What Do You Want from Live is The Tubes debut live album released by and was recorded at the legendary Hammersmith Odeon, London during the height of the punk rock era in 1977. Despite their somewhat out-of-step musicality, the band’s humorous and manic stage show found favor all over the country. The cabaret-like shows lasted over an hour, ending with Waybill – in character as “Quay Lewd”, a parody of a drug-addled rock star – getting crushed to death by a giant stack of (fake) speakers. NME pronounced the tour a great success, writing: “They came, they outraged, they conquered.”
What I know about The Tubes could be written on the back of a postage stamp and after listening to this double live album, I’m quite happy to be in my ignorance. It’s not a bad album; it has a nice mix of Todd Rundgren/The Cars/A.O.R radio friendly rock, with some occasional jazz-rock moments; the show has a very theatrical/musical bent (particularly Game Show and Smoke) which showcases how great a frontman Fee Waybill is, but ultimately whilst it’s enjoyable for a couple of listens, it’s not a record that demands repeated plays.
The band is great, the songs are OK but nothing outstanding (even White Punks On Dope doesn’t hit as hard as the studio version), although I did enjoy them using the Damned’s New Rose riff for their cover of I Saw Her Standing There. Ultimately, this album didn’t excite me or make me want to check out anything more from the band, so I can’t really recommend this and wouldn’t want to re-listen to it.
Not the worst live album I’ve heard but not the most inspiring one either. 4/10.