Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Curtain Call: XTC From 1979

I know I'm in the minority, but back in 2011 I professed my love for Barry Andrews and the manic keyboard-heavy sounds of early XTC here and here. One of my time-machine dreams would be to see a live show with that incarnation of the band. That's not to say seeing them after Andrews left would be all that bad either... as today's selection from soon after Andrews' defection suggests.

Almost from the beginning, XTC was big in Australia. They got quite a bit of airplay on radio station 2JJ out of Sydney and on the national show "Countdown," the most popular TV program in Australian history. So, from July 21 to Aug. 17, 1979, XTC went Down Under for the first time. This encore is taken from a July 20 radio broadcast at the Marconi Club in Sydney (although the encore didn't make the airwaves). The "Atom Medley" is "Into the Atom Age," "Hang on to the Night" and "Neon Shuffle" all wrapped up in less than seven minutes (and in the dark to boot as the power kept going out at the club). These 'White Music' songs sound great, even without Andrews, and the stage banter alone does make you wonder how many wonderful performances we could have had if Andy Partridge could have overcome the stage fright that ended all live shows for XTC just a few short years later.

You can find "Atom Medley" on the "Coat of Many Cupboards" box set. It's a great four-disc collection of rarities for fans that already have the studio albums.

XTC - Atom Medley (mp3)


Echorich said...

I got to see XTC three times -in 1980 and 81 touring Drums & Wires and Black Sea. They started the English Settlement tour on the West Coast so when it all broke down, I got bupkiss...They were amazing when I did see them and you would never have known Partridge had any form of stage fright at those shows, but by 1981 the touring became never ending and the stress and strain took it's toll.
Hearing the acoustic radio tour in 89 was great. Getting to hear jems like Great Fire, Senses Working Overtime, Love on A Farmboy's Wages was brilliant. Maybe someday Colin will want to record again and Andy will be willing to open his arms one more time...I am sure they have one more amazing album in them.

Brian said...

Echorich, the list of shows you have under your belt never ceases to amaze me. I was barely in junior high in '82 when they stopped touring. So, I'm green with envy. I missed so many great bands... at least in their primes.

I was wearing a Drum and Wires shirt in college and one of my professors proceeded to tell me about the best show she ever saw... XTC opening for the Police at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. It was her best lecture of the semester. I almost took notes.

Echorich said...

Brian, music was my rebellion as a teen and my addiction as an adult...The XTC tour I wish I had seen was the 3 nights/6 shows at CBGB's in January 79. They also opened for Talking Heads the month before at the Beacon Theater on New Years Eve. To me the pairing of More Songs About Buildings And Food and pre Drums and Wires XTC was a match made in concert heaven!

Anonymous said...

XTC - Atom Medley (Into The Atom Age/Hang On To The Night/Neon Shuffle)