The Tubes 02.20.16

TheTubes-2016-4482I first heard of The Tubes when I moved to Phoenix in 1973.  They were a combination of 2 local Phoenix bands that merged in the yearly 70’s in San Francisco.  I became a fan when they came out with their first album, The Tubes featuring the song, White Punks on Dope. The Tubes appeared live at the Talking Stick Resort Showroom on Saturday February 20, 2016.

To stand out in the San Francisco music scene, they came up with a stage show that bordered on softcore porn that included stage props, costumes, dancers and sometime nudity. I was lucky enough to see their What Do You Want From Live stage show/concert at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix in March of 1978.  Since Fee’s (lead vocals) grandparents were in the audience that night, the show was tamed down and the normal nudity was omitted, but the costumes, dancers and other stage antics were still part of the show.  It was an amazing concert stage production, and still holds up as one of the best I have seen.  It was the first time I had seen a motorcycle on stage.  Fee and the dancers would dress up in different costumes for each of the different songs.

The second time I saw them was in January 1980.  They played at a small club called Dooley’s in Tempe.  At this show they had given up the elaborate stage show and instead did a greatest hit concert where they took requests from the audience and turned into a fan favorite show.  I saw them again July 1985 at Gammage Auditorium with Todd Rundgren, who helped produce one of their albums.  At this show Fee wore different costumes throughout the set.

Over the years, members have joined and left the band.  The current members are Fee Waybill (lead vocals), Roger Steen (guitar), Prairie Prince (drums), Rick Anderson (bass) and David Medd (keyboards).  The show started with Roger, Prairie, Rick and David performing Up From The Deep.  Next, Fee came out in his “Sam Spade” costume and the group performed a number of songs including This Town.  During the show, Fee would leave the stage and the band would perform a song while Fee changed into a different costume.  For Mr Hate, Fee came out in a black and white “Prison outfit”.  During No Way Out Fee put a cage on his head.  For Mondo Bondage, Fee came out in a slave outfit with bondage mask.  What Do You Want From Life is one of the Tubes classic songs, where Fee goes rambles for5+ minutes about different things that people might want.  Now we come to White Punks On Dope, where Fee is a glammed out punk in white spandex, with 12” high heeled shoes, long blonde hair and huge “DOPE” sunglasses.  For the encore, Fee came out in a “carnival barker” outfit and the band started with She’s A Beauty.  They finished off the 4 song encore with a cover of a Jimmy Hendrix class, Third Stone From The Sun where Roger recreated the classic Hendrix riffs.  It was a really fun 2+ hour show.

Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2016


Set List

  • Up From The Deep
  • This Town
  • Town Without Pity
  • Power Tools
  • Out Of The Business
  • Crime Medly
  • Mr Hate
  • Amnesia
  • No Way Out
  • Life Is Pain
  • Mondo Bondage
  • Love Bomb
  • Want Do You Want From Life
  • Tip of My Tongue
  • Don’t Wanna Wait
  • Tubes World Tour
  • White Punks On Dope


  • She’s A Beauty
  • Saw Her Standing There (Beatles cover)
  • Talk To Ya Later
  • Third Stone From The Sun (Hendrix cover)

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