The Tubes at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

My friend Brantley and I made the trek down to Santa Cruz Friday night to catch The Tubes close out the summer-long Friday Night Bands on the Beach series.

I had never seen The Tubes before, but was curious to see how the show would compare to their epic performances of the 70s, which were known as much for the nudity and simulated sex as the music. The Beach Boardwalk billed it as “their debut performance with a family-friendly show on the Boardwalk stage!”

The show lived up to the billing as The Tubes turned hits like “Sushi Girl,” “Talk to Ya Later,” and “She’s a Beauty” into extended jams. The band sounded great and Fee Waybill’s voice got better as he warmed up. Then Fee changed into his alter ego “Quay Lewd,” “a parody of The New York Dolls and all the glam rockers,” to perform “White Punks on Dope.”

It says something about evolving social mores that a song like “White Punks on Dope,” which was so shocking 30 years ago, can now be performed in a ‘family-friendly show.’ Check out this performance of “White Punks” when The Tubes were in their prime, before the band collapsed under the weight of drug abuse and debt in the late 80s. Its a testament to Fee Waybill that The Tubes got back together in 1994 and are still performing 20 years after their collapse.

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