2010 Tour Reports
PiL have jusyt completed the European / UK leg of their tour and we want YOU to share your thoughts on the shows. Send your reports, reviews, comments etc HERE...
Public Image will also be contributing to the page from time to time.
Thank you for your active participation. We'll be adding more as we get them. Keep them coming throughout the tour...
"Public Image Limited. Good, serious, proper music for good, serious, proper people"
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Bingley Music Live Festival, Bradford, UK, September 4th 2010
Yet again, another fantastic set allowing people from the young kids through to adults to see at first hand what Pil are all about.
Loud, proud and with a message for all the youth in front of stage who thought chucking bottles of Pepsi was rebellious. I had to laugh at these stereotypical actions of the lads who seem to think that that is all Pil are about...a throw back to Punk...they are so wrong!
I was lucky enough to see the band play Leeds 02 in December last year, couldn’t believe my luck when they came back in July as well (that was a really heavy gig, with the base turned up to another level and a darker flavour which took me somewhere else, amazing), so seeing them at Bingley was better than getting 6 numbers on the lottery...that’s what the band means to me.
Great music, words and a message that should get everyone thinking about what they could do to make changes and chellenge what is being forced fed to us in the charts. I always go away energised and refreshed, after all, I am sure we can all quote “blind acceptance is a sign, of stupid fools who stand in line”
The ‘better half’ came with me on Saturday, well away of my feelings towards Pil and no doubt she was more looking forward to seeing James who followed on. I couldn’t believe it when after only a few mins of the first song, and a bit of chat from John, she is there tapping her foot and a big smile on her face, another member of the Pil fan base who has seen the light. As is often the case, when you hear Pil and listen to the music you see how they influenced so much that followed, dance, indie, etc.
Great crack throughout the set from John, with lots of well aimed (and as it turned out) fully justifiable dig’s about James who lived down to their reputation for being up themselves… I just hope everyone saw the difference between true greats and characters that are Pil and pretend ‘pop stars’ with the bland mix of music that are the rest.
Many thanks for the pleasure you bring and the encouragement to stand up and be countered and not “sit down” as some would say..!
Pic by Ed Fielding (more pix)
Please find attached some pics I took last night at Bingley. I thought it was a great festival and once more PIL blew James off stage just like they did 18 years ago. A perfect end to a great summer. Looking forward to future shows. They all must be shattered after all the travelling in the past week. Hope the guys liked the Country Life pic.
Bingley Park, the Gig was Fantastic !! It made a change to see P.i.L in the day light instead of a dark hall, Lucky Claude & Janette does it again ! Looking forward to more P.i.L gigs to come. Till next time Lad's, cheers
Claude & Janette From Leeds
Pix by Anya Reid
Death Disco, live at Bingely (posted by fan)
Electric Picnic Festival, Stradbally, Ireland, September 3rd 2010
Stunning show from start to finish. The Irish crowd gave John a great homecoming and he returned the favour. Open Up, Religion, and Warrior were aming the many standout tracks. It might have took PiL nearly 30 years to be able to play Ireland but it was worth the wait. Lets hopoe they come back soon!
Rise live at Electric Picnic (posted by fan)
Heineken Music Conference Festival, Tel-Aviv, Israel, August 31st 2010
This is just a short email to show my deepest appreciation of PIL coming to play in Israel, and for John to stand up in media for the right of the Israeli PEOPLE to enjoy quality culture. It is one thing to actually come and play here, like The Drums and LCD Soundsystem and others did, but not to hide it and to explain that decision, that is something that has been done only by Brian Molko of Placebo and you.
And of course - the gig blew me away, it has probably been the most demanding - and rewarding - piece of culture I have ever experienced. I hope to find the time to write a proper show report for the site soon. Peace
Hadar Gafni, Tel Aviv, Israel
PiL gave an outstanding show in Tel Aviv last night. I'm sure it will be one remembered by all, and particularly the band.
To all you haters out there - you can push around alot of artists, but when you push John Lydon there is an unequal and opposite reaction. Remember - when John comes to Israel he plays and says what ever he wants, and whoever wants to see him can come. When the arab countries can get to that point maybe we'll see him there too. Peace.
We would like to thank PIL for a great show that will not be forgotten ever by us. thanks also for your brave words, we can asure you that Leftfield were not missed on the "open up" graet version. we can only be sorry that the tow hour show passed so quickly and hope that you will come back very soon. Thanks again with great love.
Maggie & Jonathan, Israel
Hello ! I live in Israel and I want to say to PIL : THANK YOU for your great show in Tel-Aviv (August 31) ! John is amazing with an incredible energy on stage !!! All the members of the band PIL are really great ! Finally ! I have seen the music/punk legend John Lydon on stage !
Religion, live at Tel-Aviv (posted by fan)
Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary, August 12th 2010
Death Disco, live in Hungary (posted by fan)
Putte Parken, Karlskoga, Sweden, July 30th 2010
Front row. Rainy, wett and cold as hell. Flashing lights and beautiful noise. the band close to the edge. The mood, the songs and the appreciation from john to us. I have never experienced anything pure as that. Thanks so much, and come back soon!
Rebecca White Karlsson
Fantastic. Even if it was raining like no tomorrow it was among the best things I have even seen, or been a part of. I am truly greatful that you played. Guess you're not coming back soon, but it would make me really happy if you did. And I know I'm not the only one feeling that way.
Really appreciated the contact that John and the crowd got. Like during Religion (which was stunning, really), there was a feeling really hard to describe, never had it with any other band. Though there was two songs that I would have liked to hear, Annalisa and Happy, two of my favourites. Would've been nice hearing them live. But it was not like the lack of those songs brought down the show, really.
And I guess I should mention the energy, I can't possibly have been the only one feeling it, just felt like dancing all the way back to the hotel (which I actually sort of did). Of course I found the whole thing went by so fast, but I guess that's only natural. Haha
Wonderful music, as expected.
Fantastic show. Unfortunally the rain scared people away plus the kids didn't understand who this was? Or did they? The rest of us experienced something of a tight and cool club gig, despite this big stage.
Rain was pouring down, but we were dancing, dancing. A magic feeling and John had a personal connection with everyone. And a super bass player!
John has not remained stuck in the old punk school, but moved on to a new and experimental expression. Thank you, John and PIL, for this visit to Sweden. Please, come again. We love you all, and walked away feeling extremely happy.
The show started late at night and there was mud everywhere. The audience wasn’t big but John treated us like we were several thousand present.
I thought that many people seemed a bit confused at first because they didn’t know what to expect from this band but soon everyone was dancing and cheering.
John went out to the edge of the stage to have a look at the rain that was pouring down on us. When someone screamed ‘Johnny we love you’ he laughed. He clapped his hands for the audience too.
It was also amazing to hear the others play. It was fascinating to see how quickly Lu could change instruments. Scott’s bass was fantastic and Bruce kept the beat perfectly.For me it was a surreal experience and I think PIL got some new fans that night.
Thank you PIL!
On the way to the PIP-festival (I went by car) I drove through really heavy rain and it took quite a time to get there because of it. The main stage were PiL would play was situated the farthest from the entrance. I got to the place about 40 minutes before the show and to my surprise there was just a few people waiting at the big stage so I immediately made my way right to the front and right in the center. There was another band playing just 100 meters from the PiL-stage and they played almost up to the minute PiL was to begin. 00.30. It was quite muddy on the ground but it didnt rain.
I was standing next to a guy who was a total Pistols fan and all excited he was going to see a legend. On the other side a young girl totally into Johnny and eveything about him. Both of them had travelled a long way across the country to see PiL. When the band came on they were met with a loud cheer. I looked back and was shocked to see there were so few people attending.
What the...? But John and the band didn't seem to mind and they played to us lucky few like it was a big important gig. It felt that way.
Then the skies opened and it was like standing in a shower trying to see PiL through the water showering your face. Unbelievable weather. Johnny seemed to be really amazed himself and the band just laughed. The security guys reached out to to give some people at the front water in bottles and John laughed and said: "Of all things they need it is not more WATER is it??!"
The more it rained, the harder the band seemed to play and Johnny got into it more and more. He told us how brave he thought we were standing here in spite of the weather.
Every song was amazing and they seemed to want to give us more just because we put up with the rain.
They went off for just a minute at the end and came back to give us the last gems: Public Image, Rise and Open Up. I went home, happy. Soaking wet on the outside but warm on the inside!
Glasgow, O2 ABC, UK, July 26th 2010
Well....what is there to say about Public Image Limited in 2010 that has not been said before.This band are tight! The tunes just flow and the band have a knack of bettering previous PiL work!
The venue was smaller than the last gig in December and it was a perfect intimate setting.No support act...just PiL...what else do we need! Started of with a rousing Love Song into Poptones.During Albatross some comments aimed at Malcolm and Wobble,would be interesting to hear John`s take on Wobble turning down this tour .Scott Firth is a more than able deputy as he kept the dub going with excellent work from Bruce and Lu as the band produced that trademark PiL sound.
Pretty much the same set list as before..In fact I got one off a roadie at the end the gig. Lovely little keepsake. Highlights in a gig full of them were Tie me to the Length -Flowers[epic]-Disappointed-Bags/Chant...To be honest the whole set was outstanding! Religion shook the foundations the band went off and played a storming encore.Public Image[electric]-Rise was out of this world,Thank you John for the pose at 3 mins in..The man knows how to grab an audience and make you feel like he is playing to you and no one else.
A blistering Open Up that ended.....band ready to leave and John kept on singing so the band picked up their instruments and away we went again.2hours 20 mins? It felt like an hour,it flew by.Next Stop Ireland for me hopefully!
well my ears are still ringing from i must say ( the best gig i have seen ) last night at the glasgow 02 abc gig from the mighty PiL !!! from this is not a love song, through to open up, this performance was immaculate!!!!
this was my first experience of Mr. Lydon and the boys live, and i hope it's not my last! was worth every penny!
from 6.30pm till 3.00am myself and around 20 other great PiL fans waited patiently and met Mr. Lydon before he and thegreat Rambo drove off into the darkness...
well all i can say is cheers john, lu, bruce, and scott for the fabulous evening!!! ( rambo u were class too! ) can't wait for the new album and tour.
the road rose for me for sure!
Great show, really loved it despite some idiots with the flying beer expecting something different..drum and bass triptastic!
Glasgow was a funny place last night, its been a while since I was at a gig with the fighting that happened on the floor last night, bit of a weird one that way. However, the band were kicking and the venue was great an I thought Jonny was in bette voice than the Christmas gig, which was also a blinder. PIL get better everytime they get together. Great music and great fun.
See you again soon, I hope!
Pix by Simon Whittle
Rise, live at Glasgow (posted by fan)
Liverpool, O2 Academy, UK, July 24th 2010
David Worth - who drew and kindly gave us the PiL / John Lydon caricatures cartoons for use on the sites - got to meet John and Rambo at Liverpool. We've republished all of David's caricatures above; including a pic of David with John and Rambo. They are laughing at the picture of the chimp peeing on John! Respect to David. Thank you.
John and John would also like to thank the person who gave them the Arsenal drawing montage at Liverpool on Saturday. Much appreciated.
This was a fantastic gig loved every minute of it we took our 12 year old who didnt know what to expect and half way threw the first song this is not a love song he was getting into by the end of the night he had been dancing away and told us it was amazing.
dear PIL thanks for playing liverpool last night best gig we've seen in years please hurry back soon lorra lorra love
wayne and kerri
Great gig, well selected setlist as well. My ears still haven't recovered 100%! Thanks fellas!
AWSOME BRILL what a night Johnny boy on top form great set oh totally brill show
ANGER IS AN ENERGY MAY THE ROAD RISE WITH YOU
OH PS throat only just recovering from all the singing and shouting!
Went to Liverpool gig. Brilliant! Got my CD signed. Hope PIL comes back soon, and maybe does NEWCASTLE too. Next time also could HOME, BRAVE NEW WORLD, ANGRY, SEATLE, SANDCASTLES IN THE SNOW, DONT ASK ME and THEME be added please. please. Lots of more good stuff to add.
Thank you for playing Liverpool what a brilliant gig! best one in years. Was gutted I missed the gigs last year so was first in the queue for this one and it was well worth the wait.
The musicians were amazing 100% effort you could tell the hours had been put in Thank you Scott Lu and Bruce. John still commands the crowd - what a frontman (the best) and plenty of witty banter too! (remember John whoever smelt it dealt it!!! haw haw)
Please come back again soon - Enjoy the rest of your european dates
Photos by Sakura www.rockphotographer.net
This Is Not a Love Song, live at Liverpool (posted by fan)
Leeds, O2 Academy, UK, July 23rd 2010
I swear i was there !!!! Last night The pil gig Leeds 02. What a night, FULL ROAST is the only way i can describe it !!! The band was in full swing, 02 Leeds was Rocking !!!
The Power & Energy in the music is mind blowing.
I'm the guy who had John Tattooed on my back last last year, a picture of Johnny Rotten from 76, i met him last year after the Dec 09 Leeds gig & showed him & Rambo the Tattoo, they were well Happy with it.
Last night after the gig i got to meet John & Rambo again, they remembered me well, and they made a real fuss of me, Rambo parted the fans outside & demanded that me & Janette my other half, came to the front of the queue for photo's & to have my Johnny item's signed !!! Buzzing, i'm now called Lucky Claude in Leeds, well cheers for now, till next time John & Rambo, i'll be back.
Just got back from the gig tonight. Fantastic performance from all the band and John I could see you really enjoyed the event. I certainly did. Kind regards John and thanks for the great music. You're one of us you mucker!
Saw the first come back gig at Birmingham last year and that was good. Last night was brilliant, everything was so spot-on (even the good-natured banter with the protesters outside!) From first to last, all of the band put 100% in and it showed, if you want to know what music is all about get to one of the remaining shows. The level of bass for the last few songs is so high that it feel like you are being physically attacked, but it works and added to the show.
Two hours of very special unique music, but what else would you expect from Mr Lydon & Co. Finally, loved irony of Religion being played in a converted church, the Lord's prayer wouldn't have been delivered like that in there before, hope he was listening! Bring on the next service soon please.
Saw PiL on Friday - EPIC is the only word to describe the gig. Blown away. Blown away. Three days later I am still loving it. Best Gig I have seen. Gutted didn't book tickets to more shows.....
Catch them while you can - you will not regret it!
A warm Yorkshire welcome was reciprocated with a fantastic gig in Leeds. The sound was terrific as we all rode the rollercoaster of emotions from such a brilliantly varied setlist - hard to pick highlights from a truly solid 2 hour performance from all the band. Also great interaction with the crowd, especially with Flowers O' Romance - John's playful Yorkshire banter not going unappreciated! Surely Leeds made up for starting 'shy in front of Uncle Johnny & the boys' last time!! The band are sounding ever better, here's to the next time..
No support needed for these guys, so the crowd milled around to some muted dub-reggae until John strode onto the stage complete with full bottle of brandy “It’s purely medicinal, or maybe it isn’t!” he cackled and winked at the audience. Let’s face it, the guy is now 54 and doesn’t need to justify his self to anybody, in fact he never has, even as a fledgling Sex Pistol. He was a bit croaky when addressing his audience but the brandy must have done its job because he could still wail and warble like a 20 year old.
So on with the hits, This Is Not A Love Song opened the set in true manic fashion then segued into Poptones with Death Disco and Albatross all following in quick succession. With such a large body of work to pick from he tended to stick to the earlier stuff which made the band what it still is to many and that’s ground breaking and revolutionary. An awesome version of Tie Me to the Length of That complete with John acting out the words in a Playschool style was played along with a mental vocal & bass version of Four Enclosed Walls. Songs only a madman would dare to perform live but if he’s got the guts to do it that’s all to the good for his listeners.
After a while he started to have some banter between the songs “How are you tonight, my lovely Yorkshire puddings!” He even held out the mike stand for sing-along choruses, now would the old John Lydon have done that? Still the king of the putdowns as well, “I don’t do requests mate, I’m playing two solid hours for you and in my book that’s fucking good value.” Yes, he’s “just a chap from Finsbury Park, out for a lark” who seems to be loving his new lease of life as a national treasure.
There followed a great version of Bags from ‘Album’ and they also played Warrior, complete with anti-establishment intro rant, which were the only real nods to his later work. He also dropped in Psychopath which was the title track to his 1997 solo album and is as much as a PiL song as you’re likely to find.
The band must be praised for being such a tight unit; Lu Edmunds is just a superb instrumentalist along with Bruce Smith and Scott Firth proving to be a really accomplished rhythm section. Religion closed the set with bass so heavy it hurt!
After a quick fag break, Public Image, Rise (didn’t we just love the sing-along chorus) and a bass heavy Open Up brought the show to a close. So that was a solid two hours and fifteen minutes to be precise Mr Lydon – ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? We robbed you John; you were worth double the money!
Rise, live at Leeds (posted by fan)
Oxford, O2 Academy, UK, July 21st 2010
My 1st pil show this year. 5th on the tour so far fantastic show again sound was excellent more bass more bass ..john and the boys on top form again Religion was the highlight for me the best version I've ever listened to..and of course Albatross ,if your thinking of going to any of the remaining uk dates you will not be disappointed ...please please play more shows in the uk in the near future thanks again for a fantastic night
Awesome show in student country last night – the band were so tight (as always) and it was an absolute privilege to be there last night , highlights for me were Albatross ,Warrior, Death Disco Open Up and Religion (my body is still feeling the bass as i type this) –it doesn't’t get any better than this.
I was standing next to a chap at the front and prior to the gig we were having a chat and to say his expectations were not that high would be an understatement , however at the end of the gig he turned to me and said he was completely blown away and that it was one of the greatest gigs he had been to and was in shock, managed to have a quick word with John after the gig which rounded off a fantastic evening. Till the next time
During a song about religion, the atheist punk glares balefully at his loving audience and drones; in his inimitable robotic monotone- ‘’Oxford; home of the ignorantly educated...Question: is the Pope a Catholic?’’ The seething crowd are briefly hushed. ‘’Answer: he’s probably an alcoholic! Is the Pope a Nazi?’’ Cheers; some uneasy. ‘’Answer: yes...’’ more cheers and nervous laughter. The drums seem to pound louder. ‘’Quessss-cheeonn-ah!!’’, he sneers loudly- with the voice that launched a thousand Liam Gallaghers- yet now with a hint of merriment in his gimlet gaze- ‘Is the Pope a pedophile!!? Answer-... ’ Well, you can guess the rest. John Joseph Lydon, Johnny Rotten (or, as he refers to himself, knowingly- Uncle John) is well and truly in the house...
Oxford in 2010 has been blessed with visits from many of Rock’s aristocracy; Lou Reed and Ozzy Osborne amongst others. Now it is host to not just a National Treasure™ (a title he hates) but one of the most influential- yet underrated- groups in Britain; leaving its mark on trip-hop, dub, techno (there would be no Keith Flint without Lydon) and much else. His band has gone through many personnel changes (no Jah Wobble now- ‘’He left ‘cos of money!’’) but the present musicians are more than capable of providing the kind of apocalyptic backing he so richly deserves. Public Image Limited arose from the carnage that was the Pistols (the genesis of their sound can be traced to the groovy ‘Submission’ from ‘Never Mind the B*ll*cks’). With tartan trousers, black button-up top and toilet brush hair; he is every inch punk’s elder statesman. He still has the power to incite; at one point he publicly berates a security guard for doing their job too well; almost leading to a stage invasion- before the inevitable clampdown.
He yelps, wails, sneers, shouts, curses, dances like an electrocuted marionette, gobs profusely (there is a large bin in front of the drum riser for precisely this purpose -he has a longstanding sinus condition, don’t you know; even so, I wouldn’t like to be that roadie...) his body and face rarely still; such is his rampant energy. Throughout nearly 2 and a half hours he shows no sign of slowing down... He delves into the output of over 20 years (‘This is Not a Love Song’, ‘Albatross’, ‘Flowers of Romance’, ‘Warrior’ (-“As befits a warrior, I hate all government! We’re all going to die; I don’t see any point in hurrying the process”) ‘Death Disco’, ‘Religion’ (“Lock up your cheel-dren, the priests are com-eeng!’’ and the eponymous ‘Public Image’.
After leaving the stage (possibly for a cigarette; that gap in his front teeth is ideal for it) he launches into an incendiary ‘Rise’, probably his most well known song (“What is anger?!’’ he hectors. At this he extends his mic to his adoring crowd; ‘’Anger is an energy!” We chant back repeatedly; lost in rapture.) Thinking this must be his final track, there is a real treat yet in store for us techno-punk pilgrims when ‘Open Up’, from the first Leftfield album pounds in. Shorn of much of its trancey sequencing, it becomes a relentless battle cry. ‘’You movie star, blah blah blah!’’ he drawls ferociously...’’Go the whole hog, be bigger than God!!’ At this point- and grinning from ear to ear- OMS secures both its cameras, tightens its multi-pocketed journo- jacket and leaps headlong into the wild, sweaty and beer sodden mosh pit. When it all finally grinds to a juddering, mind-bending halt, Lydon lingers at the mic. Is that a slight glistening in his eye? ‘Oxford...thank you. Really. And that’s from Johnny; from the f*%ing heart!’
He means it, maaan...!
My first PiL show ever and, I think the best gig I’ve ever been to. Every song was played with an intense driving bass and expanded into a really intense experience, with Johnny in very fine voice and the guitar crisp and the drums tight. I saw the Pistols on the Filthy Lucre tour quite a few years ago, and although they were very tight, musically I felt it was simply a rehash of the recorded output – a nostalgia fest; last night was something else entirely with songs that you might have remembered as so-so turned into a new sonic experience.
I hope the money from this tour does go towards a new album – if they could produce anything like this in the studio it would just blow everything else away. I don’t know what I expected when I went, for one I didn’t think there would be tickets but there were still some available on the day, this might be true if they’re playing near you so go if you can, but being a fan of the first three albums I wasn’t prepared for how not just the songs I regarded as classics would sound – utterly fantastic, Memories just grips something inside me and Poptones is still haunting when the bass makes your spine vibrate, but the later songs really fill out with the heavy bass treatment. I’d just like to add that the lines “Lock up your children, the priests are coming” brought a real sideways laugh out of this ex-altar boy. Thanks Johnny and the band, thanks very much.
Memories, live at Oxford (posted by fan)
Bristol, O2 Academy, UK, July 20th 2010
What a fantastic show and what a fantastic showman. John still has it by the bucket load. And what a sound "we need more bass" !! The usual 40 something audience were mesmerised, as was my 15 year old daughter who whilst very musically knowledgeable she was taken to another level of aural experience.
From Love Song to Open Up and all stops in between throughout the 2 hours 10 minute journey the musicianship was outstanding. "Thank You Butter" and thank you PiL.
Took my 17 year old son to see a band I've loved since I was 17 - both of us blown away with the power and quality of the performance.
John's lost nothing of his passion or anger and also displayed his brilliant showmanship and sense of humour.
The band, Lu Edmonds (guitar) in particular, were superb. Can't believe the massive noise they made! I can still feel the bass reverberating.
What stayed with me most though was the sheer charisma of John Lydon - as always, mesmerising.
What a fantastic show tonight in Bristol. If only you’d had a pa & sound engineer like that 20 yrs ago!
I am almost lost for words ! Gentlemen you transported me to another world last night, i'm not one who usually posts on forums etc regarding gigs, but i had to say a simple Thank You ! The quality of the musicians was stunning! Stunning!!! Lu, Bruce, Scott & that other bloke! Thank you!
If your local venue has any tickets left & you are sitting on the fence or maybe a little curious what Mr Lydon's second and by far better band does, go for it !
you will be kicking yourself later if you don't.... MORE BASS!
There is so much utter bollocks talked about John Lydon "selling out", John Lydon not supporting the Palestinian cause, John Lydon forgetting what the 'punk ethos' was all about. It's all total crap. And where does anyone get off on telling John Lydon what the 'punk ethos' was about? It's fucking JOHN LYDON for christ's sake!!! The 'punk ethos', if there ever was such a thing, is whatever the hell he says it is...
Why don't these people just come and listen to the music? You would only have had to go and stand in the Academy at Bristol for about ten seconds as PiL blasted out the first track of the evening 'This Is Not A Love Song' to realise that it's all about the music isn't it? Totally bloody awesome for the whole two hours and ten minutes.
Unique, irreplaceable and with genuine passion and anger you just won't see anywhere else. Hats off to you John, and the band - don't stop doing it.
Jon Turner, Bradford-on-Avon
Awesome. So glad I was there. Where did this come from?? It seemed as if every single word John sang tonight he meant from the bottom of his soul, while the musicians listened to him with their hearts to fit around him. Every song post-1980 was better than on record.
What a great performance by PIL! I took my 14yr old middle son and was worried that he might struggle with the depth of music and sounds created by the band, but he loved every two hours and ten minutes of it. A great musical education for him! I have been to a few gigs at the Bristol O2 and I have to say that the sound quality of the band was second too none brilliant/loud but clear.
Pil received a great ovation from the tightly packed crowd and it looked as though the band also enjoyed a fantastic evening. I hope PIL do record a new album in the not too distant future and come back to Bristol to promote it. If so me and my boy will be there! THANKYOU.
Pat and Mark Kirk
It was the first PiL gig I've ever been to, and what a night it was! Lydon and his bandmates know how to entertain the crowd.
Of course, the likes of Keith Levene will belittle the reunion. As much as I respect Keith, he doesn't know what he's on about.
Poptones, live at Bristol (posted by fan)
London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, UK, July 19th 2010
Pix by Peter Harris
Been waiting for this gig for a very long time. Was disappointed at missing the previous London dates, so was fucking ecstatic new dates went on sale.
This is THE best live gig I have ever seen. John was well up for it, the crowd were up for it, the band were amazing. Highlights for me were "Flowers of Romance", "Poptones" and "Religion" - Flowers of Romance was so powerful, could of listened to that all night.
I have seen the Pistols twice, in 1996 and 2007, whilst they were great gigs, John seemed much more "In to" it on stage with PiL. A blind man could see that PiL are really his true love.
Did anyone buy the PiL love toy? and if so what the fuck is it,.....and was it "good" for you?
Total respect and lots of love to PiL, always.
Thank you for a Fantastic show last night, I am speechless as I have not the words to describe how good you were. John you were on fine form and thank you for keeping my faith in music alive. The very best always Zany xxx
I've been a PIL fan all my life. I saw just about every London gig the first time round and also saw the Birmingham gig (first for 17 years) earlier in the year followed by all the London gigs. However, last night at the Shepherds Bush Empire was truly outstanding and PIL are still only plundering a relatively small amount of the back catalogue.
The most outstanding live band ever ! Now you're back please don't go away again.
C, Tunbridge Wells
Hi, I put a few takes up on flickr. Stunning gig at the Bush Empire. More pix via link below. http://www.flickr.com/photos/wheelzwheeler/sets/72157624421320373/
Hi PIL what a show heres a few of my thoughts on the evening.....
PIL came on stage at 9:00 pm...no sign of a "bust up" as reported in the press at their previous gig...saw PIL minus Lydon in good spirits before the gig trying to find somewhere to eat on the Goldhawk Road.....an excellent set covering most of their history and some of John's solo stuff too....there was a fight right close to us after about 6 songs, people throwing themselves about silly but for the most part people were just enjoying it....and John railed against the people sitting down upstairs later in the set, music press?? Nevertheless it just served to make him more intense and impassioned.
They started with "Love Song", great versions of "Memories" and "Poptones" early on......"Four Enclosed Walls" followed an impassioned rant about PIL playing Israel, my word he meant it tonight, there was real fire in his eyes when they did "Religion"...it was a real moment.
"Death Disco", musically the others were right on the money....good sign for the forthcoming Pop Group gigs was Bruce Smith was absolutely immense behind the traps....Lu playing all manner of instruments including the good old banjo and Scott imploying the stand up bass at times, they're some musical unit, you can pick on them for not being the originals but they're a truly talented bunch.
Lydon is on terrific form, if the Pistols gigs seemed panto at times, you knew that he was at once deadly serious and totally relaxed in this environment.......in excellent voice too. A thrilling and life affirming night.
The London gig was a phenomena. The music just exploded off the stage at you. They opened with "This is Not a Love Song" and I had tears of sheer joy running down my face seconds later. The band were tightened to perfection, and Lydon's voice ripping through at you with anger, disgust and rage driving you on and on until your whole body went ecstatic like some deliciously deranged Whirling Dervish. Truly, "words cannot express...".
Hard to single out 'best' tracks because it was all an inseperable blend of power and exhuberence and joy, but still want to mention Poptones, Religion and Open Up as performances I will remember for the rest of my life. Easily the best gig in 17 years - since the last time I saw PiL in fact.
Thank God for Public Image. Live music needs them to exist and needs them to do what they do. Thank you John & the band!!!
Lots of love.
excellent gig,the band were so tight.every song was a winner and mr lydon is as good as he has ever been.the night was as good as the electric ballroom gigs at xmas.long may you reign mr lydon.
Open Up, live at Shepherds Bush (posted by fan)
FIB Heineken Festival, Benicàssim, Spain, July 17th 2010
What an incredible show!!! It was the first time that my friend and I had experienced PiL in the flesh and all I can say is that we were both blown away - easily the highlight of the festival and the best live unit that I've seen in a very long time!! The musiscianship was extraordinary and what can I say about Mr Lydon that hasn't already been said.....simply mesmerising.
Bill Barclay, John Lydon & John Rambo Stevens backstage at FIB, Benicàssim © Tim Mattia
Amsterdam, Paradiso, The Netherlands, July 13th 2010
The PiL concert in Paradiso, Amsterdam on the 13th of july....
Same day that the dutch footy team was celebrated for their 2nd place in the World Cup.... 2nd that is... Not 1st...
But who needs 1st place in the World Cup when you've got PiL performing live on stage ??? :)
Can't say anything else than BLOODY FUCKING BRILJANT SHOW !!
Click for larger versions
After having waited for a long, long time, PiL was finally doing an Amsterdam show in a sweltering hot Paradiso. The temperature outside was reaching the boiling point, inside the concert hall it was even hotter than that. Just a stone's throw from Paradiso the Dutch football players celebrated their second place in the World Cup and all fans who supported them immediately left the city after the festivities were over. A lot of them were passing the Paradiso building. Little did they know that they would miss out on one of the most brilliant performances ever.
Kicking off at 21 hours, the band was in excellent form immediately. John Lydon repeatedly confronted the Dutch audience with losing the World Cup, but well, as Mr Lydon said: 'You did better than England' and even more epic 'The world needs second places as well'. The group kicked off with probably their most well-known one 'This Is Not A Love Song'. The crowd was jumping and the urgency with which the band was playing was untamable. It set the tone for two hours of compelling music making. John Lydon in particular is a first class performer. It is simply impossible to NOT look at him, as he repeatedly reverts to a bottle of booze, doing his famous antics and quirky faces.
Even more important: his excellent voice which is absolutely unequalled. All the songs that have made PiL a milestone in music history were performed, such as 'Poptones', 'Memories' and 'Death Disco'. The sound was excellent and loud as it should be. John's voice was commanding and the crowd loved it. Most notable in my opinion was 'Religion', in which the band and the audience agreed: 'Yes, the pope is a Nazi and a pedophile'. It was the summit of a beautiful PiL night, in which the band was playing loud and with John Lydon carrying out a serious message: we should not revert to religion, we should use our brains.
It was also nice that 'Flowers of Romance' was turned into 'Tulips from Amsterdam', especially for the Dutch audience. In the encore there was 'Public Image', on which the crowd was dancing wildly, 'Rise' and finally, the 1993 Leftfield and Lydon cooperation 'Open Up'. PiL live is one of the most wonderful experiences a music lover can encounter. Mr Lydon and band: please come back to Amsterdam. We need more brains, less religion, wonderful compelling music and more sneers at being the second of the world....
The PIL concert in the legendary Paradiso, Amsterdam was fantastic. John was in very good shape, especially with 'Religion'. Lu Edmonds made a hell of noise from his banjo/guitar. A classic gig!
I went to PiL in Paradiso yesterday and it was awesome!!! I really enjoyed myself. I was really surprised that John's voice still sounded as strong as all those years ago. Excellent!!! I went out of my skull on Religion which is (amongst many) one of my favourite songs. Thank you very VERY much for the wonderful evening.
It was a totally brilliant show, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I just love Johns philosophy on life & once again he didn’t let us down. Hope you come back to A’dam sometime soon…
Thanx for a fucking brilliant night....loved it.
Death Disco, live at Amsterdam, Paradiso (posted by fan)
Les Ardentes Festival, Liège, Belgium, July 11th 2010
At last I saw PIL. I’ve waited some 15 years or so. Lydon was eager for it, although the crowd, a little too young of age, was not at first. Lu Edmonds is a fantastic instrumentalist, he surely rocked! PIL played well, I had lots of fun. At the end, the young crowd was convinced of the true capabilities of PIL, all were chanting away with “Rise”, “Public Image” and “Religion”. As John said : “ I want to hear more bass!”!
Tie Me To The Length of That, live at Les Ardents, Belgium (posted by fan)
Rock Zottegem Festival, Belgium, July 10th 2010
Zottegem, John was very good today...and yes the pope is a NAZI ! THX Public Image Ltd for coming to belgium xxx
hi, i just saw pil in zottegem and i m fallen for johnny is a genius i m looking forward to see him as soon as possilble.
live at Rock Zottegem Festival, Belgium (posted by fan)
New York, Music Hall of Williamsburg, USA, May 19th 2010
Absolutely Brilliant!...Wow the first time I saw PIL was in 1980 at the Palladium in NYC after which I was lucky enough to see them at an unannounced gig at Gildersleeves the following night. The shows were back to back and great. But I must say that 30 years later in Brooklyn...simply AMAZING!!! More intimate, personal, and real it could not get. John you seemed so comfortable and in the moment with the music and the audience. The show was raw and absolutely perfect in its intensity and simplicity. I for one loved every minute of it. It is a show that I will remember forever. My husband and I have loved your music since your days with the Sex Pistols and we want to thank you for coming back better than ever!
Ana & Jimmy Robinson....Fans for life!
I had to be at this show. What an incredible ending to what has been an amazing tour. Arrived at 510pm outside door. Wasn't sure how many people would get there early. One guy was there, he'd been there since 330pm. Then a car pulls up and out pop Lu, Scott and Bruce. A younger kid all of 21 was now in line with us. The other guy and the kid grabbed autographs. It was so fun to watch that kids excitement as they signed his Metalbox Vinyl cover. Bruce paused and said, "but I'm not on this are you sure you want me to sign it" that was cute. Was so fun for me to watch them get autographs right in front of me. I said to them, "you guys are outstanding, I caught your shows in Milwaukee and Chicago and your sound and instruments you played blew me away." What nice guys. What was cool was watching this kid as he was a changing of the guards so to speak from a guy I was standing next to at the previous nights show at T5. I could tell this kid was just starting his soon to be long list. What was cool was he seemed to know the historical stuff behind as well, so he was catching a lot of bands where he would find people twice his age like me. You go kid. Now we get in and we are all buddies from being in line together. We develop a front row group. Was cool. A guy who shared the front row to my right the previous eve at T5 was on my right again and now we had new friends here too in front. We could feel the love.
This Music Hall of Williamsburg was an awesome venue. Great sound more like the sound in Chicago which was awesome. Something was way messed up at that T5 show. The incredible layers of sound and delicate instrument playing didn't make it through. I felt bad for the people at that show because I knew how much better the sound had been in Chicago and they were missing some awesome sound. John's vocals didn't even come out as clear and precise at that T5 show. But holy mother! Did it ever last night! John was on fire! God did he sound good! I can't believe every show I've been to he puts everything he has into his singing. Being that close I can feel his emotions pour out and wash over me. Each show I somehow have been front row and I have been moved to tears 5 times! Lu, Bruce and Scott are so incredible to watch. Lu is changing so many instruments it's unbelievable! That man can play everything! I met Scrim too, who I'm sure is a busy guy tuning and fixing all of those guitars. Way to go Scrim! The sound last night was transcending! I felt myself become one with everyone there. John thank you for taking us along on a ride through your emotions. We know some of these songs really hurt you. We appreciate you sharing them with us, and the raw emotion you allow us to share with you while you're on stage. That part I've never felt so deeply with any other band. Thank you for that! I did see back stage at the end and just to be there while John was coming down from the show's high. Definitely stayed out of the way and didn't want to bother him while he was going through that process. You could tell he needed time to just sit by himself and pull himself back out of the emotional state he had traveled to. I felt guilty even being there. I felt I shouldn't have been there. He needs space and time. I was in his space and time. Somehow I found myself at the after party. How amazing. These guys all seem to really love one another. Was fun to witness that.
At some point I can't believe this but I was able to tell John how amazing he was and that I'd been to 5 shows and he so sweetly kissed my cheek. Then of course I would have loved to stay but was mindful of being in his face too much. Then as cool as it all began they all skipped out. I was with young kid and my front row buddy we said "well that was amazing." On the way out there was a basement area and I heard some Salsa music and just had to go dance. After being down there and dancing for about 15 mins my front row buddy said to me "you won't believe who's here." Sure enough there were John and Rambo dancing away! Holy crap! Obviously they just wanted to chill and dance. The place started clearing out. Soon there were very few people dancing. Just John, Rambo a handful of other people and our front row posse. We somehow created a cool enough vibe that John danced a little closer. Cool. He is an awesome dancer. I danced all night. At some point the whole place cleared out and only the staff was there. I found myself dancing near John and Rambo but still didn't want to crowd him. I of course would have loved to talk to him but it was so obvious that he was chilling. So I just soaked it in about how cool it was to be on a dance floor with John and Rambo by myself. Those guys can dance. They stayed and danced until 7am. Then they slipped out into the light of the day. I walked up and out into the bright morning sun. I'm not from New York and had no idea where I was. But I just started walking and walking almost to try to walk myself down from the high that I had just come from. I walked until I was too exhausted to go on. Grabbed a cab to Brooklyn to go to Ted and Honey for breakfast. As I sat trying to eat at the counter I suddenly burst out into tears. The unbelievable night I had just had was coming to an end and all of my emotions just poured out of me. I have no idea what the guy serving me thought. Or what the people coming for morning coffee thought but I couldn't stop it. Wow. Great breakfast by the way. With that I walked back to my friends condo and crashed. Wow. Thank you John, Lu, Scott, Bruce and Rambo for taking me on a tour of my own emotions through yours! Wow.
Luckiest girl in the world! Saw you play 5 shows, Milwaukee, two nights Chicago and now two nights New York and Brooklyn! Would have been 6 if Denver had not snowed you out. I'm from St Paul, MN and all of it was so outstanding and monumental that I am in an absolute state of bliss! It has been a journey of a lifetime and I'm so unbelievably blown away with emotion!
Every show was filled with raw emotion on stage. John gave himself to us night after night. He poured himself out through his music and lyrics. We felt transported to another place through him. Lu, Bruce and Scott played with the same emotion and perfection and the music and sound surging off that stage blew everyone away. I met so many people at these shows. Each one nicer than the last and all were filled with love for the guys on stage. PiL fans are the most special people in the world. Each night was a love fest in that crowd! I will forever owe you gratitude for the experiences and emotions I have felt throughout this journey. Thank you for that!
I've traveled far and wide and shed tears and have been filled with PiL love! What a fucking incredible journey this has been! Truly blown away! I love PiL! Thank you for what will surely be memories I'll savor forever!
This Is Not a Love Song / Poptones / Memories / Annalisa / Length / Albatross / 4 Enclosed Walls / Flowers of Romance / Psychopath / Warrior / USLS1 / Death Disco / Disappointed / Sun / Bags / Chant / Religion / Public Image / Rise / Open Up
This Is Not A Love Song, live at Music Hall of Williamsburg (posted by fan)
New York, Terminal 5, USA, May 18th 2010
Epic show and tremendous groove at Terminal 5 last night. The musicianship was top notch- each and every song a mini-masterpiece. The sheer intensity that the band put in on every number was not unusual. Lots of bands/ performers give it their all every night. What lots of other bands don't have, however, is the sheer wealth of material to choose from. John Lydon has an uncommon genius and can seemingly choose any song from any of his albums and turn it, along with Lu, Scott and Bruce, into a show-stopper. It was that good.
As has been mentioned it was a long set and there was no filler. Fascinating set of punk, post-punk, dub and pop. John's amazing vocals have to be seen/heard to be believed, and even with that manic intensity he does it with an ease and style and dare I say grace that few performers have. From the opening of "Not A Love Song" to the absolutely blistering and abrasive "Religion" (where John was in full anti-preacher mode) the set rocked and rocked and rocked. The crowd was a mixed bag of young and old, probably more of the latter, but everyone seemed riveted to the stage and people were swaying and dancing throughout the show. Highly entertaining and intoxicating stuff--enjoyable, cerebral, and of course danceable. Thanks, PiL, for showing us what modern music ought to sound like
This was the best gig I've seen in 7 years. This is not a nostalgia tour, or a careful revisit of albums past. The versions of the songs currently in play are better than the albums that they came from. When John said on the Jimmy Kimmel show that this was the best band he's played with, he wasn't exaggerating. This band plays their asses off, they have an immense musical vocabulary, they can really improvise, they're totally locked in to each other, and they're pushing John to his zenith, and he's very comfortable there. Nothing out there sounds like this. This is no paint-by-numbers glory of oldies tour, this is vital living music. Important music, and it will fuck you up.
I saw Public Image Limited tonight in Manhattan. Wildly moving show. PiL is Johnny Rotten's true artistic creation. He is a magnet: repulsive, attractive, a force of nature. Johnny is one of the greatest vocalists ever--his range is surreal. Guitarist Lu Edmonds is a virtuoso of scathingly beautiful noise. Pil is moody, elastic, triumphant, vivid, pulsating, shattered, and irreducibly weird. Just like life.
Aural orgasm. That’s the only way I can describe the PiL live experience. As a fan, I came in relatively late in the game to PiL (about 15 years ago, or shortly after they stopped touring) and so I have been desperately hoping for that one chance they might get back together and put on a show.
To say it was worth the wait would be greatly understating it. As a rabid concertgoer for those previous 15 years, I have seen hundreds of bands, and some pretty amazing live shows (as well as some unspeakable horrors). I can honestly say that none of them can even come close to what I experienced at the PiL NYC show. I actually got a natural high from the music! John’s vocals combined with the rhythmic bass and drums, it was massive sensory overload. I wanted to stand there and just take it all in.
I saw the Sex Pistols live in 1996 so I was aware of John’s capabilities, but I assumed that after all this time he might have lost a step. Boy was I wrong. His vocals were flawless, powerful, mesmerizing. His stage presence was just as powerful as ever, commanding the attention of every single person in the crowd, unable to look away. A living legend before us.
I thought the highlight of the show was “Four Enclosed Walls” with the rapid thump of the kick drum and John’s wailing... until “Religion.” John was preaching... ANGRY... and I was expecting the roof of the building to cave in from his voice combined the heavy bass (“more bass”). It was appropriate that the lights of the stage turned red during the song. By the time the song was over, my legs had gotten wobbly and I was covered in goosebumps. I wish it could have gone on forever.
Simply stunning. THIS is what music is all about. John has proven time and time again why he is one of the most influential figures the music world has ever seen. The bands of today should pack it up and go home... all amateurs in the game, and I sure hope they’re taking lots of notes. PiL played for a little over 2 hours, and I smiled the entire time. Thank you, John and the boys, for making my PiL dream come true.
Poptones, live at Terminal 5 (posted by fan)
NBC, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Show, May 17th
Cat Ballou - Clan Rambo
(backstage at Jimmy Fallon Show)
Northampton, Pearl Street, USA, May 16th 2010
I was concerned after the shows I saw two weeks ago that the road might’ve taken its toll on the band, and especially on John’s voice, in the time since. I needn’t have worried – this band plays at a level of consistency that’s just unbelievable. This show was easily the equal of the other three, and maybe even had the edge because of the continued refinement in how they reimagine the songs every time they play. This was especially the case in Lu’s playing, which sounded a bit moodier and more atmospheric than it did two weeks ago. The sound at Pearl Street runs to the muddy side of things, but Walter ably coaxed a nicely textured, clear, yet monstrously booming sound out the room, which isn’t easy to do. The version of “Open Up” they played topped the other three versions I witnessed – totally bombastic and cathartic. And “Religion” was jaw-droppingly intense.
Some lifelong friends attended the show (we all grew up on PiL) and were suitably blown away by the groove, the sound, and John’s one-of-a-kind presence (they also enjoyed the nipples). How in the world his voice holds up night after night, week after week, I’ll never know (though I suspect the brandy gargle helps). But it sounded as strong as ever. The only bummer is that it was my last PiL gig until they tour again.
Thanks again to the band and crew for giving it their full-on all every night. It’s absolutely inspiring.
I just wanted to thank you guys again for playing our town. John was such a huge influence in my life and it was such an honor to meet him after the show. Thank you!!!!
I drove about 2 hours to get to the Pearl St Ballroom gig on 16 May. I actually live closer to Boston, and could have caught the earlier shows there, but frankly, driving, parking & getting around Boston in general is such a pain, I preferred to drive the extra miles to this performance.
Northampton is almost certainly the smallest city on the 2010 US Tour. It’s really a nice New England town with very strong underground/counterculture leanings – kind of a poor man’s Cambridge, but with a charm of its own. It has an all-girls’ liberal arts college (Smith), at which, earlier in the day, Rachel Maddow gave the commencement speech for their graduation. Early in the PIL gig, John made a wisecrack about “Where are the lesbians?” – so clearly, reputation preceded.
The Pearl St. Ballroom is in an old building that could stand a little freshening up, but then again, we’re not talking about Andre Rieu & the Vienna Waltz Orchestra here: it was just right for the musical vibe. Capacity, I understand, is about 700. Not sure how many were there last night, but it was warm and the crowd in the front portion of the hall was fairly tightly-packed. I perched myself on one of the elevated areas in the back, and had a great view of the stage. I was situated a little to the left and at first I was concerned whether I might hear too much guitar and not enough bass…..Ha! Nothing to worry about on that point! Scott Firth’s bass was so deep and powerful it must have shifted a few tectonic plates in the course of the evening. It was the guitar I had to strain to pick out of the mix sometimes.
This is Not a Love Song, which seems to have morphed from a quirky dance tune into a full-bodied rock anthem, kicked things off in grand fashion, and segued after 5 minutes into Poptones. Scott lays the classic Wobble groove down, but more amazingly, Lu Edmonds has Levene’s peculiar guitar figures down to a T. How’d he do that? I mean, this is not standard chord patterns – but he’s somehow nailed it. Johnny stretches the song out with returns to the “Drive…drive” opening and is putting as much feeling into the vocal as this song ever had.
Memories is next and honestly it takes me a few moments to pick it out. The sound mix is a bit muddy, and maybe it’s just my ears but I think John had some trouble getting himself on pitch for this. He had complained during the first number about his mic being “too shrill, not enough bass” – (eh, Scott had it all!) - so maybe they still hadn’t adjusted him right. Anyway, after a couple of minutes the song is galloping away and I have to wonder why this was never a bigger hit. It’s a mark of Lydon’s poetic talent that these lyrics, semi-inscrutable as they might be, nevertheless stick with you and give you a sense that you know what he’s talking about! About 4 minutes in, Bruce Smith on the drums kicks it up another notch, drawing Edmonds & Firth with him like a magnet and somehow the song is driving even more frenetically, as if someone just cranked the Intensity-meter from 7 to 10. Come to think of it, that could be said about most of the songs – this band just does not let up, never plays it safe with any of the material, squeezes every drop out of each arrangement.
Next up, a great though somewhat obscure number from the “This is What You Want” album: Tie Me To the Length of That. Scott switches over to a small synth to play the menacing, stalking bottomline on this one. They use the segue method again, letting it flow directly into Metal Box’s memorable lead-off track, Albatross. Then comes the immortal Death Disco, where Bruce again refuses to let things slacken despite the extended workout. And you can see that John is still in touch with the feelings that drove him to pen this masterwork. He gives it everything he’s got and doesn’t let it end until the tune, and the band, is fully spent.
Where do you go from there? Well, how about nearly 10 minutes worth of Flowers of Romance? Again, Lydon’s telling you a tale that only he truly understands, but the poetry and the force of its delivery burn the invisible meaning into your brain: “Now in Summer, I could be happy or in distress, depending on the company / On the veranda, talk of the future or reminisce / Behind the dialogue, we’re in a mess…” Lu starts off on what appears to be a 12-string electric banjo, playing it with a violin bow! He switches instruments in the middle of the song but near the end straps the banjo back on and starts soloing on it like a guitar. Mind-blowing.
Psychopath from JL’s 1997 solo effort is next and is followed by a trio of tunes from PiL’s 9 album: Warrior, USLS 1, and Disappointed. Then another dip into Psycho’s Path, with Johnny asking the crowd to sing along on the chorus of “In the Sun” which they gladly do. Lu plays one of those funny mouth keyboard things – a Melodica, I think you call it. Hot on the heels of this rather jaunty number comes the thundering Bags from 1986’s Album, which segues into a ferocious, slashing take of Chant from Metal Box. Then one step further back – a selection from PiL’s debut record. It’s Religion, and John milks the topic for all it’s worth: “Are there any priests in this town?....are there any children?...Is the Pope a Nazi?” The song itself is played to the hilt. Scott is on his electrified stand-up bass, which basically looks like a 2-by-4 on a metal stick, and is every bit as loud as his bass guitar. The ending – the last 2 minutes or so - are just relentless, Lydon wailing “This is religion” and the others locked in together and pounding away on the main riff.
After a short absence from the stage, they return for a 3-song encore. Public Image first, sounding as fresh as ever. Then Rise, with its “Anger is an Energy” sing-along. And finally, surprisingly, another JL solo track, Open Up, which sounds more impressive live - more gutsy & heavy. Johnny leaves the stage with sage words of advice: “Buy Sarah Palin’s new book – it will provide you with comedy for the next year….but never vote for her!” I’m tempted to hang around and play the adoring fan, asking for autographs or photos, but I’ve got 2 hours to drive, and work in the morning, so I head for the exit, thoroughly satisfied that PiL has risen from it’s long dormancy with a vengeance, ready to remind the world what it’s been missing for 18 years. OK, so it’s not the original lineup, but it’s a group of first-class artists who play a retrospective of the band’s career with total commitment, skill and inventiveness. In many cases, they take songs that were probably one-take improvs to begin with, and recreate them with the utmost finesse and taste. For the first time ever, it seems (and I’ve seen PiL four times in the past) you get a sense of the band jamming – not quite Bruce, Baker, Clapton-style, but taking turns adding unique personal touches to the arrangements, while still showing respect for the originals. And all appear to be having a good time at it. Perhaps JL & his merry men are finally getting their due. About damn time, I’d say.
Tie Me To The Length Of That, live in Northampton (posted by fan)
Atlantic City, Borgata Music Box, USA, May 15th 2010
Here comes yet another review raving about how absolutely bloody marvelous PIL are on this long overdue tour. We were there at their 1st NYC gig at the Palladium with Wobble, Atkins,etc. We were there at The Ritz "behind the screen" riot/gig (which by the way, MUSICALLY, was excellent. We were at the Brooklyn Zoo gig were John taunted the audience by starting the gig with a wireless mike refusing to leave his dressing room. We were at many, many wonderful gigs. But this blows them ALL away! The only bad thing was the choice of venues, but Mr. Lydon made it work. We can't praise the band enough either they are the perfect compliment to Mr. Lydon's singing.
We are long time friend of multi-instrumentalist, Lu Edmonds from The Mekons and he was kind enough to take us backstage after the gig. John, the band, Rambo, were all unbelievably nice.
We are OLD and have been to thousands of gigs over the years and this ranks in the top 3 EVER. Miss this band at your own peril.
Dennis and Lois
What a pleasant surprise. Well, perhaps "pleasant" isn't the right word. Stunning? Absolutely. It was a stunning performance. And something I didn't necessarily expect. When this reunion was announced, I was skeptical. No Keith Levene? No Jah Wobble? Well, I wouldn't miss it but surely, it couldn't match my memories. In 1980/'81 I wore out a copy of Second Edition, playing it almost daily as I smoked and ruminated on the dead end that rock had become and the vast, uncharted space that lay beyond. I never got to see the band back then, though I remember hearing of a New York gig -- at the Roxy? -- where John and Keith stood behind a screen baiting the audience until there was a riot.
So of course I had to see them now -- whoever they might be. But how could they be anything like I remembered? I mean, who in middle age still has the passion, the courage, to get up on stage and really expose all the dark currents, the warring tensions, the glorious flaws that make us all human? And if one were smart enough to create Second Edition in the first place, why would he even bother making such a commitment now to so numb a listenership? After all, when was the last time a modern rock audience cared enough to riot?
Well, tonight I witnessed the noblest of gestures, an honest glimpse inside through a truly psychic door that howled and surged with the defiance of utter personal freedom. Thank you, Johnny. It was better than I remembered because it was here and it was completely real. Please keep this going. Now more than ever, the world needs to be reminded of its own visceral, stunning substance.
Johnny Rotten has been inspiring me since I stood on line to meet him at Tower Records in NYC when I was 15. Now I am 40, and to my absolute shocked delight, he is still inspiring me! I was skeptical to go to a show at the Borgata Casino in New Jersey because I wouldn’t normally be caught dead there. It was filled with Jersey Shore cast wannabees and loathsome bloated Americans, but with that said, the Music Box venue is a great spot to see a show.
Public Image Ltd put on a spectacular performance. The musicians, Lu Edmonds, Bruce Smith and Scott Firth, were exceptional - a super tight band.John Lydon is an awesome frontman, he commands the stage and his booming vocals were strong throughout the entire show. It was a real thrill to see his performance - he gave it his all and it was greatly appreciated!
I’ve been to many shows but this was a thoroughly fantastic set. The high point of the night for me was the band, bathed in red light, performing ‘Religion.’ It was dramatic, scathing perfection. The show was like a fantastic slap in the face to wake me out of the dull monotony of daily life. PIL reminding me that there are still real artists out there with something to say. Thank you, Johnny. It was worth the 3 hour trek from NY… Ah, what I do for love.
I first saw PIL play live on April 2nd 1988 at Perkins Palace in Pasadena CA. It was the third concert I had ever been to and one that was spectacular!!! Well, Saturday night’s performance at the Borgata in Atlantic City NJ was even more powerful. I have seen hundreds of shows all over the US in the past 23 years, this ranks up there in the top 5. The dynamics, the power, the precision controlled chaos and beauty...it was all there. The band is great, particularly Lu Edmonds – the man has chops and amazing skill, yet is able to tap into that reckless abandon punk improv thing whether he is playing one of many guitars or an electric banjo with a bow or a sitar or who knows what else – he was as fun to watch as John because he was clearly getting off on the resonating tones that were hypnotically rocking everyone – Bruce and Scott rocked as well – Scott switching to the electric upright to deliver a sacrament of Bass during Religion and Bruce driving everything with his relentless, artful drumming.
When I had seen them 22 years ago as a five piece, they were solid….Well, seeing them as a four piece Saturday was even more powerful, they were a wall of sound – John’s voice seems to have gained power and range. The setlist was spectacular. Songs like Poptones were as amazing as always; but the way Lu Edmonds seamlessly swapped instruments on classics like “Flowers of Romance” just …I don’t know what else to say, you have to see/hear these guys to understand why all of these reviews are so glowing. It’s not just the sound, the setlist, the arrangements of some of the songs…it’s also the atmosphere John and the band create. John is a consummate showman and entertainer.
The Music Box at Borgata is a tiny 1000 seat, plush theater. Ushers show you to your assigned seat – it’s controlled; not over the top controlled, but much more reserved than a typical rock club….so what I am saying is that I knew John would have something to say to just slightly unravel the order of things there… I knew he’d inject his razor sharp wit should anyone get out of line, crowd or ushers…and he definitely did. By the middle of the third or fourth song he had everyone dancing and moving up to the front of the stage, he admonished the ushers not to kick anyone out for merely dancing, and the Borgata staff seemed to let it go until people were blocking the aisles – but instead of hassling the individual patrons, they sent the stage manager over to whisper a few words to Johnny; and John, with firm resolve explained the situation, and the audience complied – and the rest of the night was aurally, intellectually, and artistically simulating beyond compare! Thanks P.I.L.!!!!
If you miss this tour, you will miss something special.
What a tremendous concert! Anytime one gets to witness John in person it is an overwhelming experience. This was my second time seeing John; first time was a few years ago when he brought the Pistols to NJ. I thought that was the best show I would ever have the pleasure of being at, boy was I wrong… PiL what a great show, very personnel, felt like John was there for just for us. The highlight of the night came when John came over to give us high fives, I did not get one, but John knelt down real low and shook my 12-year-old sons hand. He really went out of his way to do so; my boy was and is so ecstatic that Mr. Lydon did that for him. He is a big time PiL fan (guess I did a good job raising him). Was not sure it was possible to be a bigger fan than I was before, but for him to do that for my son, I have gained even more admiration for John.
The audience was very subdued for the first song, only a handful of us were dancing, that is until the man in the orange t-shirt was about to be kicked out for dancing. Once Rambo told John what was happening he said, “no one is to be kicked out for dancing at a PiL show”, extremely cool of him. He made sure we knew not to get stage, that we as PiL fans can police ourselves, and for the most part that was true. My thanks to the band, and of course Mr. Johnny Rotten! PS: Please don’t let this be my last time seeing you guys live…
Jeremy and Chad Stewart
I had the honor of seeing Public Image Limited three times in my lifetime and each time I walked away with a feeling that I had just seen the greatness of what music truly can be. I loved the show at the Borgata on May 15th. I believe the venue was a poor choice and stuffy as all Atlantic City audiences are but, PIL forged on and gave a unbelievable show. I admired the entire band for such a lifetime of uncompromised music and I agree Johnny "Let them dance"--I guess you told the Borgata--LOL. I would love to see a new PIL album in the near future and next time let's truly get to be free (perhaps the Trocadero in Philadelphia ?)--I also wanted to add, I tried to wait to get a autograph from the band and was thrown out by the stuffy security at the casino. I have met many bands at other venues and never caused a problem-loosen up at the Borgata. Hats off to the Public Image Limited one of the greatest bands I ever seen live.
Public Image, live in Atlantic City (posted by fan)
Pittsburgh, Club Zoo, USA, May 14th 2010
I drove for hours to reach Club Zoo yesterday. It was ridiculously humid but I stood there and started the line really early. I'd been waiting for this moment, seeing PiL, for eighteen years. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd get this chance.
Granted, I'd gone to the show, essentially, AMA (against medical advice). Though being in my thirties, I have a heart condition in which I should not become overly excited (and therefor seeing PiL was obviously not a bright thing to do). Add to that my DD disease (my spine is collapsing and standing/walking/driving is extremely painful) and, well... I shouldn't have been there. But nothing was going to stop me from seeing PiL.
I cannot even begin to express the absolute magnitude of experiencing PiL live. As great as anyone might imagine it to be, it's beyond that. The overall performance was astounding, the stage presence amazing. No matter where you may have been in the venue, it is impossible not to be entranced by the band. The music was really tight and John's vocals were lush, stronger than ever. A great variety of songs from all periods of PiL made for a well rounded showcase of the material. The performance of "Sun", "Psycho Path", and "Open Up" were unexpected pleasures! Speaking from experience, whatever you might think PiL is, you really don't know until you've seen them for yourself. This show was the best I've ever seen in my life. I honestly know it will always remain the greatest. Phenomenal!
I danced and sang, had the best time of my entire life. I only wish it would have never ended. I'll never forget this night. Thank you so much, John Lydon and PiL, for making my (and many other's) dreams come true. Please consider touring the USA again, we need you to bring some joy to our lives!
When the show ended, I could barely walk. I'm still in quite a lot of pain today. But I wouldn't change a thing. In fact, one night is not enough. I set out tomorrow for an 8 hour drive to Massachusetts to seek out a ticket to the show and one more evening of happiness. I'll be there, first in line. Thanks again, PiL!
Found out about the gig in Pittsburgh at the last minute and made the drive from Cleveland. I am almost 50, have seen a million shows, including PIL in March of 1980 at Cleveland Agora. This Pittsburgh gig was as good as any show I have ever seen! John was charming and sounded spectacular. He led a surreal sing along about the sun. Was spot on with insults, such as the one where someone was holding up an LP and John said "put that album down, you look like a fucking idiot". The energy of the music did not let up until it was over. This Is Religion, with the bass being pushed to inhuman levels, was delivered in a sense I was being beat with a baseball bat but I could not turn away from its power. Poptones, Albatross, Chant!!!!! incredible night. Thanks Public Image - you renewed my faith in the power of sound.
Scott Cheese Borger
The show in Pittsburgh was sensational last night. The band was so tight. John's vocals were spot on. Great turn out too. Thanks the whole band.. John, Lu, Bruce and Scott for signing my PIL album. You all definitely have to get to the next show if it is in your neighborhood. Thank you John for a great night of music!
I just got home from the Pittsburgh show,and I'm incredibly happy. Finally, a band delivers on promises made to fans. And in this case, not just promises, but long-term commitments.
You can believe what others are saying. PIL live in 2010 is phenomenal. The songs are more vital and alive than ever. The musicianship and sound will amaze you. John's vocals are more powerful and nuanced than ever. Obviously John and the boys put serious thought and time into their craft and preparing for the tour. By no means, would I call this a "reunion tour". From what I saw tonight, this is a band just starting to come into their prime.
I recently rewatched the Sex Pistols' "There Will Always Be An England" DVD and to me one of the most enduring things about that film is John's unrelenting display of love for his country of birth. Well, let me tell you something, this current PiL tour is just like that, only John is laying it out there for his adopted country and it's every bit as genuine whether it be through the music or through the words he speaks.
The Pittsburgh show, like many others I've seen comment on this page including a fucking legend in his own right in Cheese Borger of Cleveland's notorious Amazing Pink Holes (seriously... consider his seal of approval a damn honor), was among the best I've ever seen. It was bliss. A heartful thanks for stopping by the Rust Belt.
Washington, 9:30 Club, USA, May 12th 2010
Public Image would like to pass on their gratitude to the people of Washington. Absolutely outstanding show. Absolutely outstanding crowd. Absolutely outstanding atmosphere. Thank you and goodnight from Public Image Ltd.
Public Image Ltd, May 12th 2010
Audio webcast of the show, along with photos available via the NPR website. Play it LOUD!
Wow! It was amazing! The best concert I've ever been to.
Sorry about our staid Washington environ. If we leanded on you and you had to carry us a little, thank you. You did it brilliantly, the show was masterful and we were transported. This is the city of beareaucrats though - and they're staid people, doesn't matter who's the boss. And they're getting their virtual and spiritual asses kicked right now and rightly so. The fans in other cities around the country - those are the good folks who pay the salaries around here.
Welcome the the US. Looking forward to more PiL. I was hoping this show would be recorded and I am listening to the NPR webcast right now. I'll be passing it on and doing what I can to let everyone know how great this was. Best.
As a huge fan of Public Image Ltd. since the mid eighties, I was excited to get to see one of my favorite bands live again. The drive in a torrential downpour from Richmond, Virginia, was not going to dampen my spirits. Not only did the band not disappoint, the show was, by far, the best I have ever seen them. The noise factor, alone, was just out of this world.
Lu Edmonds has an inspirational way of playing the hell out of those stringed instruments. His chaotic guitar work was wonderfully overwhelming. John Lydon has a voice that just will not quit, even after two plus hours. Bruce smith was spot on, and what can be said about Scott Firth? His bass kept up a thundering presence throughout the whole show. If a dub sound has ever been added to rock music in a better way, I've not heard it.
Most importantly, the show was FUN. Mr. Lydon and the rest of the band were obviously having a great time, even with the typically lackluster response of the Washington D.C. audience. I wait with baited breath for a new album from these guys. Thank you, John Lydon, and crew.
Saw you guys last night at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. When I bought my ticket, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Many years had passed since I'd last seen PiL and I wondered whether the intensity would still be there or whether it would be a typical reunion tour (i.e. going through the motions). I needn't have worried. John Lydon still channels the raw energy of punk, while successfully blending other musical influences such as reggae. He's also got the stream-of-conscious poetic lyricism of Allen Ginsberg.
The band sounded fantastic - creating a wall of sound that, at the same time, was amazingly nuanced. That's what I've always loved about PiL - you cannot pigeonhole them into a category. The music is just far too complex for that. Frankly, as one of the creators of the post-punk movement, I've never understood why PiL wasn't more popular. My only thought is that perhaps the music is too much work for some. Those folks don't know what they're missing. If you stop trying so hard to analyze and just let PiL wash over you, then you're in for one amazing ride!
Hats off to you all - especially you Mr. Lydon. You've kept it real and relevant and that's very hard to do these days.
You took me back to 1989 when you stole the show from New Order and The Sugarcubes at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I love that you keep the punk rock mentality alive, using your stage to spread positive political statements. I hope you come back soon. We're not over you yet!
I don't agree that the 9:30 crowd was staid--PiL are a POST-punk band, best appreciated by swaying or dancing in place and just letting the sounds wash over you. I missed most of "Rise" due to protecting myself from flying boots in the last-minute mosh pit. But I digress...
This wasn't a reunion tour, for which I was grateful. Though the songs were familiar, many were subject to new arrangements, and the band this time around is absolutely phenomenal. Lydon was a presence, as always, but also worked a lot harder than I'd seen him in the past--he couldn't have had much of a voice after this gig. All around, an utterly fantastic show that lived up to expectations.
When I first saw that PIL was doing a reunion tour in the UK, I was praying that they would decide to do the same in the US. Finally, when the US tour was announced, I was ecstatic that the DC show would coincide with my birthday! After reading all the amazing reviews from fans and the press alike, I went to the show with great expectations, which can sometimes be dangerous. I cannot believe the band still out-performed those expectations and left me completely floored! What a phenomenal show from beginning to end with a great set list to boot!
The band sounded rock solid and tight as can be and the energy was through the roof. I've been to hundreds of gigs in my life and this easily within the top 3. Simply top notch musicians all around. John Lydon is a powerful presence! Thank you for such a memorable show and a big thank you to Bruce for taking me backstage to meet the one and only! Bruce, I still owe you a drink the the offer will stand until you redeem it! John Lydon, you are truly the one and only! Thank you for your outspokenness and keeping it real.
NONE FINER, 3 DAYS NOW AND THE EARS ARE STILL RINGIN. THIS SHOW WAS UNDER VERY HEAVY MANNERS, ITAL IS VITAL. BEST SINCE HENDRIX AT MERRIWEATHER POST IN A THUNDERSTORM, WAY KOOL LADS. MANY THANKS.
PiL and NPR Thank you so much for doing the live webcast! I have never experienced a concert like that before and what a cool thing it was. Talking with the other PiL fans in the chatroom was fun and made it possible to enjoy the show in a totally different way. We sang, danced and shared our thoughts about PiL throughout the evening. Sharing, what a concept. Thanks again.
Fantastic show! John Lydon has lost nothing over the years. He's still an unadulterated force for good in the world.
It was hard to believe all that sound came from one guitar. And the rhythm section was really groovy. The song selection was interesting - Psychopath, Sun, and Open Up from the solo album, for instance, were unexpected - the latter serving to turn the end of the show into a rave after a pogo/mosh to Public Image and Rise.
An extended version of Flowers of Romance was a highlight. The singing was pure. This is the real deal, not at an ironic remove or using mock self-deprecation to hide insecurity.
For me, Religion was the highlight of the show. When it first came out it presaged the increasing secularization of society. Lydon as prophet and predictor! And now it serves as a timely cry of resistance to the corrupt old ways and the heavy burden of religion-themed oppression that is resurging in America. Plus, it rocks. It set the stage for a raucous, rapturous encore that sealed the transcendental feeling of the night.
Must sleep now, the show wore me out.
Public Image, live Washington (posted by fan)
Baltimore, Rams Head Live, USA, May 11th 2010
Last night, May 11, 2010, I saw PIL. The sound was fantastic. Johnny Lydon's voice was extremely powerful.All of the band members were excellent. I was so impressed by the energy that was performed. It felt like "Uncle John" was going for it 110%. As they played some of the really old tunes from 25 years ago I was completely struck by the relevance today. The vision, the poetry, the commitment was inspiring. Again I think Johnny has proven that he invented yet another style of music copied by thousands of bands from Metal, Rock, Rap, Art, Progressive etc. It was also great to see him look so healthy. We need musicians like this more than ever today.
As a 57 year old original rock musician, I must say that this was one of the best concerts I have seen on 30 years. That's coming from an opinionated jaded musician. I am inspired. "John..your still the king on top and I am so glad you never surrendered your title".
Wow! What an amazing show! I saw PiL three times back in the 80's and I never imagined the show would be so tight, so high energy and that Johnny would sound SO amazing! The set was over 2 hours long and the song choices were perfect! I wanted it to just keep going all night long! If I have one complaint - it's that I had to wait 20 years to see them again! Please don't make us wait that long again John!
For 22 years I've waited. My sister and I were lucky enough during the 80's to catch PIL 3-4 times. Well here they came finally to Baltimore's Rams Head Live and we were there. What an excellent show! After a few of the first songs Johns voice was pitch perfect to the old days. His demanding choice also reflected in his supporting musicians. They sounded great and at times it seemed like a good old jam session. They were having fun. I am so thankful that PIL came around again. It was worth the wait and I hope not over.
Thanks PIL for an excellent show!!
I very rarely share or post anything online, but PiL's show in Baltimore last week compelled me to write a few lines of gratitude to the band. I had last seen PiL in '92. I was worried that maybe too much time had passed, that an older Lydon might be out of step, that the band members may not be up to speed, etc etc etc. And when the sound came on, it was glorious. John lydon is hands down the best performer I have ever seen. He has lost none of the wit and humor that made PiL shows so lively in between songs. The band's sound was very tight, and the heavy bass of old was still there. The sound from the records translated so well to the live performance it was owe inspiring. To hear Memories or Albatross sound that hard and true was brilliant! This was not a rock concert or an experimental show. This was a PiL show, with all the fierceness and intelligence I was expecting. I remember a few years ago going to see Jimmy Cliff play in Baltimore, and how worried I was that he may also not be what I was hoping he'd be on stage. And just like Jimmy Cliff blew me away with the most authentic performance you could never imagine, PiL simply delivered the best show I've seen in a very long time. I doubt I'll see better this year. It goes without saying, John Lydon, your fan base really, really wants to hear you play again live, and, hopefully, maybe, be treated to a new record from you and the band. Thank you, I mean it.
The attached photos were shot with my iPhone (no that's not a commercial plug). I'm a working photojournalist but this is all I had for best show of the year. Tough! Enjoy.
I was 18 again for a few short hours last night..... PiL rocked the house....
The show last night at the Ram's Head was amazing! The music was so beautiful and Johnny was fantastic. His voice sounded so good. I felt sorry for everyone who wasn't at the show because of what they were missing. Truly incredible. Loved every minute of it.
What a great show. I've loved Johnny and PiL since the mid-eighties when I was just a teenager. I never had the chance to see them live until last night. PiL played in Baltimore in about 1992 with Big Audio Dynamite at Hammerjacks but sold out before I got tickets. About 15 years ago Johnny was going to do a solo gig at Bohagers here in Baltimore and I got tickets. I couldn't wait to go. Unfortunately the show was cancelled and I didn't get to see him. Well, it was a long wait but well worth it. John looked and sounded great. He's always been someone I've admired as a musician and a person and seeing him live for the first time he did not disappoint. Far from it. Lu was absolutely fantastic on guitar and it was nice to see him play with John again. Bruce was great also and so was newbie Scott Firth. A very tight unit onstage last night at the Rams Head. You guys were great. Thanks for coming to Baltimore
Thank you PiL for a smashing evening! Your performance was exceptional. My friends and I are still in awe due to your super tight musical quality, diversity, and of course your undying idealism. It is about time you returned to performing. Cheers!
Tie Me To The Length Of That, live in Baltimore (posted by fan)
Providence, Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, USA, May 9th 2010
I've been to a lot of shows in my life, but I've never been to one as good as this, and I'm not kidding. It was sonically mesmerizing. Thank you.
I just saw the show in Providence, RI at Lupo's. It was simply amazing. The sound was incredible. It seemed more like I was in my living room listening to the band, than at a venue. Top notch performance from all. I'm looking forward to any and all future endeavors from PiL.
Paul La Fleur
Had a great time at the Boston show and an even greater one last night! Lu is the embodiment and transcendor of all PiL guitarists, as is true of the chemistry of the entire present line-up. Once again, a great show and a great crowd. Bass! Bass! Johnny in your face! All imitators keep banging the door!
Well, well.... What to do on a Sunday night at 8:30PM - just when you put your 10 year old to bed after lacrosse practice and a good meal? Well, I just walked across the block to see some "special stuff".... I bought my first PiL album (see? I date myself!!) in the early Eighties. Totally disappointed as I expected Mr. Lydon to be Mr. Rotten. Always thought that angst and the the barrage on the grand 'ol Mum could last. Nope. The album is way, way downstairs - unplayed for 20+ years.
Got the ticket to PiL on a hope and curiosity. The goal? See Mr. Lydon before I die. And, I did. And, I did with an enormous result based on a totally revved up, precise, and perfect demonstration of passion, musical power, and a good bit of the Rotter after all. (loved the "cough syrup" gargle!!)
I have NEVER heard a more tighter set in my life. Musicians of unbelievable talent and energy!! Cheers to JL. I see maturity and the "heart and soul" he speaks of from his Montreal gig. Mr. Lydon, I let you know that my son holds you with great respect based on his Dad's reporting from last night!!! (consider yourself on the pedestal as we speak!!) Cheers and good luck!!
I was so excited to see JL live and he didn't disappoint! He looked great, sounded great, the band was solid, it was an amazing show! I will be revisiting my PiL collection and look forward to new releases!!!! Please keep touring!!! WE LOVE YOU and NEED YOU!!!
Montreal, Olympia, Canada, May 8th 2010
My body and mind is the Sex Pistols but my heart and soul is P.I.L.
Montreal has been one of the most uplifting experiences of my life.
This was bar none the best PiL concert ever.
Thank you Scotty for making this possible.
John Lydon, Public Image Ltd, May 8th 2010
PiL came to Montreal and gave us a night to remember. The crowd was into it from the start and PiL didn't disappoint. I was Impressed by how hard Johnny can still belt out one brilliant tune after another and equally impressed by the tightness of the band. Was that a bouzouki Lu was playing at times during the show? Wicked. Johnny spiced up the show between songs with his appreciation for the Montreal crowd and with the vitriol he threw at the previous night's Toronto crowd, much to our delight.
The sound was incredible. Johnny's repeated cries for more bass on Religion had it building up to chest-thumping blows. If Scotty is the sound engineer, then Scotty is a fuckin aural God. Everything was crystal clear and I even managed to walk out after the show without the usual ringing. It was all sweetness & light.
Personal faves were Poptones, Flowers of Romance, Bags/Chant and Religion ("hide your children, the priests are coming") but every song was a pure delight.
Thanks Gents, you put on a hell of a show. Here's to British Butter. Cheers!
Travelled from Ottawa to Montreal to see PiL on May 8th at Olympia. Stood front row for the show. At 42 yrs old, I've been a huge fan for 2 and a half decades but haven't had the opportunity to see PiL live before. The show was absolutely amazing!! Brilliant!! Exactly what I wanted but was afraid to expect. Incredible connective energy! The music and lyrics are as, if not more, intelligent, innovative and relevant today as when they were first written. John's steadfast conviction over the years is both respectable and motivational. I was simply blown away by the live performance...I feel like I can die now! Yet I am left oddly invigorated by it.
Some shows are not to be missed and last night's was one of them.
I just saw a music icon, who hasn't toured in like 17 years, play an intimate show where the crowd was into it from the start and the band just fed off of that energy and gave it their all.
One of the best shows I've ever seen in my life and certainly the best show that I've seen in a very long while.
Whenever a band on stage says, "<insert city name here> is the best, we love playing <insert city name here> because <insert city name here> knows how to rock unlike <insert rival city name here>," one wonders if the same thing isn't said at every venue. To see it written on the band's official website the same night after the show puts that notion to rest, at least as far as Mr. Lydon is concerned.
Thank you for your kind words about Montreal. I am glad that you enjoyed the show as much as we did.
I saw a huge lot of concerts to this day. And this one, the PiL gig in Montreal, is now on my tiny "best concerts ever" list. Truely inspiring. Even the songs I didn't care that much on the albums were huge on stage. The band was solid and sounding oh so good. Lydon's voice and presence were top notch. Thank you so much Mr. Lydon for one of the greatest nights of my life.
Thank you for the spectacularly rousing show in Montreal. It has left me feeling profoundly inspired and rejuvenated. I last saw PiL perform 29 years ago and am heartened to see the band in such good form. Lydon remains a force to be reckoned with!
Well French-speaking Montreal was out in force last night. The crowd was ecstatic and PiL were electrifying. Hope to see PiL touring with a new album again in the not too distant future. You know you guys will always get a welcome crowd in Montreal!
Last night, I had the chance to be present at one of the best shows that I have ever attended. I was sure that my chances of seeing PIL live, and especially here in Montreal, would never happen.
I am 21 years old, but I was introduced to PIL by my father when I was 13. I remember watching PIL music videos with him and wishing that I could see this band live someday; I own all these books and posters on the whole punk and post-punk era (I am especially proud to own the first edition of John Lydon’s autobiography “Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs) so you could imagine how I felt when I found out that PIL were embarking on a North American tour. Based on the online reviews, I read that PIL’s shows were great and I was anticipating exactly this. In the end, I was more than blown-away: Lydon’s voice was extraordinary; his unique stage presence kept me entertained throughout the whole show while the sound and the band’s playing was so powerful. Simply put, you just have to be there to experience it for yourself in order to understand how all of this really was. What really surprised me was that Lydon’s solo material (“Sun” and “Psychopath”) were included in the set list; it was totally unexpected for me. (By the way, my father and I were standing upfront in the first row). :)
On top of the show, what really completed my night was when both my father and I were fortunate to meet John Lydon and the talented underrated guitarist Lu Edmonds. After the concert, I really wanted to get one of my PIL albums signed as a souvenir, but security was being so heartless at my simple request. When Lydon came out from the back door on his way to his bus, the venue security immediately blocked any form of approachment and I thought that my chance was lost. However, when I screamed out that I just want to get a signature he came out from his bus two minutes later. I was ecstatic. :) In addition, not only have I been extremely lucky to get my CD autographed, but I also had the chance to have two pictures taken with Lydon with himself offering my dad to take a second picture just to make sure it turned out right! My dad was just as excited because he also got the chance to have a picture taken, and to shake hands with him TWICE! This really meant a lot to him, just as much as all of this did to me, since my parents come from Poland and in their youth, there was no chance for them to see renowned bands in concert. As I previously mentioned, we also got a chance to meet and have pictures taken with Lu Edmonds, another legendary figure, since he used to play with “The Damned”. He was so nice and he actually threw in a couple of Polish words! Really, meeting Lydon and Edmonds for both father and daughter was a dream come true.
As a side note, the leading “mainstream” Polish music magazine, “Teraz Rock”, writes articles on the Sex Pistols and on PIL from time to time. In fact, last month’s issue had an article on PIL’s current tour and Lydon’s statement regarding the possibility of recording a new PIL album. That being said, since PIL were very pleased with the Montreal crowd I suggest that the band seriously consider playing a show in Poland. I can say without a doubt that their loyal Polish fans will go really wild with excitement.
Anyway to sum it all up, thank you PIL for such an unforgettable night; you truly gave your all to your fans. :)
Vanessa - Polish daughter and her father (Montreal)
I had the extremely good fortune of being at L'Olympia in Montreal the night that PiL came to town. The show was epic! I couldn't believe the power of Lydon's vocals and how powerful the band were (for 2 1/2 hours!). I had a revelation at the gig as well, which I believe was translated from the band's performance. My friend Jordan and I got there early and stood near the front only to be pushed back by latecomers who swarmed to the front. I was annoyed at first, but before the anger could turn to hatred, I began to think of it as a party instead of a concert. It didn't matter where we stood, we were at a party with PiL and what could be better than that? I could have pushed my way back to the front, but instead I looked around at God's children with awe and wonder while the brilliant sounds of PiL filled the room. Thank you PiL! One of the best shows I've ever seen!
It was a fantastic concert....what else....thanx a lot!!
Excellent show, great musicianship and an incredible Mr. Lydon in my view, dancing around, and singing for me to see. What more can an old fan dating back to the very early dates of the band ask for? We greatly enjoyed it. Thanks Mr. Lydon, and the boys. You are a class act, hope you come back to mtl soon.
Having seen pil in 82 then again in 88 I think those were the dates there was about 20 years of my life that was very vague I can only say john lu bruce and scott you guys were in top form coming from England myself in 1975 and having to leave behind gary glitter donny Osmond and elp what a shame it was a relief when the pistols came out with the bollocks album and I thought at last no more bullshit but it ended almost as fast as it started I guess as you sang in your last song as a group it was just no fun anyway when pil started you kept to your rules john honesty and no bullsht a lot of members came and gone but you never sold out so when I found out you were coming to montreal I got my tickets right away on the day of the show I told my wife we are by the way both in our mid fiftys that I want to go there early to get a good place I could not belive it front row to the left facing lu me with my union jack tee shirt I felt like I was 17 all over again then you guys hit the stage and if there is a god for two hours plus you four were our higher power and I think by the look on your face john you enjoyed your self as well by the way I liked the way you dissed Toronto montreal and Toronto do not get along anyway as neil young wrote about its better to burn out than to fade away well keep the flame alive john because pistols or pil you are our man and with that I thank you montreal thanks you and we hope to see you all the best…..
Me and 3 friends came from Quebec City to see the show. Am I glad we did? You bet! The concert was awesome. I was second in line, right in front of Johnny. Looks like he and the band where having fun. So was the crowd. Sound was really good. I especially loved “Death Disco”, “USLS 1” and “Religion”. Would have love “Annalisa” but still, the set list was awesome. Come in Quebec City next time!
Encore! live in Montreal (posted by fan)
Toronto, Phoenix Concert Theatre, Canada, May 7th 2010
I was 17 when Metal Box came out. I managed to track down an import copy on LP and it was unlike anything I had heard up to that point. The references mentioned in the UK press around the time (we did get NME) led me to seek out Can and Neu etc. MBox was truly a life altering piece of work.
I kept up with PiL for awhile, but drifted away at some point, and as a result, never saw the band live. Fast forward to last night. I bought tickets as soon as the show was announced, perused the set lists from last winter and couldn't wait to see the band ! I did approach the show with a bit of trepidation. The intervening decades had built up PiL as one of the iconic bands of my life ! Would the band measure up ?? Would John sing it straight or would there be some singing interspersed with monologues about whatever ?? I was hopeful but nervous.
9:15 and we have Love Song morphing into Poptones ! A post-punk jam band. The trio sounded amazing and John's voice was powerful ! For well over 2 hours, the band performed songs I knew and many I had not heard. What was 'Warrior' ?? 'Open Up' ?? Why had I missed those ??
All I can say is that PiL last night was a spectacular band playing a perfectly paced set full of brilliant music ! No disrespect to the band of old, but the musicians chosen for the tour did a fantastic job and in my mind at least, laid to rest the 'Wobble question'.
I did speak to some folks who were moaning about no Wobble and how much better it would have been, but I have to say, as I did last night, it was a stunning show and John chose the band very well. This was PiL !
I hope that this will prove to be an ongoing project and we get the opportunity to see PiL again. I am certain as word gets around, the next time will see a much larger audience ! Thanks to all involved for coming to Toronto !!
Static crowd may be explained by the hypnotic nature of your music, it's hard to move sometimes when you're riveted and hanging on every note. Death Disco was one of the first singles I ever bought and was floored by the performance last night, thanks so much for doing it and doing it so well. The pope is a fucking nazi, big AMEN to that. Huge props to the musicians for creating such an orgasmic ball of sound to curl up in, that bass in Religion was beyond the pale. The guitar work was fascinating and beautiful and the drums/bass built a pocket big enough to get lost in for hours. Fantastic show, fantastic band, thanks for moving the event from the horrible Kool Haus to the Phoenix otherwise I'd probably have missed it. John, you are that rare legend that actually exceeded his considerable reputation in the flesh. Brilliant performance last night. Please keep this band together and come back soon. Long live PiL.
I just got back to Hamilton after seeing PiL's Toronto show. I'm still trying to process the event. My heart continues to vibrate from the bass of Religion. Somehow it seems like Scott has always been a part of Public Image. I still have shivers from seeing the band I've loved since I was 12 walk out on stage a few feet from me - a spectacle I never thought I'd witness. Hearing Lu strum the first chords of Rise brought back every memory related to that song and that magnificent Album. Bruce seemed to be having as much fun as I was and, with apologies to Martin Atkins, he is PiL's true drummer extraordinary. John was the ultimate front man with the ultimate voice to match - unrivaled, unforgiving, unmistakable, unforgettable - unbelievable. I give up - words cannot express...
I was absolutely BLOWN away at last nights performance in Toronto. As a long time fan of PIL and 42 years of age, it takes a lot to get me excited. From the opening note I knew I was in for something special. The band was tight and John's vocals were impressive to say the least, the range of harmonies and strength of his voice left me in wonder.
It's true we are pretty laid back here in Canada, but I have to say I was impressed with the crowd as well, they responded to the energy of the band that kept Rising the entire show. Rise, Albatross, Disappointed, This is Not A Love Song, Warrior, USLS1 and Bags were the standout songs and all the others were incredible as well. The band really hit their peak towards the end and the encores had the most energy. I left the show wishing I could go to Montreal and there are not many bands out there today where you can say I want to go to the next show and the next and the next.
Thank you to the band for an amazing night of music and to Johnny for bringing back the music that changed my life 25 years a go. "PIL Is An Energy" A very amazing energy. Peace and Light
Well, aside from the lazy audience, the performance from PiL was mind-blowing. You have to experience it to understand and you've got to go in to it feeling something for the music and the words to appreciate the depth of emotion coming from the stage. This is an irreligious experience, but at the same time reminds you that there is something that music can do that lends it a spiritual vibe. It brings joy and sadness and kicks your ass too. There is nothing out there like PiL and no one out there who even comes close John Lydon.
Thank you PiL. Thank you John. I hope I don't have to wait another 17 years to see you again.
FUCKING STUPENDOUS SHOW LAST NIGHT IN TORONTO!! JOHN'S VOICE IS THE BEST I'VE EVER HEARD IT AND THE BAND ARE SUPER TIGHT AND THE BEST INCARNATION OF PIL EVER! I WOULDN'T SAY THIS IF I DIDN'T MEAN IT FROM THE HEART: THAT WAS AS GOOD A CONCERT AS I'VE EVER SEEN, AND AT THE MOMENT THERE IS NO BETTER THAN PIL. KEEP IT GOING BOYS AND LETS HAVE A NEW ALBUM!
Well played Sir . After a refreshment upstairs I was magnetized to the front of the stage . So as not to be greedy I made the most of second row . What an enchanting experience . Particularly moving was the heartfelt rendition of Death Disco . Having suffered a similar loss , it was well taken. I highly recommend everyone engage PIL to the best of their abilities .
My compliments to you John, and thank you for looking me in the eye when I shouted Annalisa .
I'm a bass player in Toronto, I've played and I listen to many styles. The current state of the music biz is pretty bad and it was great to hear and band like PIL that seems to fear no borders! (Frank Zappa, Tom Waits being 2 other greats in the same frame of mind). I'm only just becoming familiar with PIL as I've spent a year solid listening the Never Mind the Bollocks and the obsession continues with PIL!
FUCKING KILLER SHOW! Keep up the great work! John is absolutely fantastic and the current band is the best one for sure!
Religion, live in Toronto (posted by fan)
Boston, Royale, USA, May 5th 2010 (2nd night)
When John Lydon announced last September that he was resurrecting the “Public Image Limited” moniker for a string of U.K. dates that December, responses from the music world ranged from eye-rolling disinterest to rabid fanboy/fangirl euphoria. As a longtime fan, I found myself standing right in the middle of those extremes. While the idea of seeing PiL live in action after an 18-year layoff was beyond appealing, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down over the band lineup that would be making the “reunion” rounds. (No Wobble, Atkins or Levene? Bringing back two guys from PiL’s least experimental period? Really?) Also, would a fiftysomething Lydon even be able to produce a convincing PiL show? But, like the dutiful PiL fanatic (PiLock?) I am, I eagerly followed the press and YouTube videos (complete with Lydon’s “this is the best band ever” interview hyperbole) that surfaced as the U.K. dates moved along. The reviews and videos were pretty damn good, so it was with great confidence and enthusiasm that I purchased tickets to see PiL’s May 5, 2010 performance at the Royale in Boston.
Not only was I not disappointed, but I also had the privilege of seeing one of the greatest live bands on the planet.
First off, let’s do away with the “this isn’t really PiL” nonsense – silliness that even I was guilty of perpetuating in the recent past. Bruce Smith is as powerful behind a drum kit now as he was with The Slits nearly 30 years ago, while the returning Lu Edmonds brings the same musicality to the table that made even PiL’s most commercially-minded mid-80s material a vibrant listen. And while new bassist Scott Firth lacked the sly onstage menace of (the usually seated) Jah Wobble, he more than held his own in PiL’s second-most crucial slot.
Like the free-form monster captured on 1980’s Paris In The Spring, the current PiL played the majority of their set list in an incredibly loose fashion that made for an exhilarating display. (For example, “Poptones” – which felt wonderfully out of place following “This Is Not A Love Song” – went SOMEWHERE ELSE ENTIRELY around minute three.) Watching Smith’s mischievous smiles behind the kit, one gets the sense that the band takes a song wherever they want to at any particular moment. Simply put, PiL were impressively tight and gloriously shambolic all at once.
Although the relatively sparse – and vaguely responsive – crowd often didn’t give Lydon much in the way of feedback (“I feel like we’re being analyzed!” sneered the man between songs), he clearly earned every penny of the ticket price through a performance that ranged from the expectedly humorous (blowing snot out of his nose) to the chillingly human (a particularly pained rendition of “Death Disco”). After 35 years in one of the most savage industries in the world, Lydon is as raw, honest and inspiring as ever – and PiL remains one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in modern music.
Agreed with other posters. I drove 200 miles from the friggin Catskills to catch PiL again. They were the first real band I ever saw in Boston as well in 1982 at the Channel and figure the odds of ever them playing anywhere close to the middle of the nowhere I live would be slim. I was shocked at how piss poor Royale promoted the band (thank you Fodderstompf and PiL Official) and here I was thinking I was lucky enough to get a ticket in advance weeks before the show and then saw the small turnout. PiL were fucking stunning though. 2+ hours and the turnout didn’t faze them a bit. That my friends is mutual fucking respect to and from a band to its audience and back. Another lesson I wish more bands would note from them.
And I know some of the skeptics keep going back to no Wobble or Levene in the lineup. Trust me, I love Wobble's stuff ( Levene's….err, not as much..) but Lu Edmonds, Scott Firth and Bruce Smith did so good. LOUD, but not just copying riffs. The band added to the songs.
Fifth time overall seeing PiL and tied the first time as the best I’ve seen. Thank you John. Now could you make a detour through the Catskill? And put ‘Four Enclosed Walls ‘ back in the set? Is that asking too much!
Stunning. That's all you need to know. But for those of you that need detail...
It was FUCKING STUNNING!
From the second they came on stage until the end, not a drop of sweat was spared. Lydon is the consummate entertainer and loves his audience, and we love him.
Great show last night. My friends and I had a blast.
John, you are a legend and I am glad I had the opportunity to see you perform on stage. Thank you and the rest of PiL, for putting on a great show. I know the crowd was a bit sparse in Boston, somehow the word must not have gotten out that you were coming to town. Never-the-less, you all performed like true professionals. It was excellent. They really don’t make bands that can play like this anymore. I hope you can make it back to Boston one day.
If you are a youngster and into music, don’t miss out on this band! This is as good as it gets. Trust me. I have seen a band or two in my time.
Chant, live in Boston (posted by fan)
Boston, Royale, USA, May 4th 2010 (1st night)
Last night was a very uproarious event, a fantastic gig in Boston. And backstage I was joined by Senator Robert Hedlund – he's the State senator of Massachusetts – and Kevin G. Honan – he's the State Representative for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
We had a rather long in-depth conversation about child molestation AND the Catholic Church. A joyous evening was had by all - with prospects of good conclusions on the Pope. Thank you.
And, boy howdy, those lads can drink.
John Lydon, Public Image Ltd, May 5th 2010
Pulsating, throbbing, undulating, scathing, inviting! PiL brings the A game! Great show. Great set-list. GREAT BAND! See you all in Providence -- Viva la Bass!
I have to echo Mitchell's comments about the lack of promotion. It's a shame since it was such a fantastic show. I hope this US tour achieves its goal of making enough money to fund a new PiL album. With such a stellar band, it would be a shame if you did not get a chance to make new music for us to enjoy. There were many highlights last night, but my favorite part was "Death Disco" and "Flowers or Romance" played back-to-back. I spent the morning searching the Internet to find out what other stringed instruments Lu Edmonds played in addition to standard electric guitars. It looks like he played an electric saz (three-stringed guitar) and a cumbus (sort of like a banjo with 12 strings). He was terrific as was the rhythm section of Scott Firth and Bruce Smith. John was his usual entertaining self and we even had the pleasure of him castigating a "fan" who spat at him during "Religion". As John pointed out, how ironic was it that a Christian to offense and responded by spitting. Brilliant!!
PS - I went to the ConcertLive website to purchase a live recording of this band during their Dec 2009 tour in the UK. While I have great memories of last night, I need to hear this again and again. Go to www.concertlive.co.uk
Hey, just wanted to thank you all for a FANTASTIC GIG in Boston on 5/4 despite poor attendance. Not that I'm responsible but I feel like apologizing for my city - the promotion was terrible! Tickets didn't go on sale until about 3 weeks before the gig, the Royale had NOTHING about it on their website, no one there every answered the damn phone and it's a club that recently changed it's name. All those things conspired to make the gig invisible unless you were looking for it. Despite all this it was abundantly clear that the band gave IT ALL for the people who showed up, and I for one am eternally grateful. Come back and play a real venue next time and people will turn out in throngs!
This is Not a Love Song, live in Boston, May 4th 2010 (posted by fan)
Chicago, House of Blues, USA, May 2nd 2010 (2nd night)
Thank you Chicago for your fantastic support. Great response. Great crowd. Special gig. Thank you from Public Image Ltd.
Public Image Ltd, May 2nd 2010
Absolutely amazing 3 days of my life! I was so lucky to see you the last three nights in Milwaukee and both shows in Chicago! Absolutely monumental shows! You, Lu, Scott and Bruce brought everything you had and delivered. The sound surging off the stage each night blew me away! John you moved on stage like a 20 year old! Each night it definitely seemed like you could have easily played another 5 hours with no problem. Sunday night I have to thank you for the raw emotion you brought to the song about your mother. I felt your genuine emotion float down through me. I started to cry. You took yourself to a place emotionally that you almost didn't recover from for the next song. It was so deeply felt by all of us in the crowd. Thank you for sharing night after night the deepest emotion in your songs. It resonates how much your lyrics mean to you and us. Your songs mean something! You blew me away! Traveled from St Paul, MN to hit all three shows. During my drive home I suddenly burst out in tears knowing I would experience a huge void when I arrived home. I had to pull over to collect myself! Shows what an intensely emotional three days it was!
The Sunday night show in Chicago was amazing. I was fortunate to have seen PiL on 4 different occasions back the late 80's-early 90's, and yet this gig was the best I'd ever seen. The band was phenomenal, and Johnny's voice was top notch. Lu Edmonds versatility was the highlight of the show. I sincerely hope that there will be new music to come from this line-up.
The bass was so damn loud and completely perfect to the point that even though I'd had misgivings about Jah Wobble not being a part of this "reunion", I quickly realized it didn't matter. Kudos to Scott Firth, whom I had been unfamiliar with until last night.
Bruce Smith was hitting the drums harder than I remembered him hitting back during the "Happy?" and "9" days. The set list didn't disappoint, although I would've enjoyed hearing "Seattle". I really can't complain since so many of my favorites were played including a great deal of the material from "Metal Box".
I'm eternally grateful that Mr. Lydon has brought PiL back into action as I had grown tired of the Pistols reunions. I will always love the Pistols and have great memories of seeing them on the "Filthy Lucre" tour. The show I just witnessed Sunday was the John Lydon of legend. Confident and full of vigor. Giving his all and receiving full praise for his efforts. I couldn't stand still during the show. I felt like all the cliches had been left behind and I was witnessing something on the same level as seeing a Picasso or Van Gogh painting in front of me. More PiL please?
Having been a fan since the age of fifteen, this was my first PIL show - and I've got to say that, after their performance at the House of Blues on 2nd May, I'm going to have loads of PIL songs stuck in my head for many months to come. The entire experience was the nearest I've experienced to an aural multiple-orgasm. From 'This is Not a Love Song' to 'Memories' (the bass line of which had me dancing almost involuntarily against my will - not that I didn't want to dance!) to 'Tie Me to the Length of That' to 'Bags' to 'Religion' (where the bass shook me so hard that my fillings rattled), to 'Public Image' to 'Rise'...all of it was just so incredible.
Thank you so much, PIL, for giving me every penny's worth and showing that you are indeed, as Mr. Lydon recently said, "a celebration of life."
BEST. GIG. EVER. Love always,
Thank you PiL for an incredible show on May 2 at the House of Blues in Chicago. I've never experienced anything quite like it. Powerful and Beautiful. Can't wait for the new album. "More Bass, Walter!!"
I was at both the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee, WI and the second night at the House of Blues in Chicago, IL (May 2, 2010). Thanks so much for making it a great mothers’ day weekend for this mom! I had a brilliant time and was front and center at both shows. I must say the Chicago show was my favorite. I’m always too busy dancing and having a good time to write a song list (and I’m sure someone else did anyways). It was a nice mix from all the different PIL eras. The music was fantastic and I am a little disappointed I didn’t go to Saturday night as well. Please enjoy the Ugandan necklaces I left for you in Chicago after the show!
The crowd was bigger and much more vocal than the previous night's -- but these effers STILL won't dance! How can you just stand there, arms folded across your chest all night, when those MONSTER grooves are rolling off the stage? Crazy. But no matter -- the crowd, in the end, was there in spirit, and John and the band clearly fed off of that support. The band's improvising is becoming frighteningly creative and trance-inducing, and the cleaner, tighter "rock" songs have tightened their punch to a deadly degree. Being on the road is doing wonders for what was already a stunningly powerful band. When John declared that "everyone else is shit" by comparison, it was really hard to disagree. Never thought I'd be so thoroughly blown away by PiL in 2010, but there it is.
Of the last three nights, I'd still rate Milwaukee's crowd the best. But John and the band really raised their performance to a higher level last night. Absolutely stunning gig.
Next stop for me -- Northampton. Life is good.
Probability theory states that it was highly improbable there would be anyone from Belarus on the concert of P.I.L. in Chicago. It is even less probable that someone from the same country would be present on both concerts. Yet it happened.
I went to the concert on May 1st accidentally - a good friend told me that during my 3-day-stay in Chicago I have no way to avoid House of Blues. I checked the show list - and then youtube'd P.I.L. When I heard "This is not a love song" I realised I have no other choice but go. It was later that I google'd who the hell John Lydon is and understood whom I've seen and heard on May 1st.
On May 1 I took a risk because I was feeling that the guy would have energy. And it was there. Together with distraction, nervousness and feeling that the public is a bit "frozen". Indeed, they didn't know how to react. I talked to the few folks in the crowd. For some it was first time P.I.L. as well as for me. Others, who saw Sex Pistols and "old" PIL, were too old to shout. John talked much during that concert trying to revive the difficult audience. That was good because it showed some human sides of the show and finally contributed to the great second half "revival". Unfortunately, the sound was not so good. I was sitting in the back in the first 30 minutes or so, and I had a feeling there was only one channel for voice and one for everything else. Therefore the energy could not be transformed in the sound which really had to be there. That was frustrating.
But despite that, you guys managed to make us move. Feel. Think. React. Not believe our ears. Then believe and laugh. Clap. Shout.
So I took a great dose of "video-audio-text-Johnny-Rotten-Lydon-PiL-musicians" mixture the next day. And I realized I just have to come on day 2. To see how whether the band's and the crowd's behaviour will be the same. To see how many will come. To listen if the sound's better. But frankly, mostly because I don't know if you ever come to tour Poland or Belarus or other parts of Europe you may have never been to. And I was feeling it is not enough to see you guys live once.
On the second day the crowd was bigger. I met some people who were on Day 1, too. I guess many recommended the gig to friends. The sound was better, too. Bass was recognizable (guitar less so, but maybe it was an intentional sound strategy?).
The mood on stage was better. It was obvious that the reaction of the crowd was much more energizing the band than on Saturday. There was one sad thing: John talked less. Why should he, if the audience reacts well? Still, I missed that part.
"Warrior" was the culmination of day 2. It had all the right energy. It had also the right - for me - feeling of being one "nation", being one flow, Reps excluded ;-) (said by Irish Brit, living in LA, shared by Belarusian living in Poland, huh?).
To make a long story short: thank you, John Lydon. Thank you, PIL members (I was impressed btw how the bass guy fits into, despite Spice Girls past ;-)). You're clearly the best. Those who say otherwise, go f**k themselves.
Encore! Live in Chicago, May 2nd 2010 (posted by fan)
Chicago, House of Blues, USA, May 1st 2010 (1st night)
The House of Blues seemed an unlikely choice for a venue until I had a look at its ominous wall of sheeted metal and thought ... now this is truly a metal box.
Everything that could have gone wrong tried to that night but to no avail. Broken foot or no and Artworld overload be damned there would be a reunion for Root's Radica. My crew and I were not to be denied the full return to thee Public Image Limited. I had my serious doubts about the crowd in their infinitely conservative Chicago attire lamenting the winter past... my concern for the fellow next to me who was wearing a down jacket the entire night was worrisome to me that he might claim some vehement vengeance which was never quite dismissed even as I invited him to take his coat off and stay awhile. I tried to imagine that he may have had a micro recording studio built into the outfit at some point in hopes of raising funds to feed the wife and kids back home. So it goes... the line up of songs was Ace and the delivery without waver on the part of the entire PiL collaborative junket!
Thank you Mr. Lydon for setting the poptones for the evening at the outset and assuring us that 'This was NOt a LOve SoNG' as a way of reminding us where to find the value of words and value of your allies and also friends. None of your ideas were lost on those of us engaged in the mutual exchange even as we were surrounded by the gorgon kissed disbelievers unable to even find their pulse inside a chorus of hand claps. Bigger Thanks to all the PiL Master list of Collaborators for keeping the beloved spirit of the dance well alive through the entire set. The Poptones were as fresh when they first graced the listeners and memorable as the flowers you love so much..We will always appreciate the path you have chosen to lead for us away from religion and its treachery through the valley as an idiot dance in The Sun. Now if only you will pass that Hennessy round to the first and second row next time to make the gain so high!.... It was an evening rescued by those with ears to hear and lyrics to sing back at you... We did not disappoint and it was seen on your face.... again thanks.... Never mind the Fuckwits....
Just let us know... same bat time and same bat place.... the production crew stands ready to produce the PopTones Pop Up and Limited Edition Public IMage.. at your Service Thee Radical Eclectic Radica
Seriously did have a good time and will wear that crazy bird shirt who laided an empty egg again if asked..... Enjoy the rewards and never be crossed... k
Now THAT’s how to wake up a dull-as-dirt crowd! Seriously, I was embarrassed on my town’s behalf for the first half of the set – how could anyone just stand there when the monstrous, loping groove of “Memories” is throbbing through the room? John gamely tried hectoring the deadbeats to get them moving, shouting, to show any reaction to the energy that was pouring off the stage. But when the lectures weren’t working, he and the band simply dug deeper and worked harder, and pretty much DARED the crowd not to get with it. They got with it. The band-audience give-and-take finally took hold properly with “Warrior,” and didn’t let up through the end of the night. It was a blinder of a set. Thanks to John, Lu, Bruce, and Scott for not giving up on us! (And to Walter, for another superbly mixed show). Let’s hope tonight’s crowd will be up for it right from the get-go, like Milwaukee’s was....
What is it with Chicago crowds? No hips? Feet nailed to the floor? To hip to show you're enjoying yourselves? Get over yourselves please - look at Lydon, he was wearing clown pants for gods sake - brilliant mate! The band didn't give up though, not with the best rhythm section in the biz (Bruce and Scott may be the new - who? Sly and Robbie? they were that tight and slinky) - and just hammered the deep dub/dance grooves. The old stuff was so amazing, as were the solo tunes, that the "rock" tunes (yeah, you know what I mean) just didn't have the impact (and I still can't get my head around Warrior and the flag waving reaction to it, please tell me you're taking the piss John). It's been 17 plus years now and you just proved on stage that PIL really is a heavy dub/dance band. Can't wait to hear what these guys come up with in the studio.
Milwaukee, Pabst Theater, USA, April 30th 2010
Overall amazing! The videos online, even the CD's, don't even come close to the concert. My wife and I drove 4 hours from Minnesota (it seems a lot of reports are from Minnesota for this concert overall!) in a nasty rain but was well worth it. Very intense from start to finish, and I think fairly full, although odd to have a concert like this in a place where half of the floor is seating (?!).
The set list was great and from what I've seen seems to mix in different songs every concert, but could be wrong. Listening to PIL over the years, each album has a distinct sound but playing the songs live, they flowed and made perfect sense with each other. John sang his heart out, you can tell they aren't just words and sounds to him. The band was amazing as well, I've never heard better bass in a concert and Lu's playing across the spectrum of PIL material was effortless. When they played Religion and John kept droning on about "needing more bass", my wife and I could smell smoke from something overheating, I don't think it was my imagination.
After the show John was kind enough to do autographs and take pictures with a few people hanging out and chatted a bit.
Still hoping the tour will come back to Minnesota, but thanks for the show it was one of the best I've seen and hoping for more!
Whoa! I’d seen loads of youtube footage of the UK shows and the US ones so far, and have heard several of the UK shows in their entirety. But none of that gives even a glimmer of just how great this band is! The power, the cohesiveness, and the improvisational sense of adventure are there in equal measure, driven along by Mr. Lydon and THAT VOICE – it sounds like it starts at the soles of his feet and travels the full length of his body before being unleashed, it’s so friggin’ powerful. Honestly, John has never sounded better, and even as a lifelong fan of the original PiL lineup, I have to concede that this is the best-sounding PiL yet.
The set covers all the bases, and the sound was impeccable. Nice venue too, and good people working there (and hats off to whoever is responsible for stocking New Glarus!) Roll on Chicago! Hopefully I’ll recover some of my voice so I can continue to shout proper encouragement to John and the boys over the next two nights.
John and company,
This was my fourth PiL show, and I must say this is the most musically accomplished version yet. Lu Edmonds has a marvelous synthesis of the previous guitar players, and the rhythm section has mad power. I loved the selection of songs (although you can count me as another "Seattle" fan), the intensity and pure sincerity they were delivered with, and the venue was a lovely building. And as an old bass player, I sure appreciated the calls for "more bass" during "Religion"!
Thanks for signing my 7" copy of "Memories" after the show (I thought it an appropriate item even though the lyrics are somewhat ironic for the sentiment).
Set List: (This is not a) Love Song, Poptones, Memories, Tie Me to the Length of That, Albatross, Swan Lake/Death Disco, Flowers of Romance, Psychopath, Warrior, USLS, Disappointed, Sun, Chant, Religion
Encore: Public Image, Rise, Open Up
Thanks again for a powerful art/music experience-totally worth the Minneapolis to Milwaukee round trip. If this ends up turning into "The Tour That Never Ends" I hope you'll make it close enough to these parts that I can hear you again (and again and again and again...)
PS: I just sent an e-mail reviewing the Milwaukee show and realized my setlist was incomplete, I left out "Bags" . Could you amend my post to show I'm not a complete idiot, just someone who can't read what they've written on the back of their ticket in the dark.
Since the PiL tour is not coming to Minneapolis I decided to book a bus ticket to Milwaukee and a hotel so I could attend. I'm sure glad I made the effort! I was right up front and what a show! Magnificent band! Switched effortlessly between all the various styles of PiL music through the years. Breathtaking ten minute version of Flowers of Romance and Albatross, Religion (MORE BASS!) I could go on and on.
Thanks for the best show I've seen in a long time! And as a bonus even got to see John's nipple!
John/Bruce/Lu/Scott (and all others involved):
I had a great time last night at the Pabst. Thank you for coming back to Milwaukee! You have no idea what your music meant to this socially unacceptable teenager from Nowhere, Wisconsin (pop. 2207) in the 80s, but you proved it could mean just as much to a middle-aged family man in 2010 (and that middle-aged family men can be rebels too, and that, in this day and age, joy can be/is a form of rebellion.) This is a link to a review of the show I did for a blog I write for.
Wow, I can't recall the last time I couldn't speak after a show from yelling so loud for so long... John, I'm genuinely heartened that your nipple enjoyed my rose. You're a snarky little so and so but I still adore you. PiL I salute you!!! With all due respect, Colleen the Irish lass
Flowers of Romance, live in Milwaukee (posted by fan)
Pontiac, Crofoot Ballroom, USA, April 28th 2010
Statement from Public Image Ltd:
All pit security left seconds after this clip ended -
to be replaced by a ever-increasing tsunami of PiL fans.
Rambo took control of the stage - later gently removing 2 over-enthusiastic fans.
The stage belongs to PiL - the dancefloor belongs to you.
You policed yourselves.
PiL would like to thank the people of Pontiac for their impeccable active participation.
Phenomenal show - phenomenal crowd.
Thank you Pontiac and goodnight.
Johnny Rotten calls security guard a 'fat lump' during concert at the Crofoot...
Former Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten was performing at the Crofoot in Pontiac last night with his band Public Image Ltd. when things got a little ... CONTD
Jonh Lydon Brings PiL to the States, and Plans on Staying as a US Citizen
About.com: Punk Music (blog)
As much as we like to deliver digs at John Lydon around here for exploits like his bit as a promoter of dairy products, I have to give him mad respect. ... CONTD
John, Lu, Scott, Bruce & Rambo,
A fine show by you guys at the Crofoot Ballroom, 4/28/10, in Pontiac, Michigan! I saw PiL perform in Detroit about 20 years ago after "9" was released. That show was one of my all-time favorite rock shows. The Crofoot Ballroom show demonstrated the band has evolved and still kicks it out!
A guitarist myself, I was especially interested in Lu's electric saz (is that what the thing is called?) and his entire line-up of cool guitars. I wasn't sure how you were going to pull off songs like "Home" and "Bags" since the recorded work is pretty intense. Yet, it was done very well.
John, your voice is truly one-of-a-kind! Thank you for bringing a quality rock show to Pontiac, Michigan. We hope to see you again very soon!
Religion, live in Potiac (from DetroitCity.TV webcast)
See Videos for more clips
PiL carictures sent in by Dave Worth. Brilliant! Click for larger images.
Kansas City, Midland Theatre, USA, April 26th 2010
What a great show! my wife nephew and I traveled from branson to see this show, and while both my wife and I are suffering from broken hips what we experienced that night was 100% worth the pain ......we got to the show early and hung around outside , and what's this? a bus pulling up!??? and to our amazement john steps off the bus, we were stunned, we were a mear few feet away from this legend, this amazing musician, we were so awestruck we could not even move. we then waited to go inside, after a stop my the merch booth (love the shirts,poster and keychain) we made our way to the very front of the stage,this is my first time ever seeing john, or p.i.l, I was so amazed and impressed.
Every song every note PERFECTION! ive listened to the albums, ive seen the videos, but MY GOD MAN! LIVE IS WHERE ITS AT! I was blew away by the sonic assault when the song public image was played.
It was such a wonderful show, afterwards we went outside and stood (painfully) buy the bus in hopes of just even catching a glimpse of john again, after about an hour or so my wife and I decided that the broke hips have beat us and I went to get our car, as I was pulling up right behind the bus my nephew came running down the side walk telling me to get out, and as I looked towards the bus....there was john! and he was talking to my wife! I dot think vie ever hoped that fast on one foot in all my life, then right there he is ..what a genuine and great person! thank you so much john, for the iceing on what was already a perfect evening.
I've included the photos of john and my wife and myself and a few from the show. THANK YOU!
Truly amazing and PROFESSIONAL! Great show, and that comes from a late-comer to the PIL fanbase. The first song I heard from them was "Seattle", which is still one of my favourites and was very much missed, but I am a musician as well and have some understanding of the logistics of set lists.
Let me take this time to apologise for the lame tastes of this old cow town. Upon entering the theatre at about 8:15, I was embarrassed and almost ashamed at the low turnout. Kansas City has been musically retarded since the 80's. Thousands of morons and rednecks paid big bucks to go see Nickelback, when the real history-making show was at the Midland.
I had the privilege of seeing PIL at Sandstone Amphitheater in '89, then again at Memorial Hall in '92. What is amazing is that after all this time, this show in 2010 kicked the ass of the other two. I could hardly believe how tight the band was and how strong John's voice still is. Lu Edmonds is truly a guitar force to be reckoned with. His playing is tastefully brilliant.
By the way, I'm a vocalist and former drummer, so I was enthralled by the instruments Lu was playing. The only "regular" guitars I noticed were a Strat and a E-335-looking guitar. One song had what looked like an electric banjo, which I believe he picked, bowed, and used a slide on... My favourite was that 3 or 4-string thing that looked like some class of electric lute or something. It had such a brilliant tone. I'd very much like to fine out what these two are...
Thank you John, for getting this lot back together. Jah Wobble wasn't missed.
Let me start by saying, "I don't give a F%#@K ABOUT GEOGRAPHY. Kansas or Missouri. Who cares!!!!" It was a history lesson in music, not places. I am walking around downtown and I see thousands of people walking around with stupid, empty looks on their faces. I thought of, my God, please don't let this be the crowd for PiL. John would surely not have a good time. Then, I discovered that Nickleback was in town, as well. I was so thankful that the stupid, empty eyed people would not be with those of us that knew who REALLY WAS IN TOWN. A REAL STAR AND TRENDSETTER.
The third time is the charm. My wife and I missed Coachella (Kidney Stones) and Denver (we all know what happened there). So, we made the 9 hour drive from Dallas to hopefully see the man and the band, that started it all for so many genres. (Punk, Post Punk, Hip Hop, Alternative, Electronica, Industrial, Goth, You name it, they all owe John a nod).
8:30 pm the lights go out and the band walks onto the stage. The first notes of "This is Not a Love Song" started to take shape and they sound like they have been playing constant for the last 18 years and not the other way around. Every song sounded as fresh as it did the day that it came out (no Nickleback here). These songs have depth, emotion, and heart put into every bar, note, or lyric. John sang every word like it was going to be his last but he just kept it all coming strong all night. And the band WOW! This group was tight all night and the songs from "Psycho's Path" the title track and "Sun" reworked by the band were AMAZING as well. Each band member played so professionally and at the top of their game that the songs sounded better than ever before. Lu Edmonds you are a guitar God my friend. (Thanks for being such a gentleman to my wife).
Other highlights were "Warrior" (our unborn child was kicking wildly), "Tie me to the length of that" was another show stopper. But my mind was completely blown wide open by the power of "Religion". 30 years later that song has never been so spot on. With all of the scandals going on with many of the World's religions; it struck a very modern day tone. John, you saw through the bullshit years ago. Always a visionary- in the beginning and still to this day. John can separate the BS from the reality. He can put it into a song to help us all understand what is REALLY GOING ON IN THE WORLD.
Finally, I would like to thank John and Rambo for taking the time to let my wife and I visit with them for a while after the show. I will never forget having a laugh with John at the expense of Whitney Houston. (London shows). Being lucky enough to be in the same room with John was a dream come true for Rebecca and I. Behind the intense stare or angry glare in John's eyes there is a very REAL Human Being that cares so very much about his fans and the world that we all live in. He gives his all in EVERY song like it is his last. It is from his heart. He is the REAL deal. That is why we will never read in USA Today that he gave a bad performance. An artist and visionary of his level comes around once in a lifetime.
GO SEE THESE SHOWS! TELL YOUR RADIO STATIONS TO PLAY THESE GREAT SONGS. The new album should be great. Thanks, John, for the GREATEST SHOW WE HAVE EVER SEEN. YOU ARE A REAL HONEST TALENTED HUMAN BEING.
Brian and Rebecca Groce
What can I say that hasn't already been said? The band was tight - just fantastic. Johnny sounded wonderful. The music is still so fresh and current. And the BASS..awesome! I was lucky enough to get a pic with Mr. Lydon before the show and loved talking to all the fans as we waited. My only complaint would be I could do without Disappointed (a crowd favorite) and would love to have heard Seattle instead. Fabulous evening.
PIL were wonderful Monday night at the Midland Theatre. They rocked the audience for two hours and were very loud. The bass was felt, not just heard. John was in top vocal form and was very charismatic as usual. I love the swirling psychedelic dub brew that PIL creates live. it's really something to behold. Religion still packs a punch and was great to hear it played loud in the bible belt.
John - Hello to you and PiL! I have never been able to see you guys - yet your music has been on my playlist for the last 26 years or so...talk about dating myself - LoL! Do you understand how important your music is to the entire genre and the beginnings of all the music (people at your shows) listen to? Simply brilliant!
Sex Pistols inspired the likes of Morrissey, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner of Warsaw/Joy Division/New Order - thank you, thank you! It all started in the UK...if you dig into the history of most bands including Bono (U2) and Robert Smith (The Cure), Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus etc...it all started from the post punk revolution that forward thinkers like you and your peers envisioned.
PiL's catalogue is a tremendous work that stands on it own and has stood the test of time. I was so happy to see you guys live; just can say it enough.
To the fans...thanks to all of you for making it out and showing your support for John and PiL! For a small audience I thought we really kicked ass. I had not read the reviews prior to the show didn't want to see any spoiler playlists :-) I had no idea you were going to play for over 2 hours - you guys simply ROCK!
When you came back out after a very brief rest and played an encore of Public Image, Rise and Open Up I thought the roof was going to come off the house - I love to hear the audience sing the songs.
I wish I could make the 930 Club show in Washington, DC - you are going to really get energized by the DC crowds, good fans there.
For me a perfect evening...I met 3 really cool new people and hope to hear from them soon ;-) I want a copy of the picture Megan has with you John (hint hint).
Public Image Limited was outstanding last night. They opened with "This is Not a Love song", and then proceeded to play what seemed like nearly ALL of "Metal Box" until the end of their set with some more recent pop material in the encore. Even though I owned a copy of the original Metal Box in the 80s, I'm a fan of the more recent material but this was an amazing show just the same.
A great, LOUD show, ...well enough attended despite poor numbers early on. Advertised to start at 8, it was more like 9 when PiL took the stage. The band were very tight; it was a slick, well-rehearsed lineup and I was glad for the 2-hour long set! The Midland is an amazing venue to see live music and PiL rocked it. I met some great new friends and very glad I got a chance to see the band live. Brilliant show. Please come back to KC, PiL, and thanks for setting a ticket price I could afford!
Gil James Bavel
Thank you PiL for such an amazing show tonight at the Midland Theater in Kansas City, Missouri. I've been to many shows over the years at the Midland including recent shows by Leonard Cohen and Motorhead and the sound for PiL was the best I've heard there. I hope that PiL will make the show available on CD or download.
John mentioned Kansas during the show so I want to point out to him that he was in Missouri not Kansas. While it may seem a trivial point to non-residents, it is a sore point to those of us on both sides of the state line with historical roots in this part of the world. Comparable perhaps to Scotland or Wales to England. Jesse James is buried near my home and we take pride in our rebel past. Being a Monday night in depression land most of the audience were devotees or at least respectful.
I hope that PiL will deliver some new material soon. Such a great band! John is the perfect front man. Maybe the band could do a PiL inspired "Standards" album to trump Rod Stewart. Sorry, just joking. Again, wonderful show, thanks for visiting our remote little town. Cheers.
James C. Allen
Denver, Ogden Theatre, USA, April 24th 2010
Denver Show Cancelled Due to Adverse Weather
Unfortunately Public Image Ltd have had to cancel tonight's (Saturday) appearance in Denver due to adverse weather conditions and the resulting closure of the Interstate 80.
John Lydon and PiL would like to apologise to everybody who had planned to attend the concert.
Due to severe ice on the road the band and crew were stuck in traffic for over 10 hours on the I-80 outside Rawlins, Wyoming and are now unable to make it to the venue on time. Sorry, they did everything they could, but it is now impossible.
Ticket refunds are available at point of purchase.
UPDATE: Tickets for the cancelled Denver show will be valid for Monday's Kansas City Show at the Midland Theatre. See PiLOfficial.Com
Two fans disappointed PiL fans outside the Ogden Theater Denver on Saturday. The couple flew in from Houston for the gig. Unforunately they couldn't make the Kansas show on Monday, but hope to get to a show later in the tour.
Pic Credit: Joel Dallenbach
Salt Lake City, The Depot, USA, April 23rd 2010
i thought your performance was good and it was great to see a legend live. however, the one thing that bothered me to see was when you were blowing snots out of your nose directly onto the stage. it made me a little sick, but i did enjoy the show overall including most of the songs like " in the sun" and your personality is so open and you say whatever comes to your mind that i am glad that i went to your show. Thanks for coming to salt lake city.
Rise, live in Salt Lake City (posted by fan)
Portland, Crystal Ballroom, USA, April 21st 2010
"Portland is PiL Town in Oregon."
John Lydon, Public Image Ltd, April 21st 2010
Thank you! A+ You brought back the rawness i have missed in PiL for years stripping away the polish! Fuck YES!
Steven R. Kauten
Good to see Johnny again. Good to see an old person (hah) of my age out there doing it. An over 2 hour show in Portland the night after a show in Seattle. The band is tight. Although my tinnitus was rebooted, I loved the show, the energy, and the return of a great artist.
What a show! John has lost weight since the Reap The Hay tour with the Sex Pistols a couple of years ago. His voice sounded excellent and the whole group’s energy was non-stop. The Portland crowd was subdued until the end, but Johnny got them moving. PiL played for over 2-hours with only a short 2-3 minute break. Great Job Guys... Glad to have you back!!!
Wonderful band. Wonderful show. John, I'm glad you are staying here in the USA with us, we can use a guy like you right now.
Portland was so good I want to quit my job and just follow PiL on tour.
This show far exceeded every expectation I had of it. I haven't been that emotionally invested in a show in years. Anyway, John your music has enriched my life so greatly over the years and I just wanted to say thanks. This show couldn't have been better, a must see. I pray that PIL will return to Portland again. Hope you like Bass!
Seattle, Showbox at Market, USA, April 20th 2010
"Girls, girls, girls everywhere! Johnny Rotten is now officially the sexy beast of Seattle."
John Lydon, Public Image Ltd, April 20th 2010
This was my first PiL show, and it was absolutely perfect. After years of being a fan, I was ecstatic to hear they were coming to Seattle. John's vocals were outstanding and the song line up was definitely suited for this tour. I was lucky enough to be in the front, next to Mr.Lydon during the show. The band created a very personal and respectful atmosphere. Although I wasn't able to talk to John after the show (too many people were crowding him) he was very polite and considerate to everyone who wanted one. Sincere thanks to John & the band for a terrific experience. May the road rise.
PiL "ROCKED" Seattle! I haven't jump, sang, danced or been in a pit all in one night for a long time! Definitely worth seeing if you can... Everyone played exceptionally great.... it was Warrior that finally got the crowd moving... (and a bit of chosen words by John for all those people sitting in the back)... It was a night I will always remember, glad I was in the front row.
Enjoy the pix!
Absolutely fantastic! Thanks...my third PIL show, the first in sf, the two story show and the second when I moved to seattle 1988 at the Moore... Def musically on such an inspiring level and so melodic... Lydon's voice is really wonderful and I was put in a dance-trance by the set list... Religion is still my fav and it certainly was the height of it for me but the encore songs/early stuff yes got to me too... a really perfect blend of old and new and this band really lives up to all of Lydon's claims for it... still getting over how great that was, please please come again... and yes we like to dance here JL.
Last night in Seattle was likely the best gig I've ever been to (and I been to many over the years).
Danced the entire show near the stage!
The songs sound AMAZING live - Religion, Death Disco, Bags and Chant were the big standouts for me. The band is tight. The venue was good and I loved being able to actually SEE the band! Let's hope the sexy beast and band mates play Vancouver soon!!
If I didn't quit smoking, I sure would have been after the Seattle show. Better than sex-hell yes. John Lydon's choice of band mates smoked most shows I have seen is over 20 years. I bow down to Lu Edmonds.
For the geezers (like myself) whining about the former bass player - WHO???? Scott is a master, at one point John directed sound man Walter to crank the bass, it came up through your feet and out my eyeballs. Bruce Smith on drums, every note with solidarity and love. John not only kicked ass ,so did his band!
The set list is posted- If you don't know the tunes, duh, look on you tube and..... pogo people!!- This is a show not to be missed.
Awesome show! He is still fun to watch...love the two minute smoke break LOL
Tanya Laurabee Briggs
I don't know what song yall played right before "Warrior", but it was amazing! Completely arresting! So glad I finally got a chance to see you guys!
Xoxo from Seattle
I took the love of my life to see PiL. Our relationship had been crumbling before then. I had bought the tickets so long ago- before so much damage had been done between us. We both thought it was the last time we would spend doing anything together. You helped us work a beautiful vodoo and gave us an anthem to keep
going. Friends are for Forgiving...in the sun, in the sun, in the sun sun sun!!! Thank you all so much!
I am in complete awe of Mr. Lydon. Last night’s show was the most moving, emotional and powerfully inspiring time I have had in many years. I saw the great PIL in 1984 last. John has only gotten better with age and wisdom. Thank you from the bottom of my heart I will not forget this time.
Warrior, live in Seattle (posted by fan)
San Francisco, Regency Ballroom, USA, April 17th 2010
I saw Public Image Limited (Pil) play in San Francisco on Saturday, April 17th, at the Regency Center on Van Ness. I almost didn’t go; advance tickets were fifty bucks and there were an additional 12 or 13 dollars in service charges. But at the last minute I decided to buy a ticket at the door. The show was billed as “An Evening With Public Image Limited,” which meant that there was no opening act, PiL started on time and they played for a full two hours. It ended up being a fantastic experience that exceeded any expectations I had for it.
John Lydon, singer and founder of Pil, looked and sounded great. Public Image was LOUD, clean and tight. They played extended, and often danceable, versions of songs from all phases of their career. As I watched Lydon I thought about how he used to look when he was younger, with his spiky hair and sneer; He was sarcastic, insulting to audiences and always seemed angry about what was going on. His hair is now even spikier. But he has a friendly, if impish, grin and seemed happy to be on stage singing again, working with talented musicians and in a town that loves him.
Lydon, of course, has a long history with San Francisco. On January 14, 1978, as Johnny Rotten, he played at Winterland at what ended up being the final Sex Pistols gig. (Winterland is gone now but was located just 8 blocks west of the Regency Center.) At the end of that night he famously asked the audience, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” No one felt that way at the Regency Center – Lydon actually thanked the crowd for being so respectful! There were moments when he even encouraged them to sing along.
Malcolm Mclaren’s recent death revived the discussion of the early days of punk, and of who really deserved credit for the Sex Pistols sound and image. But at the Regency Center on April 17th, all that mattered was that Lydon has survived and continued to grow as a person and an artist, and has remaining true to his punk roots and aesthetics. And for those who were there to experience it, this was yet another historic concert San Francisco.
John C. Sulak
What a show!
I worked the first PIL show in SF as the Lighting Director at the Elite Club (Fillmore West) and being a Sex Pistols fan was in awe of the new music. Johnny spent most of the show next to me behind the PA because everyone was spitting. I was some amazed at how cool Johnny was and his Manager was the greatest.
I paid to see PIL in SJ with Big Audio Dynamite in ’92 (That what is not) and PIL stole the Show. Johnny was sporting the Bart hairdo and ran back and forth like a crazed puppet. Another great show! So when PIL returns after such a long delay, I had to be there.
The show started a little late-no opening band (NICE!) and was a two-hour sonic assault. The new band was pounding out infectious rhythms that bordered techno. The guitar player was never ending hallucination of sound and instruments. The bass player never missed a beat. The drummer (no bigger than his kit) kept the songs moving like a freight train.
Great new songs filled most of the show, with only a few old hits thrown in. Johnny not as limber as in years past, still put on an inspired performance and you could see the old gleam in his eye on a couple of songs. "That song was the bollocks" he says. Yes indeed Johnny!
It was good to see his manager marching like the rock soldier he is through the whole show. You could get the feeling that this tour is going to be special and not one to miss and I am on a higher consciousness because I went. DON’T MISS PIL!
This written word is not a lie…PIL played outrageously well in San Francisco (what a crack band). John needs to know that. Thanks for being around, John L., you just made my night.
Hilary (an ex-pat).
i felt the need to still enjoy what i experienced saturday night at the regency in san francisco... pil...
a band that i have always admired and appreciated...
now it is monday and i still visualize what i saw and heard on stage that evening...
i knew it would be a great show, but never dreamed of this...
it was above and beyond a "true experience"...
pil has evolved into another presence that needs to be listened to and appreciated again... and again...
i felt in essence i was listening to new material...
even though i was deeply familiar with each song...
different textures of sound from the band and john with his one of a kind vocal style...
all from the heart...
that night will always be with me and all of us that were at the regency in san francisco...
what more can one ask for...
Setlist: This Is Not A Love Song / Poptones / Tie Me To The Length Of That / Albatross / Death Disco / Flowers Of Romance / Psychopath / Warrior / USLS 1 / Disappointed / Sun / Memories / Bags / Chant / Religion / Public Image / Rise / Open Up
I'm always wary of so-called veteran bands that take to the road after a long hiatus. Usually it's a recipe for disappointment when the band reveals itself to be a shadow of its former self, just cashing in. I won't name names, though one such band played the Superbowl this past year.
Last Saturday, at the Regency Ballroom, PIL played a daring, hypnotic, and transcendent show -- the kind of show where you feel you are catching a band at their peak and in their prime. John looks like he's in top fighting and vocal form, his kettle belly of previous years reduced to a small pot. But the guys he's brought with him on this trip helped John bring this experience to a new level. The band was able to make the more "difficult listening" songs of the early albums blend seamlessly with the more accessible material. In particular, the arrangements off John's solo album were better than the studio tracks. The helter-skelter highlight for me was the searing version of "Religion'. I've never seen a performer put so much on the line by performing such a controversial song with such edge and passion.
The only disservice done was by the venue, the Regency Ballroom, which doesn't seem as polished in its marketing and operation as other venues in the city such as The Fillmore and Great American Music Hall. I stumbled on this show by mistake, reading one of the forgotten weekly rags in the city. I also get the feeling the band wanted to play some more when the venue decided the fans should go home.
I hope PIL returns to San Francisco and to a better venue!
My name is Siobhán MacArdle. I saw Public Image Limited at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco last night. It was an AMAZING show! Johnny Rotten was as great as always. I had a really fun time and the music was great.
USLS1, live in San Francisco (posted by fan)
Coachella, Outdoor Theatre Stage, USA, April 16th 2010
"We would like to thank Coachella in the furtherance of our quest to lead where others can only dream to follow".
John Lydon, Public Image Ltd, April 17th 2010
PiL killed at Coachella! So. Fucking. Amazing! Best performance of the weekend!
Set: Love Song / Poptones / Tie Me To The Length of That / Albatross / Death Disco / Flowers of Romance / Warrior / Religion / Bags / Chant / Memories / Public Image / Rise / Open Up
Carole Sloan Garcia
Amazing. Never thought I'd dance to a webcast. Grest show, massive groove. How does it feel to be your own genre???? THANK YOU.
Fresh from the Nokia show (which i attended) i checked the webcast of the Coachella performance and i was really really impressed by the production.... I was expecting perhaps some mediocre camera work and poor audio but was pleasantly surprised by all the excellent camera work, angles and clear sound....great, great, great to be able to ask for seconds and get them.....congratz to all involved and thanx for letting us catch this amazing band for those of us who couldn't make it to the desert.....
Death Disco live at Coachella Festival (from webcast but posted by fan)
Los Angeles, Club Nokia, USA, April 13th 2010
I drove by myself from Tijuana-México to LA the date of the show and back after the show, 6 hours of driving....totally worth it....and the last time that I had seen PIL (July 1992 at the concert/video shoot at Iguanas at Tijuana) seem like only days apart...the music was incredible and better than ever...the atmosphere amazing.... and even the "pee" encore was great.
OK so I’ll start with the pull quote “fucking brilliant!”
Over the years I have seen various incarnations of Public Image Ltd. and the one thing that stayed consistent was the change of members. Because of such seeing Johnny playing as PiL with new musicians is never that shocking. I mention this because seeing PiL in 2010 felt more like seeing a fresh and ongoing band than any sort of reunion show. Not everything has changed though since he still has Lu Edmonds on guitar who has always possessed the perfect mix of Levene/McGeoch licks married to his own mad scientist brilliance. Overall though it was a perfect example of the progression of the media company that is PiL, because employees may come and go, but as long as CEO Lydon is still on board it exists, whether active or not. Lucky for us they are active again.
The Tuesday night gig at Club Nokia was a godsend since the only other show close was the multi-day festival Coachella…3 days and nights in the desert and hundreds of dollars to see one band is not my idea of fun. The intimate setting of Club Nokia was, and Johnny and Co. did not disappoint. Getting there early paid off since we were able to get right up to the stage barrier (My wife is only 5 foot) and see John up close and personal. Since others have given the stats/setlist, etc I’ll add that the theme of the night would have to be the Religion of More Bass, since John continually offset the lyrics to Religion to include his demands for more bass. So much so that I think the rumble eventually generated a collective fart from the audience it was felt so deep.
The songs all sounded as fresh as if they were written last month, both because the band has always been ahead of the curve and because musically they continue to progress, just as John has. The elements of his solo direction were in there, as were a renewed sense of venom from the many Pistols shows he has played over the interim years. Speaking of the Pistols one of the highlights for me was the absence of Pistols songs. As much as I love both bands I always hated the fact that John had to include a few for the punters, when PiL had so many amazing songs that wouldn’t get played (I am still waiting to hear my favorite Theme played again someday). This was PiL playing for PiL fans, as the Pistols only punks were not in the house tonight, which left room for pub singalongs on Sun and what I’ll refer to as the Rise (reprise). The show was loose, and so was John. His banter included stabs at record companies, our lovely gov Scwartzenasscracker, the clubs’ lack of air conditioning, and the folks sitting in the “too cool for school” balcony, specifically the guy with the silly Bob Marley hat. John will always be a classic vaudevillian comedian to me when he is not constantly shaping and reformatting mine (and the worlds’) musical futures.
The surprise for the night was the appreciation of the audience towards John and PiL as a dance band rather than a punk band as no one spat a drop. This was not lost on John as he stated “Finally after 30 years, the only one spitting is me. For this I thank you.. You will be rewarded.” Funny thing was we already were by mere presence of PiL, live once again.
Where to start: I was the first person in line at the Club (I felt awkward since I've never been first for anything!) and later on more people started to show up. I bought John some flowers (which I wish I could've given to him personally but that didn't happen) I made friends with a lot of people and it was great being able to listen to other's experience on past P.I.L performances from the 80's and so forth. I was also first in the pit!
It's barely starting to hit me on how excited I was and still am as I type this. The whole show was completely un-real. The performance that John gave to us, his audience, was just as he said - nothing but pure emotion from the heart. At one point, I wanted to start crying. I was really touched and shocked as to how brilliant the whole show was put together and how much energy and power these words had which affected me and so many others. Edmonds was absolutely all over the place! He has so much talent! It was one surprise after another when he would use his different approaches and methods when he played his instruments (which was a huge variety). Smith could drum-kick the whole night and Firth could effortlessly play rhythms on his beautiful bass guitars and there was STILL not ENOUGH bass that night. Well, there was. The whole floor was shaking but still I feel it should have been loud enough to be heard down the streets of Los Angeles!
Lastly, when the show ended, I went out to buy some merchandise and I was four dollars short. This gentleman behind me asked the employee selling the merchandise how much I needed and he ended up paying the rest. That was pretty amazing. I've never seen such kindness anywhere and I think this is what John has inspired all of us fans to be as people. Respect. Kindness. Individuals. We were all one that night. All the fans that attended had much respect for one another, were not afraid to interact, and have fun. I enjoyed last night very much and if I could go back in time and relive it again, I would do it in a heartbeat. Thank you so much for being here and good luck on the rest of the tour!
It was great seeing the legend in person again. John Lydon, his music, and his persona have been quite an influence in my life. The very first time I heard the Sex Pistols, I realized that I could make music if I wanted to. I remember the moment vividly. It was literally as if night changed into day and I was suddenly able to see the world clearly for the first time. You don't often have moments like that in life and you certainly don't forget them.
The last time I had seen PiL was in July 1992 for the (legendary amongst my friends) video shoot at Iguana's in TJ. John was in top form that night (as always?), and John McGeoch (guitar god) and Mike Joyce (drummer for The Smiths) were in the band. It was a night to remember. The show at Club Nokia was equally memorable, due largely to an amazing two hour set list that spanned the length of PiL's history. To hear "Albatross" wash over me live and loud for eleven minutes is my idea of heaven. That he played a further four songs from Metal Box made the night immutably brilliant. Perhaps the highlight of the night, though, was the audience singing the refrain "Anger is an Energy" over and over during Rise. I don't normally sing along at concerts, but that idea has resonated so strongly with me over the last 24 years that I couldn't help but sing out.
It was indeed great to see the legend in person again.
• (This is Not) A Love Song
• Tie Me to the Length of That
• Swan Lake (aka Death Disco)
• Flowers of Romance
Encore (John needs a pee break!)
• Public Image
Encore (John needs a smoke and a beer!)
• Rise (with "Anger is an Energy" audience reprise!)
• Open Up
No better way for me to spend my birthday eve than with John Lydon and PiL. I loved the whole damn evening. The music and the voice just work so well together and I was totally into it all, whether I knew the song or not which is always an important point. I know there will be erudite critical commentaries from those so much more knowledgeable than I, but who cares. It was great fun from beginning to end: dancing, jumping up and down, heart and soul. So glad I was there. I remain empowered by Mr. L. The music lingers in my mind. Everyone should go see PiL if they're coming to your town. Dammit go. THANK YOU!!!!!!
PiL's 2 hour long performance at the Nokia Theatre was absolutely brilliant. A great set full of seriously underrated and under-heard music. If you miss them on this tour you will regret it. (This is Not) A Love Song / Poptones / Tie Me to the Length of That / Albatross / Death Disco / Flowers of Romance / Psychopath / Warrior / USLS1 / Disappointed / Religion / Bags / Chant / Memories / Public Image / Sun / Rise / Open Up
Hi the show last night was great – Nokia I don’t like much but I really appreciated the enormous energy + presence that John had as well as this strong band. I think you guys will FLY at Coachella –Have a great time there ! Sincerely + thank you
Coachella, you are in for a treat! John and the band were in top form even though he said they were still rehearsing. the show was terrific. I do hope they add Annalisa or Fodderstompf to the set list. Brilliant.
It's amazing to have PiL again spreading some vibes with sense around the globe, at least some parts of it. I wish you could come to Exit festival in Serbia again, as you did with Sex Pistols (which was also nothing less than awesome & amazing event). I'll try to make it possible to come to any of the European shows.
The world NEEDS PilL music, the music is so degraded today and there is so little in it today that brings real excitement, authenticity, integrity, honesty, originality, personality, imagination... (I could go even more on) as PiL does! I do hope there will be new album recording and I support & cheer for PiL! Thanx John, all the best, hope to see you on shows, bring some healing energy!!
The show RAWKED!! You played a lot of what I was hoping to hear, and even from Lydon's solo career (HIGHLY underrated stuff!!)
I even liked the piss and smoke breaks. The energy was on, the sound was booming ("MORE BASS!") and seeing the legend in action made me absolutely the humblest man on earth. PiL RISE again!!
What a night boys. What a night. I got there early and I was first in line. Got to stand in front of a legend. Saw nothing but emotion and heart. I wish I could relive it again! Come back soon! Now, off to sleep for now.
I actually hadn’t heard of the band PiL before 2010, though I had heard of their main member. Before forming Public Image Limited or PiL, John Lydon was known as Johnny Rotten, the lead singer of the infamous and highly influential British punk band The Sex Pistols. I know of them from music history. Their guitarist, Steve Jones, used to have a radio show on the former Indie 103.1 called Jonesy’s Jukebox. Lydon formed PiL in the late 1970s as the original incarnation of the Sex Pistols broke up. They released some singles and albums in the late '70s, throughout the '80s, and in the early '90s. Their lineup changed frequently but Lydon was always there.
My wife has much more experience with PiL. She and her sister had their greatest hits CD that was released in the early '90s. They had almost seen them live at the Ritz in New York City when they were in high school. At that concert, they saw the three opening bands: Live, Big Audio Dynamite II (BAD II, a band formed by Mick Jones of The Clash) and Blind Melon. All three would become headliner bands in their own right. But my wife and her sister left the concert before the headliner PiL took the stage because the crowd was getting too crazy, moshing and crowd surfing. They watched a bit of their set on the screen in the lobby of the Ritz that froze on John Lydon mooning the crowd.
My wife’s chance to see another PiL show did not come about until early 2010. We heard that they were playing at the Coachella festival and at Club Nokia a few days before. We decided not to go to Coachella because we would have had to purchase tickets for all three days. We weren’t yet sure if we could go to the April 13 Club Nokia show because there was a chance that I would have to travel for work on that day. At the end of March I found out that I didn’t have to travel so we got tickets to see the show from the floor of Club Nokia.
Club Nokia is a fairly new venue in the new entertainment complex L.A. Live that’s in the South Park district of Downtown Los Angeles. It’s a fairly small venue compared to the nearby venues Staple Center that seats 20,000 people, and the 7,100 seat Nokia Theater that’s often confused with Club Nokia (by me at least). It has a capacity of around 2,000 and consists of a floor for standing, a pit for standing closer and private booths on the balcony. We hadn’t been there yet so this was our chance to see it.
On Tuesday, April 13, I met up with my wife after I got off work. Our sister- and brother-in-law who live near L.A. Live allowed us to park in the parking garage for their home. After having dinner at The Farm of Beverly Hills at L.A. Live, we consulted an L.A. Live directory and found out that Club Nokia is in the same building as The Farm. It’s in the large building on the north end of L.A. Live that also contains the Conga Room, the Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley, the Grammy Museum, and many restaurants such as Flemings, Rosa Mexicano (a.k.a. the New York Mexican restaurant), Trader Vic’s, and The Yardhouse. On the south side of the building near The Farm are escalators that we took up two flights to get to Club Nokia. We left The Farm at 8:15 pm and got to the club at 8:20 pm. The doors to the show had actually opened at 7:30 pm though the show didn’t actually start until 9:00 pm according to the schedule on the Internet.
While eating dinner we had seen a few people walk by wearing PiL shirts among the many more people going to the Laker game. There were still many people entering Club Nokia when we arrived there. Security consisted of metal scanners and bag searches. Employees then scanned our tickets and we entered the lobby of the venue. I didn’t notice whether they were stilling PiL merch anywhere. My wife saw that they were selling merch. We didn’t know if there would be any opening acts. We did see a notice on the wall saying that the concert was being filmed. Coincidentally, the show my wife attended at the Ritz in NYC was also filmed as part of a BAD II video and she briefly appears in that video as part of the crowd. The Club Nokia lobby seemed very small to me and we soon entered a doorway to the club itself.
It was dark inside with long lights on the ceiling near where it met the wall. These lights would slowly change color from red to blue to purple and other colors. It was a wide space with a long bar in the back and hardwood floor. The stage was opposite the bar past a mid-level partition. In front of it was a pit area cordoned off by ropes. My wife found out that you had to have a special wristband to get inside the pit area. The balcony was above our heads and we couldn’t really see it, though we heard it had private booths. On the stage was a drum kit and above and behind it was the large black and white PiL logo. The bass drum also had the PiL logo on it. The pit was already full of people. There were many on the main club floor and most places along the mid-level partition were taken. We found a place to stand behind the sound engineer’s station. There were some flatscreens mounted on pillars and on the walls to the side of the stage. They showed ads for upcoming acts at Club Nokia such as Crowded House, Denis Leary, a-ha, Level 42, and the Buzzcocks. These screens just turned off during the concert. The canned music was hip hop versions of '80s music such as Salt-n-Pepa and “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson.
The crowd consisted mostly of Caucasian men. There were many Caucasian women as part of couples and groups. We saw one African-American man there later. Everyone looked to be around our age or older. Most people wore black or dark colors. More people entered and the place filled up though it never got uncomfortable crowded outside the pit. I checked out the restroom that was large and new though it also had an attendant expecting a tip. We kept our place behind the sound engineers’ station that had a pretty good view of the stage. Soon some sound engineers arrived on worked on the equipment and the laptops plugged into it. One engineer switched to a screen that had a setlist on it. I could just barely read some of it: 3) This is Not a Love Song, 7) Death Disco, 8) Flowers of Romance, 9) Psychopath, 10) Warrior. The engineer would switch to other screens with graphs and equalizer controls. When he switched back to the setlist screen it showed the song that was playing in larger type in the upper right corner.
At 9:02 the house lights dimmed and red lights shone on stage. Over the speakers we heard an Englishman (John Lydon?) rapping what turned out to be “The Rabbit Song”. We’re not sure if that’s a PiL song or a John Lydon solo song. Then John Lydon himself and the band came out on stage. He looked to be in his 50s, a bit overweight with bleached orange-blond hair that stood straight up on top. He wore a black long-sleeved shirt and black pants. The rest of PiL consisted of a guitarist, drummer, and bassist who looked to be in Lydon’s age range or not much younger. In a slightly condescending tone Lydon asked, “Ready for some music? Proper music?” He mentioned that since he lived in L.A. he regarded us as his neighbors and that this was a “family and friends show” to start off the tour. They then went straight into “This is Not a Love Song”, a fast song with Lydon repeating the title in the lyrics many times. He didn’t play any instruments and would dance to the music when not singing. The rest of the band helped sing the chorus. Lydon would sometimes talk during this song (and others), saying things like “Is there anybody there?” and “Oh f---ing no!”
“Before the next song he said it was “swing time for proper PiL.” The song began with loud and heavy guitar. Lydon repeated the lyrics “drive drive drive.” The song was slower than the first one with less of a pop beat and more guitar and drums. Lydon sang in a whiny voice lyrics such as “You left a hole in the back of my head” and said things like “I’m losing my body heat.” He made many wild gestures and trilled his r’s. We later determined that song to be “Poptones”. Before the next song he said it was time to “get groovy” and then said, “Journalists, the exit signs are clearly marked. Record company executives, you can lock yourselves in the toilet.” The bass player switched to keyboard for the next song that began with Lydon singing something like, “When I was born, the doctor didn’t like me.” It also included the line “You didn’t love me” and the repeated line “Tie me to the length of that” that we later determined was the song’s title. At one point he said, “9 pounds, 5 ounces.”
For the next song Lydon sang more slowly. The microphone sounded more like an echo. The song was “Albatross”. It involved a lot more shouting and guitar as purple lights shone on the background. Towards the end he said something like, “Surf’s up, California.” Before the next song he said, “Hello, still there?” The song, “Death Disco” had loud guitar parts and a fast beat. Lydon mostly shouted words that I found unintelligible. I thought he might have sung, “Never in your eyes”. The background changed to green for the next song, “The Flowers of Romance”. It involved more shouting, the guitarist playing a banjo with a bow and the bassist playing a tall, fretless bass. Lydon said, “We’re talking big time f---ing romance.” When they finished the song he said, “Let that eat into your bowels.”
Before the next song Lydon complained, “New club with no aircon! In California! And Johnny in his best polyester!” The song began with acoustic guitar but got louder. The lyrics were more understandable than two songs prior. It was called “Psychopath”. They got faster for the next song, Warrior that had a prominent 8-note beat and lots of angry lyrics and shouting from Lydon: “This is my land”, “We take no prisoners”, “Has America forgotten how to dance?”, “This is Public Image Limited. We take no quarter.” At one point I think he said, “That f---ing bitch Palin should stay in Alaska!” or something like that. Before the next song I think he said, “You’re a great audience for not spitting. The only one who spits is me.” The song also had loud guitar and bass. It made use of feedback and the echo effect on Lydon’s microphone. The chorus had him sing all four letters and the number in the title “USLS1”. It also had the lyrics, “The devil takes care of no one.”
Lydon introduced the next song by asking, “Friends, what are they for?” He went on to say, “They will let you down and you learn to forgive. That has kept me going for 30 years.” They then started playing the song “Disappointed” that had a lot of guitar and bass and the repeated line “What friends are for.” I thought the song was more melodic that the others. Lydon had the audience sing the part “What friends are for!” When they finished, he asked, “Can we take our break now? I’m dying for a piss. I should have worn my incontinence pants. That’s old age for you!”
They left the stage for a few minutes and came back at 10:15 pm. The set list on the sound engineer’s laptop said the next song was called “Religion.” Lydon told us, “You smell like f---ing beef stew.” About the next song he said, “Religion, anybody? We’re all going to hell anyway.” The song began with very loud guitar and the bassist again played the fretless bass. Not long into it Lydon said, “Walter, turn up the bass. We need more bass.” The song was obviously against religion. The stage lights all shone in red as Lydon sang, “He takes your money and you take a lie.” He shouted, “Lock up your children and turn up the bass!” and “This is religion!” The song ended with loud drumming.
The next song was a bit more lighthearted. Called “Bags” on the laptop setlist it had the repeated line “Black rubber bags!” White lights shined in the background. It was a fast song and the guy next to me said it sounded “bumpy”. At one point the drummer sang in a scratchy voice. The next song was faster, louder, and more serious. It was called “Chant” and Lydon got the audience to chant, “F---, war, kill, hate” as the guitars were played quickly. Lydon introduced the next song by saying, “Aw, memories”, the second word being the song’s title. It again had a loud and fast beat. This time red lights shone on the PiL logo and blue lights shone on the rest of the background. Lyrics included “I could be merry” and “I could be wrong.” Lydon tried to get the audience to sing along and asked, “Is that the best you can do?”
The next song was a crowd favorite, the eponymous “Public Image.” It had a friendlier, rocking sound. They finished and left the stage but not before Lydon said in a silly accent “I’ll be back” and “you’re such dummies for electing Arnold.”
It was 10:44 pm. The guy next to me asked what I was writing. I said it was for a blog. Initially he didn’t know what that was but understood better when I said it was for the Internet. He asked me how long I had been a fan of PiL. He said he had followed them from the beginning and before that, the Sex Pistols. He looked older than us and I think he spoke with an accent though he may have been just drunk. The woman with him said he was from Europe. It sounded like he was familiar with the concert that my wife attended nearly 20 years ago in New York City.
Loud applause and cheering had been continuous since Lydon and the band left. They returned a few minutes later and Lydon said he wanted to get us all to sing a good old public house drinking song. He then got everyone clapping and they performed the silly song “Sun.” The guitarist played a portable keyboard with a mouthpiece. Partway through Lydon encouraged us to “do the idiot dance.” He looked up and said, “You in the balcony, in the Bob Marley cap. Come on, do the idiot dance! Join the people!” The next song was more serious but also celebratory and anthemic. It was “Rise” that sounded familiar to me when I first heard it on the PiL greatest hits CD. It has the catchy lyrics “I could be wrong. I could be right. I could be black. I could be white.” There was a part where he said he forgot the words and we tried to sing them for him “anger is an energy.” They finished the song and Lydon asked us to do the bit he had forgotten. We tried to shout “Anger is an energy!” but it wasn’t in unison. After several tries we finally got in unison and then the band started playing the song again and Lydon sang his heart out.
After finishing “Rise” for the second time the band played some ghostly music with a lot of echoes. The heavy guitar sounded a bit like The Cure’s songs off their album “Disintegration”. They then started playing a loud and fast song, “Open Up”, with Lydon shouting loudly. This actually wasn’t a PiL song but one originally by Leftfield with Lydon on lead vocals. It was another loud and angry song with lyrics such as “burn, Hollywood, burn” and “tear down Tinseltown”. It had more loud guitar and shouting and was a long song or perhaps they played an extended version.
After they finished Lydon introduced his band saying “This is (either Bruce or Scott), he’s shy. This is Lu (the guitarist), he’s not shy”. Lydon then said, “Thank you and good night. May your enemies always be behind you. I intend to lose some weight.” He and the band then left the stage for the final time to loud applause. It was 11:10 pm.
We followed the crowd out of Club Nokia. There were lots of people riding down the escalators and one woman even tried to run down the up escalator to beat the crowd. The Laker game had long since gotten out. We walked back to our car and we were able to drive right out of the parking garage because they had the exit bar up. We got home at 11:57 pm.
The "Public Image” Limited concert did not leave us “Disappointed.”
What a great start to the tour! As much as I love all phases and incarnations of PiL, I was very happy to hear a setlist that highlighted the band's early years. And what a brilliant and influential band they were. Dancy, trancy, gothy, and techno before the technology even existed. John was in good spirits and seemed very happy to be performing the old "standards." My only regret is that the very long show wasn't a bit longer! I would have loved to hear 'The Suit'.
When PiL played in LA at Club Nokia, it was my first concert. It was an amazing show and one of my favorite memories. I went with one of my best friends, ever since preschool, and got to share this wonderful moment. We were probably the youngest there, being 13. It was my second time in LA and drove up there at 3. I was thinking how I got a couple of hours of not worrying about the stress of Catholic School or dealing with boring homework for an event that expanded my mind. "You voted for Schwarzenegger you dummies! I'll be back." John before the break. It was a lot of fun and they should play in LA more often. And I must say, it really is proper music.
Disappointed, live in LA (posted by fan)
Jimmy Kimmel Live, Los Angeles, April 7th 2010
I'll give my .02 on the Jimmy Kimmel show... I was in the front row to see PiL perform live, and the set of songs they did made it seem like Lydon had NEVER stopped performing. It was as exciting to hear "Rise" last week as it had been the first time I heard it on the radio, and I was DELIGHTED when he played two extra songs for us.
The band is INCREDIBLE, especially his guitarist during "Flowers of Romance." Performers like Lydon are the reason I haven't lost my faith in music (also why I'm not ashamed and embarrassed to be an epileptic meningitis survivor... if Lydon can kick ass after coming back from that, so can I!). I cannot WAIT to see him live tonight at Club Nokia. I KNOW is going to be an epic show, and I will send in a review tomorrow afternoon for that.
Rise, live on Jimmy Kimmel (posted by Jimmy Kimmel Live)
Note: YouTube clips not uploaded by PiLOfficial.Com
To read reviews of the December 2009 UK shows, see our press section…