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The Tubes – No Way Out – 8/24/1979 – Oakland Auditorium (Official)

The Tubes – No Way Out
Recorded Live: 8/24/1979 – Oakland Auditorium – Oakland, CA
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Rick Anderson – bass
Michael Cotten – synthesizers
Prairie Prince – drums
Mingo Lewis- drums and percussion
Bill Spooner – guitar, vocals
Roger Steen – guitar, harmonica, vocals
Re Styles – vocals
Fee Waybill – lead vocals
Vince Welnick – keyboards

Taken from the archives of the late promoter Bill Graham, this performance of San Francisco’s legendary art rockers, the Tubes, dates back to 1979, when the band was in their prime. This recording was done just before the Tubes departed A&M Records (where they had been since 1974 and broken as a national act), to start a new and even more successful run on Capitol Records.

The group, which had built its career on rock parodies and comic-driven hard rockin’ epic tales, was continually dancing atop the fence that divided good honest rock with a pinch of outrage and pop culture obscenity. Drummer Prairie Prince’s wife, Re Styles, appeared each night on this tour topless in a black leather bondage uniform which employed strategically placed electrical tape; and lead singer, Fee Waybill did no less than a dozen costume changes during the show, including the glam-rock, punked out persona of Quay Lewd during “White Punks On Dope.” With songs like “Don’t Touch Me There,” “No Way Out,” “What Do You Want From Life?” and “Mondo Bondage,” the Tubes were never at a loss of interesting material. They end this hour and a half set with a medley of “Baby O’Riley” and “The Kids Are Alright”

By the time the Tubes played this show, they had become a well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll machine, whose powerhouse rhythm section (with percussionists Prince, Mingo Lewis and bassist Rick Anderson), propelled the souped-up engine of keyboardists Vince Welnick, Michael Cotten and guitarists Roger Steen and Bill “Sputnik” Spooner. Waybill, aside from being the best theatrical showman since Peter Gabriel, was simply an outstanding rock vocalist.

They have always been a cutting edge band, and the best material in the Tubes’ repertoire has been able to melt quirky humor, intricate musicianship, and radio-friendly pop hooks into a memorable blend. They have always been known for putting on an incredible live show, spearheaded by front man Fee Waybill’s vaudevillian stage charisma. At the end of the day, however, the Tubes’ “in-your-face” theatrics were their greatest virtue and their biggest liability-when they became trapped by their unprofitable stage show, they went barebones and decided to focus only on the music. Unfortunately, no one was all that interested. The indifference caused band to breakup in the mid-1980s, and though they tried to re-group in 1987 without Waybill, it wasn’t until a new deal with BMG imprint Radikal Records in 1995 that the core line-up finally reformed.

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