The Tubes are a Bay-Area band best known for their skewering of popular culture issues of drugs, celebrity, and their namesake: Television. At this Bill Graham-produced show, the Tubes had sold out the Winterland for the first time. The band's stage antics are as lively as ever, owing to the festive spirit of New Year's Eve. Less than 25 minutes into the set they count down to 1976, with lead singer Fee Waybill endlessly insisting that there is another minute-and-a-half to go and feigning a broken watch.
The Tubes had only released one record at the time of this recording, 1975's The Tubes, which was produced by Al Kooper. That record contained the derisive "White Punks on Dope" as well as the disco-rock sales pitch "What Do You Want From Life." Both songs contained ample background noise and bizarre vocals.
We are at some disadvantage being unable to see the stage show (we don't know why exactly the "tube job" during the sketch "A Word From Our Sponsor" is eliciting such whoops, for example); but we can hear sketches like "Sputnik," a sort of interstellar sitcom, and there's no mistaking the live marching band that covers Steve Miller Band's "Living in the U.S.A." after the New Year's firecrackers are done exploding. (Other notable cover choices include the Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man," Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual," and the "Theme From I Love Lucy.")
From their debut record, the Tubes play "Up From The Deep," Space Baby "Malaguena Salerosa," "Mondo Bondage," "Haloes," and the aforementioned "What Do You Want From Life" and "White Punks On Dope." But they had been busy putting material together for six years at this point, and had already prepared a good portion of material that would end up on their second record. From that album, Young and Rich, they play "Tubes World Tour," "Slipped My Disco," "Stand Up And Shout," and "Proud To Be An American.
There is a load of vulgarity and fun throughout this show. And the long and irreverent program comes to a tee when Waybill puts on his "Quay Lewd" alter-ego and introduces his band as the Cocaine Piranhas.
The Tubes continue to tour today.