Five days before my my 28th birthday, on September 18th 1992 PiL played their last concert… until last night that is.
The Beast and I had tickets for the O2 Academy show in Birmingham and expectations were high. A quick pint of Darling Buds in the Old Fox on Hurst St and we were ready – well beast had the luxury of a few more drinks before the lights went down and a dub soundtrack kicked in. Was this all going to be worth the money? Lights played across the stage in red searchlight formations as the ever cocky Lydon strode to the front…
As that rumbling bass line kicked in I felt a real shiver down my spine – this was all going to be ok. A really strong set that leaned heavily on First Issue and Metal Box was a classic. Lydon, snarled, spit and cleared his nose – he was clearly suffering a heavy cold – through some classic material. PiL were not everyone’s cup of tea when Lydon quit the Pistols but all the old punks stuck with him and he no doubt gained a few more fans on the way. Stand out tracks were Warrior and a vitriolic version of Religion. We were promised a heavy night and we got it.
The encore featured a storming version of Rise before the triumphant return was capped off by a brilliant rendition of Open Up that Lyon co -wrote with Neil Barnes and Paul Daley and which featured on the classic Leftfield album Leftism.
Say what you like about John Lydon but he really is a genius, his lyrics have always been incisive – often divisive – but always carefully considered and from the heart.