Live at Shea Stadium

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"Rain's a load of rubbish," road manager and man Friday Kosmo Vinyl says, introducing "the only band that matters" to an apparently drenched audience during their biggest U.S. tour. "Don't worry about rain." And the crowd — contrary to the story that the Clash, an odd choice to open for the Who, nearly got booed off the stage on this night in 1982 — screams and cheers. And why shouldn't they? This terrific set captures the Clash at the commercial peak of their powers, featuring material that runs from their self-titled debut to Combat Rock. Opener "London Calling" starts at a quicker pace than the original recorded version, maybe the only real indication that drummer Topper Headon had been recently replaced. For fans, especially those too young to have experienced them, the show is revelatory, at last condensing the Clash's varied career output into what should be virtually impossible for a band that punkified everything from reggae to rockabilly — a unified sound. The well-known cover of the Bobby Fuller Four's "I Fought the Law" fits right in with "Rock the Casbah"; the melding of "Magnificent 7" with "Armagideon Time" is nothing short of amazing. So what's a little rain?

Jeremy Martin reviews music for Metro Times. Contact letters@metrotimes.com.

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