We all associate Mr. John Lydon, a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, with mayhem, and he has always been outspoken and has had very political views in the past. Therefore it was not surprising to see a small collection of protestors stood outside the O2 Academy before his Friday, July 23rd show in Leeds, U.K. Signs and costumes with quotes stating that Public Image LTD should pull out of playing in Israel cluttered the entrance to the O2 gig. Police covered the streets, however it was a very friendly and non-aggressive protest. The people stood outside genuinely cared and were worried about the fact that PIL were to stand in this territory during the ongoing dispute.
It’s a very complicated political issue. Many bands have pulled out already. Lydon is quoted [13/7/10 – link], “All I’ve ever done is to try to do the world a bit of good… to live my life with wisdom.”
On entering the O2 Academy, the room was filled with nostalgic punk-era outfits. The crowd waited patiently for Lydon to arrive. Unusually, there was not a support band this evening.
Punk icon Lydon entered the stage and gave the crowd a wide smile. He seemed to have the same look in his eyes that we can see in the old school video files which are scattered all over YouTube. Still looking good for his age, Lydon played an intriguing show for the crowd; each song merged flawlessly in to the next. There were just a few intervals were he walked toward the drum kit to have a drink. He seemed to gargle on water then spit it to the stage floor while also spraying it through his nostrils!… Painful!
Particular favorites of the evening were “This Is Not a Love Song”, “Albatross”, “Memories” and “Poptones”.
The pit was full of photographers at the Leeds Academy. The light was unusually dim, even though one might have expected the stage to be filled with a huge amount of light, in order to illuminate this mischievous and eccentric character.
Be sure to check out the Public Image Limited this year! See U.K./Ireland dates below: