Public Image Limited – O2 Arena, Glasgow – 18/12/09
“This is Public Image Ltd here for your enjoyment, proper music for proper people, this will be a very long show.”
“This is the band that taught all those second-rate wankers how to play music. I apologize” says John and they are straight into “Public Image” which is great but he seems to be having technical difficulties and stops afterwards to get it sorted out. Followed by “Careers” and “This is Not a Love Song” two of their most popular songs played this early was a brave move I thought. The night consists of most of the ‘Metal Box’ and first issue albums being played, with various songs from the PIL repertoire. In-between songs there is the anti-politics ranting “We are all one nation, one race, it is the politicians that should fuck off” especially during “Religion” and “USLS1” the song about the ill fated Lockerbie flight which Lydon and his wife had been booked on. John cavorts about pulling faces like only he can, talking to the audience telling them to give no compliments just boo me, so they do, a huge grin appears on his face.
He goes off for a quick smoke leaving the crowd waiting for the encores and it is worth the wait as “Rise” starts and the whole venue sings along at the top of their voices, followed by “Open Up” – John’s collaboration with Leftfield which has the whole venue dancing. Afterwards he came out to sign autographs, talk, and enjoy himself with his fans. The first time PIL have played in 19 years is over and boy was it worth the wait. The Sex Pistols re-union seemed to be about money, whereas PIL always had Johnny’s heart. He seems more content with his self and more at home doing music that was his love and able to express himself more. In interviews about PIL you can see a definitely relaxed John speaking more about a loved one than a band.
In a year of reunions we have had two of the best – The Specials and now P.I.L. Who’s next?!
Words and pix by SkaDude.