The Tubes – 40th Anniversary UK Tour
Friday 7th August 2015
Clapham Grand, London, United Kingdom
Fee Waybill is ranting away on the stage of the Clapham Grand to a good and appreciative crowd about the M25, our London orbital road….and eco-friendly cars..and their drivers. The expletives fly and he wags his finger, summoning up rocket-fuelled vitriol that makes Lou Reed sound like Will Rodgers. Running out of steam, Waybill then concedes that LA traffic arrangements are likely just as annoying. Earlier he had shared his enthusiasm for Film Noir and its artistic execution as well as his wonderment at the history of this esteemed venue, Charlie Chaplin and elephant-friendly entrances et al. All part of a lively and exciting performance which included many Tubes favourites and a fair few maverick items that the fans took to.
Looking like a taller version of Jefferson Starship’s Paul Kantner, guitar ace Roger Steen winds up his Marshall stack, with a slightly thinner tone that one might expect BUT one that gives full flight to his nimble chording and linear guitar breaks. The ‘Crime Medley’ is just one of dozens of highlights. One hell of a player. Deadpan bassist Rick Anderson plays with drive and melodic invention whilst keys man David Medd sits behind a Korg Triton spinning out the archetypal Tubes keyboard patterns and some honed solo’s. That Prairie Prince is one of the world’s finest drummers is beyond debate and tonight I recall a spirited conversation with him backstage at a JS gig when he enthused over Keith Moon. He is in complete command of all the numbers, whatever tricky tempos the songs demand. For example ‘Up from the Deep’ and the sonic roller coaster ride that is ‘Mondo Bondage’. You’ll be lucky to see a finer live drummer than Prince in your entire life, which is why our earlier piece on this site on The Tubes urged attendance at their shows. The sound quality tonight is pretty good and just as well, as Waybill spends the evening slipping from appropriate voice to appropriate voice – night club crooner, oily game show host, escaping psycho ( for ‘Mr Hate’ and a coruscating ‘ No Way Out’), dopey glam rocker and much more. The vocal harmonies sounded better than the last time I saw The Tubes.
No ‘Don’t Touch Me There’ or ‘ Smoke’ tonight but early on we get an impassioned ‘This Town’ and then ‘Town Without Pity’, a big chart hit here in the UK for the late Gene Pitney. Fee wears his Humphrey Bogart raincoat and plays up the torch delivery ; when he loses the hat he looks a little like Noel Coward’s wild nephew. Without any excessive cajoling, the audience sings when it suits..and rather well too, as Waybill is pleased to note. The punchy and cohesive sound this great outfit attain makes every song count, particularly ‘She’s A Beauty’ and a stunningly gorgeous ‘Don’t Want To Wait Any More’. To hear the Tubes perform ‘Sushi Girl’ was an unexpected treat. ‘What Do You Want From Life’ is as catchy as ever it was, whilst the edition of ‘White Punks On Dope’ breathed new life into the song.
The encores include a Beatles tune AND a Hendrix number from his first album and of course originally recorded not far from here, Anderson and Prince achieving the loose but driven rolling rhythm that Redding and Mitchell locked into when I saw Jimi at the Royal Festival Hall back in the day. Glorious stuff and a steady stomp through ‘Talk To Ya Later’ was yet another show-stopper.
At one point in this series of rock mini-librettos that made up a wonderful show, Waybill reminisced about the late Vince Welnick….The Tubes do have their tender moments
The Tubes 40th Anniversary UK Tour continues at the following venues:
GLASGOW, THE ART SCHOOL
SUNDAY 9th AUGUST 2015
TICKETS: £23.00 + BOOKING FEE
BOOK ONLINE: SYNERGY CONCERTS / DOORS: 19:30
GSA STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION, 20 SCOTT STREET, GLASGOW, G3 6PE
LEEDS, BRUDENELL SOCIAL CLUB
TUESDAY 11th AUGUST 2015
TICKETS: £25.00 + BOOKING FEE
BOOK ONLINE: SEE TICKETS, WE GOT TICKETS, JUMBO RECORDS, CRASH RECORDS
BOX OFFICE: 0113 275 2411 / DOORS: 19:30
33 QUEEN’S ROAD, LEEDS, WEST YORKSHIRE, LS6 1NY
EDINBURGH, LIQUID ROOMS
WEDNESDAY 12th AUGUST 2015
TICKETS: £23.00 + BOOKING FEE
BOOK ONLINE: TICKETWEB, SYNGERY CONCERTS
BOX OFFICE: 0131 225 2564 / DOORS: 19:00
9c VICTORIA STREET, EDINBURGH, EH1 2HE
WOLVERHAMPTON, ROBIN 2
THURSDAY 13th AUGUST 2015
TICKETS: £22.5O (ADVANCE), £25.00 (ON THE DOOR)
BOOK ONLINE: ROBIN 2 / BOX OFFICE: 01902 401 211
20-28 MOUNT PLEASANT, BILSTON, WOLVERHAMPTON, WV14 7LJ
(Thanks to Peter Noble & Asher Alexander at Noble PR and our photographer Kieran White for the photo gallery)