- Royal Oak, Music Theater, USA
November 27th, 1987
1. Save Me
4. Four Enclosed Walls
6. Low Life
7. Open & Revolving
9. Rules and Regulations
11. Hard Times
12. World Destruction
14. The Body
15. Public Image
16. The Order of Death
17. This Is Not A Love Song
70 minutes (approx)
(7) Distant audience recording
Tape Gradings Explained here
review by TIM BUCKNALL
Due to a strange error the last 3 songs wouldn't burn to CD.
I humbly submit that 31/10/83 Rockpalast is no longer the worst PiL gig! When this show first surfaced and I saw the setlist I was really excited but sadly this is the worst, most shambolic, PiL show I've ever heard, it makes me appreciate the 83 cabaret band!
The whole band sound messed up but Bruce Smith is particularly guilty.
The first song is 'Save Me' which sounds like its going to fall apart
at any moment. Bruce is playing too slow and his playing bears no relation
to the song! The bass sounds awful.
A lacklustre slowed down 'Rise' is next, McGeoch attempts some lead guitar which would probably work well if the rest of the band were pulling their weight. A couple of times it sound like Lydon's voice is going. 'Seattle' is the third song, this ones way too slow too, (there doesn't appear to be a pitch/speed problem with the tape). Lydon's voice cracks badly and he just sounds awful!
'Four Enclosed Walls' is introduced as being "about the downfall of Ronald Reagan" with "Allah" changed to "Money". While its nice to hear it played, Bruce Smith just doesn't hit the drums as hard as Martin Atkins. Lydon's voice sounds like its about to give out again, he asks the audience to sing along.
'FFF' is next and it seems like maybe the band are finally building a little momentum, but its nothing like the definitive hard-edged version from Estonia 88. Lydon's voice is well and truly shot. 'Low Life' is at least played at the correct speed and its harder guitars are a definite improvement over the excessively smooth Brixton 86 version. Lydon's voice sadly lets the side down, shame as this could have been a good version. Later the song comes perilously close to collapse as Bruce smith adds some ill-fitting drum fills and I'm left longing for the 84/85 Bruni/Schultz/Helm line-up who always did a storming version of this song.
"Want anymore PiL rubbish?" asks Lydon. There's an embarrassing moment as McGeoch launches into 'Open and Revolving' at the same time as Smith tries to start 'The Body'. Lydon apologises for the mistake and its into a lacklustre 'Open and Revolving'. Bizarrely under the circumstances Lydon says "So, you see how good a drug free zone can be!"
'Home' is just awful with more pointless drum fills. 'Rules and Regulations' is the best performance so far, close to the album version with no major screw ups. JL adds the "Face it we're all fucking guilty" adlib. 'Bags' is next and it seems like the band are finally getting their act together though it's still lacking in power compared to the Estonian version; like they're just going through the motions.
'Hard Times' is unexceptional but at least the band aren't messing up now. A sampled call to prayer heralds the start of 'Worlds Destruction' and not a bad version. The band are definitely building up a head of steam now though 'Angry' still sounds a little sluggish. More superfluous Bruce Smith drum fills sap the energy somewhat.
'The Order of Death' includes lyric excerpts from 'Bad Life' and 'Tie Me To The Length Of That'.
For whatever reasons this was very much a show of 2 halves, the second half from 'Rules and Regulations' onwards is at least tolerable, but the first half is a total train wreck. Give this one a miss and get Estonia 88 it's hard to believe its the same band on both shows.