|John Lydon Rolling his R's|
3 August 2012 - Gig 36 of 2012
A week later and another legend to watch, how would John Lydon's performance with PIL compare to Morrissey?
The first obvious difference was the fact I could see Lydon close up, which was brilliant, but given it wasn't the main venue in Wolverhampton, but the Wulfren (capacity of roughly 1,100), the draw for this legend was obviously not quite the same.
The Band kicked off the first song, with John doing his typical rolling of r's, launching into This is not a love song, with lyric sheet illuminated before him. After each song was a familiar routine with a gargle of Martell Cognac to be spat into a big dustbin. The arctic coat was then removed, still plenty of hiking gear worn.
There wasn't much banter to be seen inbetween the songs, nothing commenting on the Olympics and the pogoing punks in the opening ceremony, a brief confirmation that the band weren't Florence and the Machine - check - and that we had managed to let the smoking ban laws be passed when he wasn't looking living like he does in LA. This allowed a reckless law breaking fag break (behind the curtains).
The first thing that struck me from the set was that the songs would be getting an airing, at about 2 hours that would be getting on for 8 minutes a song, especially as there wasn't a great deal of banter. The songs (with 2 exceptions) were largely a really solid rhythm from the bass and drums, with interspersed Guitar and lyrics from Lydon that were described pretty well on twitter by @christoff3000 as 'a trapped animal screaming into the urban wasteland of Wolverhampton', really apt, and yes not Florence and the Machine at all.
The songs didn't pull a huge reaction from the audience, as noted by Lydon 'Come on Wolves is that all you got' and my mind did wander a little at times. It was one such wander that took me to think how much the ageing Lydon looks like the fast show's 'Mark Williams' (Suits you sir). An actor who I will always have an affection for because of his portrayal of a Brummie in an advert in the early 90's which was probably the first time I had heard a Brummie accent on the box and caused all my mates at Uni to come up to me and amusingly say 'we wanna be together' for a term or so.
When Lydon went off for the encore he gee'd up the crowd, noting he was off for a fag break, hand to ear, the audience responded then, the cheers and he was back. Included within the encore was the difference in the set, when Rise started, a massive cheer went up, the song sparkled, and had some real real power to it, the sing along 'anger is an energy' moment was quality, not quite so the pogoing chap in the red T shirt taking all and sundry with him, and that was a real hi-light. Streets ahead of everything that had gone before it.
The gig finished with Open Up, again a quality tune, with a couple of fake ends into the bargain, a couple of bows and Lydon and Co were off, there had been some interesting bits, a guitar solo with a childs illuminated windmill, (not quite Hendrix playing behind his head) and the news that the guitarist was back from an eye op earlier in the day, which was much appreciated.
Its interesting how limited Lydon's comments were compared to Morrissey's, not really being particularly contentious, its amazing to think how he terrorised the authorities / establishment in '77, but then Morrissey's pet topics, vegetarianism aside, didn't really seem to cause anyone to do anything but smile a wry smile and note 'typical Moz' .
So to sum it up
Good value for money? to see a legend that close yes........
and for this song, yes...........
Setlist taken from here