The Boston Tapes (Viva Zapata VZ006)
The Orpheum Theater, Boston, Massachusetts, USA on 7th and 8th September 1982.
1. London Calling (3.22), 2. Janie Jones (2.16), 3. The Call Up (4.51), 4. Brand New Cadillac (1.56), 5. Somebody Got Murdered (3.45), 6. I Fought The Law (2.38), 7. Clampdown (4.27), 8. Armagideon Time (5.03), 9. Should I Stay or Should I Go (2.50), 10. I’m So Bored With the USA (2.28), 11. Straight to Hell (6.33), 12. Clash City Rockers (3.27), 13. Garageland (3.09)
This is a single silver disc CD from the French VIVA ZAPATA label, housed in a glorious trifold sleeve with excellent photos of the band from their dressing-up-as-rock-warlords era (1982). The sound quality of this recording is absolutely outstanding, as close to an official release as you could possibly want. Uber obsessives may niggle at Terry Chimes’ cymbals, which sound a tiny bit crisp and saturated in places, but that’s really a minor niggle, the sound here is awesome.
THE BOSTON TAPES is a mixture of songs from two consecutive shows The Clash performed at the Orpheum Theater in Boston on 7th and 8th September 1982. As far as the performance goes, the band are in top form, really tight and focused, although it’s not a performance that will set the world on fire. Strummer is in fine voice, no wandering out of key here, and he rants and spits during “Clampdown” like a true punk rocker, but it sometimes sounds a bit uninspired. Perhaps they were tired, or maybe the inter-band tensions were playing their part.
“Straight To Hell” sounds great, Strummer sings it beautifully, but it’s almost identical to the recorded album version with no surprises. “Armagiddeon Time” is excellent, with Terry Chimes’ drumming really giving the song some bite. The vocals from Joe and Mick are really upfront and forceful throughout, and Mick’s guitar sounds great. Everything is perfectly balanced and the mix is top notch. I would have liked to hear more from this excellent source, maybe a two-disc set, as it felt like the whole CD was over too quickly. At any rate, this is a must-have title for any fan of The Clash.