John Lydon, formerly known as Johnny Rotten, has still got it, and it’s not every day one has the opportunity to see him perform live. Seeing as it ain’t the hey days of CBGB’s anymore, I thought my teen dream of seeing The Sex Pistols play live was over. Obviously, Public Image Ltd is another animal altogether, but on Tuesday night, my dream was nearly answered. I was so close to John Lydon and the band as I rested my elbows on the stage. Hells yes to historic moments!
Public Image Ltd, KILLED it at Music Hall of Williamsburg. There were no opening acts. They put on the full show, and put in a full force of effort into each of the 15 songs they performed. That’s right. 15 songs. It was a long set, but they are legends, so let them play on. The crowd, which was a diverse mix of all ages and types, seemed to be in awe the entire time. They were also obedient to the premier punk anarchist from the UK. Lydon asked the crowd to stop flashing their cameras so much, saying he was just trying to have a good time. And what do you know, there were no more flashing lights from the sea of people. Well, that is the goal behind the creation of Public Image Ltd: to limit the public image. Thus, it was fitting.
When Mr. Lydon told the crowd that he was just trying to have a good time, it seems he genuinely meant it, and the effort that PiL put into playing each song wa quite impressive, especially given the duration of time they played for. Their positive energy was undeniable, and the fans gave that energy back.
The show concluded with an encore, and a presentation of their track “Out Of The Woods” off their new album, This Is PiL. It’s a song about The Civil War. The band is yes, more mature, but just as intelligent, and still as badass as ever; watching these post-punk legends in action is an image I hope will forever remain in my brain. –Photos by Bil Thompson
PiL will be playing this Saturday at Hammerstein Ballroom, so if try to catch them before they leave New York. It’s very worth it.