On the 15th November 2002 Joe Strummer and his band, the Mescaleros, played his last London show. It was a benefit for the Fire Brigade's Union and took place at Acton Town Hall. The venue was crammed with 500 fire fighters and a couple of hundred of Strummer's most loyal fans. Joe's former Clash comrade, Mick Jones, who was in the audience, felt "compelled" to join the band mid-encore. Joe and Mick performed Clash songs together for the first time in almost 20 years. We were arms aloft in Acton Town!
Sadly, six weeks later on December 22 2002 Joe Strummer died suddenly. The Fire Brigade's Union provided a guard of honour at Joe's funeral.
Five years after the Acton benefit FBU members and other Strummer fans paid tribute to Joe by returning to Acton Town Hall. Billy Bragg, Tymon Dogg, Clash tribute band Take the 5th and DJ Jerry Dammers gave heartfelt performances.
We planned to go back to Acton Town Hall next November (2012) to mark the 10th anniversary of both the FBU dispute and the benefit where Joe, Mick and the Mescaleros generously gave their support. Unfortunately, Acton Town Hall is no longer available to hire.
For those present in 2002, Acton Town Hall will always be the site of an amazing night (the last night London burned!). However, we have found a suitable alternative venue to remember the Acton FBU benefit. Located in Strummer's spiritual W11 stomping ground, the Tabernacle in Notting Hill is the perfect replacement for the Arms Aloft in Acton Town 10th anniversary.
Details of who will be appearing and how to register interest for this event will be posted early in the new year.