Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Just What You Needed: Let's Go Time

I forgot about this one, but luckily I remembered before its 40th birthday passed by.
It's never not time to take a break from the Jazz snobbery and 10,000-notes-a-second shreddery to settle into some power pop confectionary goodness once in a while, amirite?
We'll get back to the weirdo time signatures and playing designed to cause aspirants of instruments to give up trying forever in a few days, you know it.
But for today, we'll go fully automotive for an hour of power from one of the classic American groups.
If you look at the tracklist of this show, you'll realize, hey wait a minute. There's 15 songs, and 7 of them were smash hits.
Back when this was taped, these guys could have sung the phone book in B Flat, and all it would have took was one of those squiggly keyboard lines, a frighteningly catchy guitar bit, and some arch, wry vocals to turn it into a platinum #1.
For me, the star of this band was never the singer with the fly suits and the sunglasses and the recognizable, totally unique voice though.
Sure, he went on to movie stardom, but the lead guitarist, if you ask me, is the money shot of The Cars.
This performance is a prime 61 minutes of illustration as to why that might be, as Elliot Easton -- truly one of the most underrated players of the Rock era -- goes hogwild here, sprinkling tasty and spidery solos throughout.
As I was saying, there was a time 40 years ago where you would turn on the radio and across the whole AM dial -- it was Top 40 then, not Third Reich Radio like it is now -- there would be another of their tunes on each station.
Then you'd switch to the FM dial... and it'd be the same thing, only with more of their album cuts.
Yes, the FM dial. This one's straight from the pre-broadcast materials, so you get all the FM with wholly none of the FM compression. EDIT!!! A way better transfer of this surfaced since I put this up, so I took the liberty of remastering it and now this thing is an 11/10 soundwise!
The Cars
Universal Amphitheatre
Los Angeles, California USA

01 Got a Lot On My Head
02 Good Times Roll
03 Let's Go
04 Nightspots
05 Since I Held You
06 Double Life
07 Moving In Stereo
08 Candy-O
09 Don't Cha Stop
10 Bye Bye Love
11 All Mixed Up
12 Take What You Want
13 You're All I've Got Tonight
14 Just What I Needed
15 Dangerous Type
16 interview segment 1
17 interview segment 2
18 interview segment 3
19 interview segment 4

Total time: 1:04:18

Ric Ocasek - guitar & vocals
Benjamin Orr - bass & vocals
David Robinson - drums
Elliot Easton - guitars & vocals
Greg Hawkes - keyboards & vocals

ABC "Supergroups In Concert" preFM LPs, retransferred in 2017 by carsfan
interview segments are sourced from a different LP transfer of the 1980 vinyl iteration of this
slightly denoised & somewhat remastered by EN, March 2024
This is of course a tremendous and tight show, and they somehow manage to translate that sort of streamlined, distinctive Cars phasey sound you hear on their LPs onstage.
And wouldn't you know it, it's turning the big 4-0 today.
I will be back in a few days with some more grease for your niece, but if you love The Cars you better turn the key and hard drive this one down the block. Come on, you know you like the nightlife, baby. Let's go!!--J.


  1. The second half of the first Cars album is as good a sequencing as you'd hope to hear on LP. As well as the individual cuts, Side Two needs a separate label: "Suite All Mixed Up: for the teenager in everyone"