But one of Tomorrow's greatest feats was that the show gave some of the very first stateside TV exposure to performers who couldn't get pissed on by American mainstream media: Patti Smith, the Ramones, Iggy Pop, Elvis Costello, Public Image Ltd., and the Plasmatics. Tomorrow began purely chat only, later expanding to 90 minutes to feature performances; this Shout! Factory two-DVD set harvests jewels from both eras. Likely conclusions it will inspire: The Jam was a great band; some rockin' artistes can barely converse; John Lydon is an asshole; Tom Snyder didn't know post-Beatles rock 'n' roll at all; and Patti Smith, fan of Carson (!), is as much shy Christian hippie as intellectual punk goddess.
Highlights: Smith acting fidgety, mercurial, and sagacious; when Snyder refers to Public Image Ltd. as a musical outfit, Lydon counters, "It's not uh band, it's uh company," and constantly refers to PiL works in development ("films, videos") primed for an undeserving world; when Iggy rips it up during three songs (earning himself a bloody nose in the process), there are so many dorky "mod" camera zooms as to suggest a Monty Python/SCTV parody; a droll "panel discussion" on "punk rock: what is it, who likes it" with Fillmore impresario Bill Graham (who liked the Jam!), legendary rock auteur/cartoon Kim Fowley (looking like the Riddler meets Ziggy Stardust), rock crit Robert Hilburn, Runaways-era Joan Jett, and Paul Weller.
All told, this release is an ideal time capsule, both edifying and embarrassing.