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DVD Review: The Clash

Revolution Rock



The Deal: New live documentation of "The Only Band That Mattered."

The Good: Recently, some young whippersnapper overheard me reminiscing with a fellow gray beard – "re-living the heydays?" he smirked. Guilty as charged – Greatest gigs we'd had the privilege to be drunk and disorderly at was the topic, and at the top of my list was a Clash show from the last century. Next day, poof!, this Don Letts-produced DVD arrives to remind me why I still get a contact high from that night. Featuring 22 performances from the band's garage-punk beginnings in '77 to their mega-tours of the United States, the 67-minute long doc offers visceral evidence that a million Warped tours wouldn't generate the energy the Clash could in a single evening. Powered by front-man Joe Strummer's jack-hammer leg and street-patter screeds, Mick Jones' under-rated guitar chops, the multiculti beats of (pre-smack) Topper Headon and Paul Simonon's dub-friendly bottom end, the band created audience mayhem – of the joyous variety – anywhere they played. Some of the footage will be familiar to those who've seen the film Rude Boy or Letts' 2002 Grammy Award winning documentary, Westway to the World. But 13 performances have never appeared on DVD, the best of them "Magnificent 7" and "This Is Radio Clash" from the Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder; "Brand New Cadillac" from a 1982 Tokyo gig; "Know Your Rights" from the infamous US Festival and "Career Opportunities" from their Shea Stadium appearance.

The Bad: Interested newcomers get more context with Westway.

The Verdict: It can't be nostalgia if it's timeless.

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