited to be from Zurich, a concert not previously included in Impossible Mission tour lists.

A literal translation of the Milano concert review translates its title as Clash against the Prohibition, which relates to the problems with the authorities in giving permission for the concert but is not a bad description of what The Clash were all about!

The reviewer, Mauro Zambellini, berates the lack of decent venues in the Milano area; there were none that provided both good acoustics and a good view of the bands. There was meager visibility in the Velodromo Vigorelli except for those in the front and there were amplification problems.

He describes the visual impact of the band as halfway between the film Cruising and rockabilly! Mick in red shirt resembles Keith Richards. He is a little lavish enfant and his attitudes have won him lots of critics in the English newspapers. Joe is described as the essence of The Clash, constantly in motion, a proletarian James Dean.

When they play London Calling the crowd move and I am stretched out. With Safe European Home and White Man the punks near the stage go crazy. There is no space for anyone, a crush, is a hell. Clash that is the crash is actual what the legend hands down damned glamour of the rebellion.

The concert changes with Guns of Brixton, reminding of recent events (Brixton riots), the dark voice of Simonon and the bass notes articulated like shotgun blasts. Headon beats hard on his drums and Jones puts his hands on a species of synth that replaces the work of Mickey Gallagher and Strummer introduces Charlie Don’t Surf, on the screen images of Vietnam. Paradoxically it is one of the sweetest moments of the concert, the singing of Joe, Mick and Paul superimpose in a winding game of waves that from the stage spread themselves to all of the cycle track. It is one of the most intense moments of the concert; their rock music for a moment is visionary and hallucinatory.

Then Magnificent Seven is exciting and angry, and then Somebody Got Murdered, Mick’s guitar cuts the body in half, making you jump in the air. Those vocals, sensual and depraved, the more hidden emotions capture you.

After the band leave the stage after Clampdown the writer describes those at the front near the stage as fully satisfied, they had moved, danced, saw the hell, yielded to the charismatic energy of the filthy voice of Joe Strummer(!). But further back where the sound was worse and the view poor he found there was perplexity and curiosity.

The encore of One More Time is described as magical dub that moves your legs. The writer lists incorrectly that Jimmy Jazz gently sent the audience home, and not the opposite reality of White Riot.


Joe Strummer, The Clash, Milan, Italy, 1981

Punk Rock Graveyard / Link

Joe Strummer, The Clash, Milan, Italy, 1981 by Janette Beckman “I shot this photo of Joe Strummer for Melody Maker Magazine before a concert in a bicycle stadium in Milan. We were in an underground tunnel which served as a makeshift dressing room. Everyone was very stoned and the atmosphere was intense as I photographed each band member.”

Melody Maker

Paulo Hewitt was at the concert reporting for Melody Maker (see link). Coverage of the tour in the English press had been almost non-existent and his article is revealing about the music press’ attitude towards The Clash in 1981.

No negative review from Paolo though, a Jam fanatic and Clash supporter. His concert review describes the start of the concert; Like a field of poppies blown upwards by a vicious wind, 15,000 Italians rise to meet The Clash in a Milan cycling stadium. London Calling was harsher and played with a lot more passion than on the record.

He makes some accurate and perceptive points; they are now international. Clash music now incorporates all kinds of styles for all kinds of people. It is as far removed from that debut album, as anything is likely to be.

With Bernie back, now The Clash have never seemed more buoyant both on and off stage. Hour and a half set delivered with a lot of verve, energy and spirit, images and snapshots kept appearing on screen behind the band.

The language barrier was not a barrier; What they did understand was that The Clash are about spirit and defiance. It was a visible thing as anybody who has seen The Clash on stage can tell you.

What I think is that somewhere along the line The Clash put their music first and their attitude second!

Draped in an Italian flag Joe bids Milan goodbye. Its been a great show culminating in a vicious White Riot and London’s Burning. Only Bankrobber, Brand New Cadillac and Jimmy Jazz had grated.

It’s very unfashionable at the moment [amongst the English music media] to say this but The Clash were great live, I enjoyed nearly every damn minute. To say otherwise would be lying. I can’t do that”



London Calling
Safe European Home
White Man In Ham Palais
Train In Vain
Lightning Strikes *
Junco Partner *
The Guns Of Brixton *
This Is Radio Clash *
Complete Control *
The Call Up
Ivan Meets GI Joe
The Leader
Charlie Don't Surf
The Magnificent Seven
Wrong 'Em Boyo
Somebody Got Murdered
Career Opportunities
One More Time
Brand New Cadillac
Janie Jones
Armagideon Time
I Fought the Law
Milano's Burning
Jimmy Jazz
White Riot

Londonderry 2 LP





London Calling
Safe European Home
White Man in Hammersmith
Train in Vain
The Call Up

Ivan meets GI joe
The Leader
Charlie Dont Surf
Magnificent 7

Somebody got Murdered
Career Opportunities
One More Time
Brand New Cadilac
Janie Jones

Armagiddeon Time
I fought the Law
Londons Burning
Jimmy Jazz
White Riot

There are several sights that provide setlists but most mirror They are worth checking.

from Setlist FM (cannot be relied on)

from Songkick (cannot be relied on)
... both have lists of people who say they went

& from the newer Concert Database and also Concert Archives

Also useful: Ultimate Music database, All Music, Clash books at DISCOGS

Articles, check 'Rocks Back Pages'

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Impossible Mission Tour


A collection of
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A collection of articles, interviews, reviews, posters, tour dates from the Clash's 'Impossible Mission' tour of Europe. Articles cover the period form January upto Bonds in May.


Video and audio footage from the tour including radio interviews.


Return of the Last Gang in Town,
Marcus Gray


Passion is a Fashion,
Pat Gilbert


Redemption Song,
Chris Salewicz


Joe Strummer and the legend of The Clash
Kris Needs


The Clash (official)
by The Clash (Author), Mal Peachey


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Wikipedia - The Clash

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Brixton Academy 8 March 1984
Other 1984 photos
Sacramento Oct 22 1982
Oct 13 1982 Shea
Oct 12 1982 Shea
San Francisco, Jun 22 1982
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San Francisco, Mar 02 1980
Los Angeles, April 27 1980
Notre Dame Hall Jul 06 1979
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Photoshelter here

Sep 11, 2013: THE CLASH (REUNION) - Paris France 2 IMAGES
Mar 16, 1984: THE CLASH - Out of Control UK Tour - Academy Brixton London 19 IMAGES
Jul 10, 1982: THE CLASH - Casbah Club UK Tour - Brixton Fair Deal London 16 IMAGES
1982: THE CLASH - Photosession in San Francisco CA USA 2 IMAGES
Jul 25, 1981: JOE STRUMMER - At an event at the Wimpy Bar Piccadilly Circus London 33 IMAGES
Jun 16, 1980: THE CLASH - Hammersmith Palais London 13 IMAGES
Feb 17, 1980: THE CLASH - Lyceum Ballroom London 8 IMAGES
Jul 06, 1979: THE CLASH - Notre Dame Hall London 54 IMAGES
Jan 03, 1979: THE CLASH - Lyceum Ballroom London 19 IMAGES
Dec 1978: THE CLASH - Lyceum Ballroom London 34 IMAGES
Jul 24, 1978: THE CLASH - Music Machine London 48 IMAGES
Aug 05, 1977: THE CLASH - Mont-de-Marsan Punk Rock Festival France 33 IMAGES
1977: THE CLASH - London 18 IMAGES


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Facebook Page - for Clash Collectors to share unusual & interesting items like..Vinyl. Badges, Posters, etc anything by the Clash.
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I saw The Clash at Bonds - excellent
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