Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Stranglers Live at Emerald City, Cherry Hill, NJ (1981)

Never a big fan of live albums or live tapes, I have this one as a souvenir of the show, which I attended with friends. It's an FM broadcast from Philadelphia's WMMR 93.3 (can you imagine that happening today?). A friend of mine was left at home with the task of taping the broadcast, but of course he flaked on it. Actually, he managed to record the last 10 minutes for me when he finally remembered. But a couple years later I managed to secure this 2nd gen copy from someone selling records and tapes out of the trunk of their car at Trenton's City Gardens' parking lot. It's a pretty decent copy of an excellent show. My favorite bits are the between song banter. I remember being surprised at the time that The Stranglers were such cut-ups.
Emerald City was a strange place for shows, and they had lots of 'em. Formerly the Latin Casino, they used to host the likes of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, etc. And the place still retained the trappings of the mafia-chic decor, with glitter, cherub'ed water fountains inside, etc. Saw many great shows there in the pre-hardcore days of the late 70's-early 80's: Gang of Four, Stiff Little Fingers, Captain Beefheart, many Ramones shows, Buzzcocks, B-52's, Iggy Pop (during an hellacious snowstorm, "You guys are lucky I showed up". Really, what else was he gonna do in strip-mall hell Cherry Hill?, ensconced as he was at the Hilton across the street), The Jam, XTC, etc. all in their heyday. Even Alice Cooper and Blue Ōyster Cult in "secret" club shows at a time they were playing hockey arenas.
Then that all came to an end when they closed down and became (and believe still are) a car dealership. An ignominious end to a fun place. Other Philly clubs were still going strong (East Side Club, mainly, but Ripley's on South St. as well) bridging the gap (for me, anyway) 'til HxCx shows and their scattershot gigs in the back lot of pizza shops (Abe's), basements, Elks Centers, etc. And then the gorilla of Tri-State shows, City Gardens. Where I practically lived, going to 3-4 shows per week at the peak. I'll find time to go on about the ups and downs and ups of this place in another post.

But for now, HERE's the Stranglers April 11, 1981 show. (Please note with my apologies that 2 songs are together as Track 5 since I missed the track edit - on the toilet or something, haha - and was too lazy to start over). And yup, that's my ticket stub up there as the "cover".

01. Waltzinblack (intro)
02. Threatened
03. The Raven
04. Toiler on the Sea
05. Just Like Nothing On Earth / Thrown Away
06. Who Wants the World
07. Second Coming
08. Meninblack
09. Shah Shah A Go Go
10. Hallow To Our Men
11. Tank
12. Nuclear Device
13. Genetix


Chris said...

I stole the Raven casette from my aunt when I was 15. At was at my grandparents' place as she was living in either the UK or Australia at the time.

I lent it to a friend who coincidentally went on to study genetics.

I saw The Stranglers with the new singer during the mid-90's and remember being really happy they played some songs from the Raven. A friend of mine was disappointed by them though mainly because they didn't play Peaches or Down in the Sewer.

radiolux said...

Thank you very much for this very rare and excellent stranglers concert. Actually, I've been a Stranglers fan for years and had never heard about that one ! thanks again. Cheeers !

Anonymous said...

Did you catch the Stranglers at the Revival back in 88? The HMS Liverpool happened to be docked on the Delaware that night. The British sailors took over chanting the songs and waving their flags. Riotous.

Peter said...

I have a vague recollection of that. In fact, I think I recorded that on to cassette with a walkman recorder. Not the best, but not bad.
I'll have to dig through some boxes to see... P.

Anonymous said...

this show is great! (76-81: these was the best years of the band).
is there anybody knows a soundboard recording from the "Raven Tour"?

krotix said...

I saw this show at Emerald City, where I saw Sector 27, Ultravox, XTC, Magazine, Ramones, Plasmatics, Nash the Slash, and a whole lot more. The second and last show I saw the Stranglers at was the old Starlight in Kensingron with Cirle Jerks. It was like a fork in the road for the Philly/ South Jersey scene, some would follow what became Indie...others like me embraced HC. The only sadness on my part is how splintered the genres and the crowds became. The weirdest thing was that the people like me who were geeks, weirdos, loners ( not American Idol ) suddenly saw am imflux of popular was great in the sense of diversity, but introduced increased social mores.

Anonymous said...

Emerald City was the best. I saw The Psychedelic Furs there, among others.

In 1975, when it was still the Latin Casino, Jackie Wilson collapsed on stage, having a massive heart attack. He suffered severe brain damage and spent the rest of his life in hospitals, never able to speak again. Poor Jackie went home to God in 1984.