The Clash: From Here To Eternity: The Clash Live CD review (CDNow)

The Clash
From Here To Eternity: The Clash Live
(Epic)

In their decade-long existence, The Clash utterly defined the term “commercial punk.” Their success (both artistically and financially) defined their existence and, ultimately led to their demise. Though their outward vitriol never diminished, it’s nonetheless true that the band morphed from rowdy, angry pub punks into socialist pop stars. That they were as influenced by Prince Far I as by their own internal struggles is what kept them respectable. That they delivered some of the best live rock ‘n’ roll shows ever seen on Earth is what made them legends.

From Here To Eternity is, unbelievably, the first official Clash live album. And though their live reputation has persevered through word-of-mouth and bootlegs, this album makes undeniably clear (to those who weren’t paying attention) that The Clash were a formidable live presence. Culled (by the band) from hundreds of hours of live tapes, this album focuses on the band’s prime: 1978-1982. Performances range from intimate (London’s Music Machine, 1978) to mammoth (Shea Stadium, 1982), yet the seamless blending of tracks presents what is perhaps, the ultimate Clash live show.

The energy on tracks like “Capital Radio” (1980) and “London’s Burning” (1978) is damn near combustible and, never being a group too enraptured with delicacies, the album – like a Clash live show – never lets up. Thankfully, creative missteps like “Rock The Casbah” have been left off in place of less known (but far better) tracks like “What’s My Name” (1978) and “Armagideon” (performed in 1980 with Mikey Dread). And though “I Fought The Law” (1978) and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” (1982) are included, the versions here absolutely kill their successful radio counterparts, renewing the songs for another two decades.

First appeared October 1999 at CDNow.com.

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