2. The Clash on the White Riot tour at Bournemouth Winter Gardens (nov 9th 1977)

Chris : The local headline in the Bournemouth Evening Echo was ‘punks in riot frenzy’ because everyone tore up the seats and threw them on the stage. The Clash – I have got some misgivings about their stance in 77/78 now. I don’t think they were everything we cracked them up to be but in terms of their music they were amazing…’

JR : They did genuinely believe in the impossible dream though…

Chris : I remember Sebastian Conran was there as well … at the time I saw them as politically honest and straight forward and all that sort of stuff but then they wouldn’t go to Northern Ireland and there was a few other things that came out in the wash. But ultimately when they came on the stage and the lights came on it was amazing. They knew how to to start a gig did the Clash! Although I remember seeing them once when they had just released their second album and it went wrong. The lights came on and they ran onto the stage and Mick Jones tripped and fell flat on his face. Really hard, like nasty. It was not a little stumble! He put his hands down but not in enough time. Whack! and that was the start of the gig and he had fallen flat on his face.

He had obviously hurt himself so everyone stopped. There was hysteria and everyone in the crowd thought it was brilliant! so the band got off the stage and everyone thought ‘oh no he has broken his wrist’ but they came back on and started over and they ran back on. They did it literally like a rewind and ran back on stage and started again. It had literally been the worst start to a gig ever (laughs) But generally the Clash were great at starting gigs.

I went to one Clash gig in south London and they started with London’s Burning and it was amazing. The crowd got down the front and, like you say, they looked good – they had a uniform with all their stenciled slogans and they were amazing. I saw the Clash loads of times right all the way until the end. It was great when the audiences was quite small and made up of the curious and the punks but as they got big, like when I saw them once in Kilburn on the 16 tons tour in the ballroom with 3000 people and it wasn’t the same. They payed well that night but there was people sat down in the upstairs part. Sitting down at a gig? Crap.

Number 3 in Chris Packham’s top 10 punk and post punk gigs is here

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. The Clash “wouldn’t go to Northern Ireland” – they did, though. What they wouldn’t do was PLAY there: when the scheduled gig at Belfast’s Ulster Hall was cancelled on the day, they bottled out of organising any alternative. Great photo opportunity, though.

  2. The Clash gig at Bournemouth Winter Gardens in November ’77 was on the Get Out of Control tour not the White Riot tour. In my top ten punk gigs too. The Clash were on fire!!!


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