Alton Towers, Staffordshire, UK,
July 4th, 1992
1992 That What Is Not Tour
John McGeoch: Guitar
Ted Chau: Keyboards & Guitars
Mike Joyce: Drums
Allan Dias: Bass
Unknown in full...
PiL were supporting James. Alton Towers is a fun park. James show was broadcast on Radio 1, PiL was not. This was bassist Allan Dias' last ever show with the band...
Unknown if an audio / video bootleg was recorded
review by John Gorman, April 2004
© 2004 Fodderstompf.com / John Gorman
This is more of a story
than Just a review... I'd like to share it with people and I'd really
like it to be in memory of John McGeoch, I dedicate
this to him...
Some Days in Life are just Great aren't they ? Bit like the first time you pick up your first electric guitar and try and play a chord. Like many, I loved music, Big Time. I was heavily influenced by the Sex Pistols, Public Image, and anything John Rotten did, said etc... Anyway this is a great story and I hope you enjoy it....
The Year was 1989 and as massive music fan, and musician too, I remember keenly reading Melody Maker every week, just waiting for some news to be printed that Public Image were gain play ''Live'' again. They hadn't been ''in town'' since 1987. It was Summer 1989, '9' was out in the shops, around about June time if I remember correctly. I opened up an issue of Melody Maker sometime around then and there was a small bit about a possible gig at the Hammersmith Odeon in September. Fucking great I thought, at last !!!! I was going to See PiL for the first time and I couldn't wait...
I remember getting there
and going in, the band came on, Lydon was a true showman, excellent!
There were some amazing ''Fluorescent Backdrops'' used for the '9 Tour',
it was awesome. Lydon had a awful cold, but it didn't stop him and he
told us too... He continued to kick mutha fucking ass on stage with
a what can only be described as a truly great performance. While doing
so, McGeoch and Dias played ''Run-around'', having a great time with
their ''wireless Guitar / and Bass systems'' like they were loving it
big time ! I remember at one Point Allan Dias jumped Off stage (quite
a few times actually !) and was running up and down the right/hand side
of the seating area, he had fluorescent war paint on his face, far out
! It was a great Show, it rocked and I was hooked there and then.
By 1992, everything and anything PiL did was great and I loved it. Everything Lydon did was great, TV shows, The Word with the interview with that wanker Terry Christian. And yes, it was released, oh yes, it was fucking excellent wasn't it?
'That What Is Not'
I want to add a bit about 'That What Is Not', 'cos it sort of got me ''Backstage''. I think this is the finest of all the PiL LP's. A true piece of musical art. It's almost perfect in my view. McGeoch's work added such an awesome sound to things and his playing is perfect. Allan Dias, a great bloke added what, I thought was an excellent and almost perfect balance to McGeoch's work with his bass. Anyway, about February 1992 I finally got my hands on 'That What is Not' and played it, very very loud! I immediately thought ''My God, what the fuck is this?! It was (and Still is) AWESOME ! I honestly could not believe how superb this piece of work was, it really is...
The Lyrics are so positive, with Lydon drowning out any negativity that many (try) to bring in life. Lydon addresses things head-on, while purposefully and meaningfully stamping out his lyrics with anger, like a cigarette under his boot. John McGeoch's guitar sound is fantastic on that LP, it's an awesome sound and It kicks ass big time. And the best thing is that it STILL sounds as fresh now, as it did back then, in my view, it can-not-be dated. The songs were the best I'd heard and was nicely surprised they'd gone for a more rock sound. Check 'Cruel', it is,in a word, fantastic. The entire content, the lyric, it;s fucking perfect I reckon! No pop song either. I think it is the best rock album of the 1990's (despite falling sales due to bad distribution and half-hearted marketing by their label...)
The reason I mention all this is because it had a PiL "Fan Club" address on inner sleeve didn't it? Anyway, I had a small Pro-Audio business at the time, and being such a fan I kept writing to each member of the Band ! (except Rotten, cos he'd wouldn't have liked that I'm sure). Anyway, I kept sending the dudes letters, ''could I get a Backstage Pass for one of the Shows? Guess What happened?
I got NO reply !
(as expected, he he!)
I didn't give up easily though, and as the tour dates approached for the 'That What Is Not' Tour, I had to increase the Pressure ! I sent a letter about the London T&C 3.05.92 gig, it was my last and final attempt I think. I wrote again and It read...
''Ok that's it, I'm going to see The Cure instead'' ! (they were playing same night in town).
Someone must of liked my sense of humour because about a week later I got a phone call saying I was on the guest list for the London Show!! Far out, I didn't believe it for days because I didn't take the call, my Mum did (but it happened, TC, i.o.u.4 Life mate !). So folks, never give up and always believe things can happen... I went, It was superb, I met John McGeoch, we shock hands and chatted, I met Ted, I met Allan, and I made a brave attempt to talk with Johnny. He was ok to me, he didn't know me, so he wasn't sure, anyhow, I met him and I still can't believe it all happened...
After London the tour set off around America, then would return later to UK for Reading 92. But before this, Lydon had been asked play a double bill with James at Alton Towers. I think if I remember correctly, Tim Booth kept trying to talk John into doing the show. In the end he did, and it was set for July 4th 1992. Anyway, I was very lucky once again to be Invited to a second show.
We arrived, it was overcast, bit of rain, but fuck that, it didn't matter! I'd arranged to stay in the North Stafford Hotel where John McGeoch, Allan Dias and Ted etc were all staying. When I arrived I walked into the hotel reception, I remember like it was yesterday, there was John McGeoch, I went up to him and started talking to him, I had only met him once and I'm sure he didn't remember me, but he still spoke to me like we had known each other for months, he was a very friendly person and a great guy.... Moving on, we left our hotel to head to Alton Towers just a few miles drive. If I remember correctly, Galliano were due to play about 3pm, but high winds brought down some of the stage backing in rehearsals or something like that! It almost killed someone on Stage I think! I can't remember fully, anyway, I think they cancelled and pissed off!
By now I'd collected my ''Backstage'' passes from a kiosk Ted Chau had told me to go to, he said, ''Don't worry dude, ya names on the door, your coming in'' (in a Rock & Roll manner, of course). I collected the two laminates and off we walked to the front of stage area, looking for the stage access area. It was very funny, the backstage passes were on the black string ropes round our necks, and as we walked past all these young girls, they were asking me if I could take them Backstage with us''? Of course we couldn't, but, it was great to do a 'Bill & Ted's' type thing of holding up the passes and saying ''Sorry girls access denied" to all of them!!! It was superb and I felt famous for... umm... 5 minutes!
Anyway, the weather was still shite and so PiL were brought forward. Just as we got backstage to see the show, Lydon and band had launched into the set, with the awesome 'Love Song'. Lydon was wearing a truly 'Cool as Fuck' Chicago Bulls Red & Black Shell Suit. He Looked the fucking Dogs Bollocks! With that amazing energy he brings, he then went from left to right of stage grabbing at his bollocks like he does, racing around in song, bringing the whole stage to life. It was amazing and the crowd went fucking wild!! People were going mental, there were plastic water bottles being throw up in the air!
The rest of PiL's performance shook all that watched it. They were such a brilliant live act. They then kicked into 'Criminal', again another good song with massive energy, giving Lydon chance again to fool around some more, and perform at the very best I think I've ever seen him. He was on top-form all day, it was Impressive stuff. Other songs I remember were, 'Rules & Regulations' & 'Cruel'. I think Lydon delivered 'Rise' and again, the crowd went mental, joining him in the usual "Anger is an Energy", 'Disappointed' was great too. It's been a long time since this gig in July 1992, but I can honestly tell you I saw PiL do something quite unique that day, PiL rocked big time, period.
They finished the set came off Stage and me and my mate shouted over to Ted, "Hey Dude were here"! He greeted us like the great bloke he is and then we all went to the backstage area where there was a few porta-cabins put in for the bands on the day, a marquee or two for food and drink etc, plus seating, and of course, that Rock Star Fridge full of cold beer in the Porta-Cabin for PIL. I walked in the door and John Lydon was sitting on a chair right in front of me, he had a can of beer in his hand and was laughing and joking with John McGeoch. I went up to Lydon put my hand out to him and Said, "That was excellent, I'm with Ted...'' He looked at me with those eyes, paused, I keep my hand out and kept eye contact (a brave move !) He had to ''change hands'' cos his beer was in the wrong hand ! (Doh !) but we shook hands and then I walked to the end of the Porta-Cabin a very happy man I can tell you... (I've only just recently found out that Lydon doesn't shake hands with everyone, because of headbutting etc, so he won't shake if he doesn't know anyone). So I felt Very Lucky... Cheers John, I'll always remember that, a big thanks dude, you made my day and I'll never forget that...
Phew ! There you Go, it was a long story folks, but I'd like to end with one final memory...
When PiL were Backstage, after a bit, while we'd all been talking and that, I sensed that Lydon was gonna ''move'' along with all the others in the band too. So I said to Ted that I'd call a taxi and meet them all back at the hotel for drinks later. But at that moment, John McGeoch said to me ''Don't be soft'' (or something like that) ''Come with us in the Tour Bus'' and so we did! On the way back we all sat near the back of the tour wagon with McGeoch singing all these daft, but good old rock songs, he got all of us involved, singing away! It was fantastic, he was the leader of the singing if you get me! John McGeoch was great guy and I will always remember what he did for me on that day...
We all met up with Lydon at the Malt House Hotel where James were holding an aftershow party for friends and family. It was great, we got drunk, I talked with Allan, he's a crazy guy, well funny bloke, and a top man... I sat with McGeoch and talked ''Music''... I asked him lots of questions about being in The Banshees, what was it like? How did he get on with them etc? He also told me a very funny story about how he'd had a tough time sometimes, and found himself living above a Fish and Chip Shop. He'd always smell them cooking fish in his sleep or something! He was a nice man, and I enjoyed meeting him, I'm glad I did. I really loved Siouxsie and the Banshees, so I was keen to talk ''Music'' with John, because his history was vast. I enjoyed the things he told me, I felt lucky to have met him. He will be missed... I spoke with Rotten again and told him he was great on stage, he liked that and we laughed! It was great party and we all sat around a table till about 5am getting pissed! Lydon was the last man standing I think!
The Hangover was awful the next day but I tried to take on all the rides Alton Towers had back then, I felt sick as fuck, truly awful, but, the memory of the whole event was superb and still sticks in my mind like it was yesterday. I was lucky enough, again, to go to Reading with them all, minus Allan, who I was sad to hear had left, with Russell Webb taking his bass, oops, I meant place!
Reading '92 was superb. Lydon is a true star, but never ever a rock star, he'd hate that wouldn't he? He'd never wanna be Sting or Mick Jagger would he? Lydon, you are one of kind and we won't see another. Like you said on stage, and I watched him say it, from the side of the Stage...
"There's not many good British things left are there? But, I'll tell you what, I'm fucking one of them'' ! Then he said laughing, ''Not bad for an Irish bloke eh?"!
Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
PiL at Alton Towers, Melody Maker, July 1992 © unknown