Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Tubes at Havana New Hope

So I saw one of my favorite bands from the 80's last night at a club called Havana in New Hope, PA last night.
It was only my 4th or 5th time seeing them, and one time was at a small bar about 20 years ago without Fee, so I don't even count that one. I first saw them on the Pier in NYC for their 1983 Outside Inside tour (same tour that was broadcast on MTV for their Saturday Night Concerts series if I recall), and again a couple times on the 1985 Love Bomb tour.
One thing I've always said about the Tubes is that they put on the best show of any band I've ever seen. That opinion has not changed (although Zappa was a very close second). Keep in mind that my idea of a good show is not only the music and musicianship, but also the visuals and overall energy of the performers.
Last night, the Tubes proved to me that a bunch of 60 year old guys can still put on a fantastic show filled with energy to rival bands half their age. As far as theatrics go, the limited size of the bar stage did not keep Fee from changing costumes to act out various classics from their vast repertoire. Another important thing to note is that unlike many other bands well past their heyday, Fee's voice is still relatively intact with only slight noticeable degradation. By contrast, lead singers like Ian Anderson and Steve Walsh (of Jethro Tull and Kansas, respectively) don't even sound like the same person they once were.

As far as last night's show goes, it was a show for their devoted fans. Either that or a show aimed at forcing casual fans to realize that there was The Tubes before MTV. Anyone who went to see She's A Beauty and Talk To Ya Later had to stay for the entire show, and even then would find that these "hits" were two of only three tunes performed from their 1980's output. The remainder of the set was all from their 70's pre-MTV days.

While I didn't write down the setlist, here is what they performed, sorted by original release:

From 1975's debut The Tubes:
Haloes
Mondo Bondage
What Do You Want From Life?
White Punks On Dope

From 1976's Young And Rich:
Brighter Day
Pimp
Slipped My Disco

From 1977's Now:
Smoke

From 1979's Remote Control:
Turn Me On
Getoverture
Telecide

From 1981's Completion Backward Principle:
Talk To Ya Later
Don't Want To Wait Anymore

From 1983's Outside Inside:
She's A Beauty

They also performed two cover tunes; a very soulful rendition of James Brown's It's A Man's Man's Man's World, as well as Jimi Hendrix's Third Stone From The Sun.

Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable show, and I would not hesitate to see them again. As I said, for a bunch of 60 year olds, they've still got it.

I took a handful of crappy cell phone pics, which can be viewed here.

1 comment:

Uncle Zeke said...

I saw The Tubes back in '83, on the Outside Inside Tour. I was shocked, then, how crazy their stage antics were. I was glad that I had the opportunity to see them with the full sized stage and all the set modifications, etc. Mr. Hate, pulling an unwilling audience member up on to stage, proceeding to fondle her and tie her up, having her wrestle his gun away and shoot him. And of course, it was that moment when we realized that we had all been duped... it was one of the dancer/vocalist girls. Very realistic, though.

They came back to Utah a few years ago, playing a free concert at one of the ski resorts. I got to the base of the hill just as they were playing their final encore. The tram operator told me to just go home. I was heartbroken, but at the same time, knowing the dimensions of that teeny stage, I knew that there would be very little of what I had seen before. I guess, at the time, it was best to just sit back and have the fond memories of '83. However, thanks to your post, I'm very happy to know that they are still carrying on the traditions of what The Tubes became famous for..... an energetic, outrageous live show. Thanks for sharing, Mark.