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What Do You Want From Live

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Album Review

Although their studio albums were often hit-and-miss affairs, the Tubes could always be counted on for a good live show during their mid-'70s heyday. In fact, they became a legend in the rock & roll world for their glitzy shows, which included half-nude women performing elaborate dance routines and a variety of characters invented by frontman Fee Waybill, like punk rocker "Johnny Bugger" and blissed-out glam rock icon "Quay Lewd." What Do You Want from Live can't reproduce all this visual stimuli but it does show what many critics forgot to notice about the Tubes, i.e., the fact that they were a really sharp and exciting live band. Stripped of their outre visual surroundings, songs like "Mondo Bondage" and "I Was a Punk Before You Were a Punk" still pack a visceral punch thanks to their effective combination of gonzo humor and catchy melodies. Elsewhere, the Tubes get to show off their surprisingly impressive chops on "Overture," a fast-paced medley that transforms the instrumental highlights of six different songs into one head-spinning pomp-rock blitz, and "Crime Medley," a witty tapestry of crime jazz woven from television theme songs like "Theme from Peter Gunn" and "Theme from Dragnet." The downside of What Do You Want from Live is that some of the numbers are less potent without the choreographed routines surrounding them: "Smoke (La Vie en Fumer)" and "What Do You Want from Life" both feature Fee Waybill talking about the visual chaos surrounding him and this leaves the listener feeling like they're only witnessing part of the joke (if only someone would put out a video of one of the Tubes' shows from this era). Despite this caveat, What Do You Want from Live remains a witty and entertaining live album. It may not win any new converts to the Tubes' camp, but fans of the group will definitely want to check out this entertaining souvenir from the group's wildest era. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi

Customer Reviews

One of the most impressive live albums ever!

Because most people outside of the US and UK only know this band for their 3 early 80's albums on EMI I thought I'd point out that to get a real perspective of the amazing talent, showmanship and musicianship of this immensely under rated San Francisco band, this live collection is the perfect place to start.

This brilliantly chronicles some of The Tubes best work prior to being forced into the commercial world by their record company.

Artist like Marilyn Manson, Lady GaGa, Tool, Rammstein and many more owe a debt to this band who were innovators, able to fuse rock, pop, punk, blues and even jazz in a seamlessly catchy and tongue in cheek way, all while thumbing their collective noses at the neurosis of American society.

What is even more incredible about this band, is that their sets would differ from night to night, often due to the ability of Bill Spooner, Roger Steen, Mike Cotten, Prairie Prince, Vince Welnick and the charismatic and creative Fee Waybill to jam, blend, entertain and often shock their audiences.

This collection comes from their Tubes Now tour, about a year after being banned from England, they recorded this show during the heyday of Punk, which now saw them able to visit the UK for the first time.

Check out the brilliance of What Do You Want From Life, White Punks On Dope, Smoke, Mondo Bondage, along with non album tracks like Show Me A Reason with Roger Steen on vocal, or the genius of middle finger in the face, of the absolutely true and semi biographical I Was A Punk Before You Were A Punk.

If you really wanna know what this band was all about, start here and work backwards to their first self titled album and you won't be disappointed. But if you expect She's A Beauty or Talk To Ya Later, then you are looking in the wrong place.


Formed: 1972 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Tubes were arch satirists of popular culture whose outrageous performance art concepts -- which swung wildly from softcore pornography to suit-and-tie conservatism -- frequently eclipsed their elusive musical identity. The beginnings of the group originated in Phoenix, Arizona in the late '60s, where guitarist Bill Spooner, keyboardist Vince Welnick, and bassist Rick Anderson formed as the Beans (alternately billing themselves as the Radar Men from Uranus). After moving to San Francisco in 1972,...
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What Do You Want From Live, The Tubes
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