Public Image Ltd
Where: 02 Academy // When: 20/07/2010
by Kevin Humphries
Having been a long time fan of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd, as well as a great admirer of John âJohnny Rottenâ Lydon, I jumped at the chance to see PiL make their long awaited return to Bristol. Myself and the hundreds of people that crammed themselves into what must have been a sold-out show, may have had a bit of a wait as there was no support band to entertain us prior to PiL, but the wait was worth it. This is one band that doesnât disappoint their loyal fans.
Finally a smiling John, along with the rest of the band entered the stage â âhello Bristol - back by popular demand.â The crowd went wild as they launched straight into âThis Is Not A Love Songâ. The musicianship which goes into this band is of the highest quality imaginable. The musicians were amazing with powerful drums, a really heavy bass and a multitude (that was a big word!) of different guitar type instruments from the guitarist. What was clear was this band wanted to be here, wanted to be entertaining each and every person present, and wanted to be making music.
With my mind not being what it used to be, I canât remember every song they sang, but who can after a gig that youâve been so wrapped up in. But they did play greats such as âPoptonesâ, âChantâ, âAlbatrossâ, and what was a brilliant, memorable version of âDisappointedâ. One track that stuck out in my mind was âReligionâ, it was not only one hell of a powerful track, but a controversial one, but thatâs what makes John Lydon, Johnny Rotten, the man known for speaking his mind. As the pace built, John demanded âmore bass, more bass,â and what John wants, John gets, and the whole place vibrated as the bass got louder.
Throughout the set, there was a lot of banter between John and the audience, and even a lot of Johnny Rotten stares. Despite the rumours, it was all very friendly, and he even thanked the bouncers for being good boys. After nearly two hours of great, pounding music, and John gargling with what looked like brandy and clearing his throat through his nose, they went off so John could âhave a ciggie.â Swiftly they were back on stage with âPublic Imageâ and âRiseâ, before finishing off with a really stonking version of the song John did with Leftfield, âOpen Upâ. After just over two hours of music, John and the rest of the band said their thank yous and goodbyes in a very genuine fashion. I canât recommend going to see Public Image Ltd more. For me, this gig ranks high in the list of all the bands Iâve seen over the years. Iâll be there the next time they play Bristol, and if you have any sense, you will be too.