Archive for the ‘Wire’ Category

The Tubes Newcastle City Hall 6th November 1977

The Tubes Newcastle City Hall 6th November 1977
tubestix77This was a gig like no other. The Tubes were virtually unknown in the UK, but stories of their crazy OTT stage show were gradually creeping over from the USA. This was the band to out-shock, out-punk, and out-do everyone else, and outrage the general population at the same time. So when “The Toobs” came over for a tour of UK theatres and concert halls we just had to see them. We had tickets for Yes, with Donovan support, at Glasgow Apollo on the same night, but we sold them to friends, as we couldn’t pass on the chance to see this.
Video screens all over the place, dancers, 50ft stacks, lots of props and each song a new concept and the chance for the band to play new roles. So many highlights. You couldn’t take it all in. And just when you thought the Tubes had been as outrageous as they could possibly be, the next song is even crazier, wilder, and more obnoxious.
Alpha male Fee Waybill and the gorgeous Re Styles dueted on’Don’t Touch Me There’ from a motorbike. Fee Way strapped Styles between two video monitors to perform some ‘MondoBondage’. The band become the punk parody “Johnny Bugger and the Dirtboxes”. Waybill threatens us all with a chain saw while singing “I Saw Her Standing There”. For the end of the show Waybill became Quay Lewd, the ultimate glam rock star complete with three feet high platform shoes, and led us all through a crazy rendition of “White Punks on Dope”.
Totally amazing. We were all blown away. 🙂 🙂
Support came from Wire (Dot Dash 🙂 )
Reviews of the time were ecstatic. “The Tubes are a spectacle unlike any other. They present a relentless onslaught of humour, outrage, parody, idiocy, music and costume – a feast for the senses.” (Paul Rambali, NME)
“It’s nothing short of magnificent. The only words you can use are ones like sensory overkill. The act doesn’t leave you alone. One moment it’s the band in white intern coats playing straight techno-rock. Then it’s a dance troupe on the lam from Star Wars, and then there’s the punk pastiche. Except, pastiche or not, The Tubes can cut harder and deeper than 90%s of the new wave.” (Mick Farren, NME).
Set list (based on the live lp recorded during the 1977 London concert run at Hammersmith): Overture; Got Yourself a Deal; Show Me a Reason; What Do You Want from Life; God-Bird-Change; Special Ballet; Don’t Touch Me There; Mondo Bondage; Smoke (La vie en Fumér); Crime Medley (starting with a siren and including themes from Dragnet, Peter Gunn, Perry Mason & Untouchables); I Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk; I Saw Her Standing There; Boy Crazy; You’re No Fun; Stand Up and Shout; White Punks on Dope.
The Tubes were Fee Waybill (front man extraordinaire, crazy guy & vocals), Bill Spooner (guitar), Michael Cotten (synth), Mingo Lewis (percussion), Prairie Prince (massive drum riser and kit), Roger Steen (guitar), Vince Welnick (keyboards), Rick Anderson (bass) and Re Styles (vocals, dance and many unspeakable things with Fee).
I saw the Tubes again in 1978, at the Knebworth Festival sharing a bill with Frank Zappa and Peter Gabriel. I’ll save that one for when I come to write about Zappa. The Tubes were back at the City Hall again in 1979 for the ‘Remote Control’ tour, with support from Squeeze. I’ll write about that gig tomorrow.

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