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Watch: Tracy Chapman at the 1988 Mandela concert

Listen, watch, and just feel the atmosphere. Think about what David Cameron was up to – the following year, no less, after these crowds filled Wembley. And even just appreciate the greatest political songwriter of recent times. Over at Consequence of Sound, they contend that it was Chapman’s second appearance, in which she performed Fast Car, at the star-studded conference that was the most powerful. I wasn’t there – but from the videos, I have to disagree. Never could Talkin Bout a Revolution be more poignant.

It’s the opening track of a debut album that remains unashamedly political throughout – and it kicks off a condemnation of domestic violence, the American dream, racism and the simplistic understandings of politics that we’re fed day after day from above. There are few albums I would implore you to listen to in their entirety more than this one. But here, in this one performance of the album’s first song, you almost don’t need the rest. And when you see Tracy’s smile at the end, you can she recognises it, and she means it: yes, finally the tables are starting to turn. It will only be a matter of time. And it was.


  1. John Reid says:

    Although I went to the Nelson Mandela concert, this song on the real mccoy in 1990 later. Are me realise, Chapman used the concert to launch her cream, Alexie Sayle said something similar,

  2. Matty says:

    Yet another unsubstantiated smear from John.

  3. John Reid says:

    I’m not saying a smear, I’m saying that the real mccoy are saying that, you know working class black people from London who campaigned against a partied for years,,when it attracted criticism from the press, didn’t use it to sell records,about the revolution being around the corner,and being some victim of a partied despite coming from middle America,

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