Had they not been together, I think the 80s would have been pretty dull without XTC. One of the most fearlessly individual bands to herald the beginning of the New Wave movement, XTC were unique and without equal. Headed up by the exemplary songwriting talents of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, XTC had a string of hits and were wildly popular, but primarily in the UK and Canada. That they weren’t household names in the U.S. is baffling, but Music in general was in a state of flux around this time, and the visual popularity of bands via MTV were grabbing a lot of the attention in the early 80s.
XTC as a touring band ended in 1982, the result of a mental breakdown and paralyzing stage fright from Partridge. The band continued on until 2005, primarily as a studio band; racking up some 14 albums over their career.
Tonight’s post is interesting in that it’s from the last year XTC performed live. Recorded by WDR in Germany for the Rockpalast program, this is classic XTC. The milestone English Settlement lp had been released, and practically all the material on this set comes from that new album, along with several of their signature songs pre-1982. This performance comes from that last tour the band did and is from February 10, 1982. Shortly after this, Partridge would suffer his first mental breakdown in March during a concert in Paris. And in April, while in the U.S. they had to cancel a performance at The Hollywood Palladium and only did one show in San Diego before ending their tour and live performing days altogether, save for a few sporadic radio-only appearances.
So it’s possible, unless a recording of the San Diego concert surfaces, that this is one of the last live performances of XTC preserved for posterity.
Bitter-sweet, to be sure. But a wonderful example of a great band who were pivotal in the 80s and influential to numerous bands who came after them.