Now here is a very rare piece of 80's musical history! Above is a photo (courtesy of 2-Tone historian and music writer Pete Chambers) of the very first General Public performance at the Crompton Arms in Birmingham circa 1984 featuring Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger of The Beat, along with Horace Panter of The Specials on bass and ex-Dexy's Midnight Runners members Stoker on drums and Mickey Billingham on keyboards.
While that may be historical on its very own, its the inclusion of Mick Jones (upper left with the baseball hat on his head) who played only this one live show with the band. Jones left the band part way through the recording process of their first album "All The Rage," to start Big Audio Dynamite, though he is listed in the album's inner sleeve credits as a group member (he did not appear in any of the band photographs).
According to Chambers review published in a local Midlands music paper (and later plagiarized for a review in Sounds magazine a week later!) the brand new band only had 8 songs in its inaugural set (it played the eponymous "General Public" twice). According to Chambers review:
"The Beat sound would be a hard sound to wipe out, after all Dave's voice was much of The Beat sound, so instead of trying to hide their obvious musical pasts, they have used the more striking elements of their former sound and added a thicker and far more glossy feel, making a very full, exciting and stimulating sound. For me the stand-out songs were "Tenderness" a song that would suit the title "Venom," Dave's voice is at it's best, rich and nasty, a great song that is anything but tender.
General Public dub version is one of those songs that just make you smile, every one was spot on in this song, no mess, no hurry, just fine overall musicianship and Mick Jones echoed scatter-dub guitar finished the song off a treat."I was lucky enough to see the first General Public performance in the U.S. at The Ritz in New York City in late 1984. True to their very first show reviewed by Chambers, they played a short 9 song set repeating their set opener General Public as their closer. While there is very little live video of the band from those early days, below is footage from 1984 of the band doing an in studio interview and performing versions of "General Public" and "Never You Done That" on an unidentified UK music program.