'Stay Free' in Hong Kong (The Clash, remastered 2019)

  • Published on:  12/11/2019
  • The audio is from Clash in Hong Kong. Video is same song done in Paris two years earlier. Hong Kong neon images are even older. Full details in the description below.

    It was a week ago when I first attempted to to remaster Stay Free from The Clash's February 1982 Hong Kong performance. I wasn't happy with the sound. By chance, I discovered a second audio source from the same performance and was able to combine them into a much better stereo remaster. This was version one: https://www.201tube.com/video/asGApnnc8ts/video.html

    Of course there are even better stereo live recordings of Clash shows elsewhere. Plenty of ‘em. I just wanted to remaster one good track from their one Hong Kong appearance. So, that was the obsession/objective here. I think this will be the last version.

    The song and the images in the first version had some commonality in that youth in London in the mid 70s looked forward to uncertain future lives and HK youth today face even worse uncertainties. But petty theivery and political protests aren't similar and the mashup of image and sound was unsatisfying. Great in places, but ultimately I wasn't satisfied.

    The visuals in this new version is more oblique/vague visual art meant to evoke nostalgia. Nostalgia for The Clash (our youth), nostalgia for the neon past of Mong Kok, which is actually down the road from where The Clash played at AC Hall. The neon HK imagery is from 1970. The neon is gradually fading into the past, now replaced with LED lights.

    Note to historians/archivists/collectors
    The visuals here aren't from the 1982 AC Hall show. You can find the video sources in the playlist linked below. The neon of Mong Kok in 1970 is projected over The Clash performing Stay Free in Paris in 1980. So, this particular clip is messed up from a historical perspective. It's just that I wanted visuals and there's no known extant video of the Hong Kong show.

    The audio is remastered from two sources recorded within the AC Hall at the same time, enabling the stereo separation in this remaster. The live sound after the song ends are from the same show but different places. The audience member screaming for them to play Revolution Rock happens between Safe European Home and Jimmy Jazz. Strummer's phrase "Hong Kong People" comes from his introduction to Guns Of Brixton, after Tommy Gun.

    You can find all the sources in this playlist