New York, Beacon Theatre, USA,
November 2nd, 1984
1984 US 'This What You Want…' Tour
Martin Atkins: Drums
Bret Helm: Bass
Mark Schulz: Guitar
Jebin Bruni: Keyboards
The Order of Death / Bad Life / Solitaire / Low Life / Where Are You / 1981 / Religion / Tie Me to the Length of That / Annalisa / Bodies / Public Image / Memories / This Is Not a Love Song / Anarchy in the UK / Chant / Flowers of Romance
This show marks a turning point for PiL. After the gig Martin Atkins speaks to a representative of Elektra Records who tells him in no uncertain terms that the just released 'This What You Want…' album is already considered "dead", and the company will not fund further touring in the US on the back of it. Instead Atkins is asked what will be next for PiL. Atkins: "Elektra Records had lots of ideas for the 'new direction'... I just had to leave, it was very, very depressing... Things were so bad that I said, look I'll still do Australia and Japan but things are so bad I'm leaving the band."
The change of direction is already underway; support at this gig comes from Afrika Bambaataa, who has just recorded a new "punk-funk" single with John Lydon, and Bill Laswell, set for release in December.
Audio bootleg recorded
review and pix by Greg Fasolino
First published in NYC zine 'Heaven Down Here'
© 1984 Greg Fasolino
Why did I go? Why not? Nostalgia is sick thing only when it turns to obsession. Not knowing what to expect, I arrived and found my seat beneath the huge, imposing PiL sign hanging, over the stage. Dry ice began to pour out, finally and music... but no band. Just the ominous 'Order Of Death' floating out of the fog. This deliberately created atmosphere of pure tension was broken by John Lydon, in stripy pyjamas no less, poking out his head with a daft grin.
At first I sat unmoved - the mostly new songs sounded quite mediocre. But the playful Lydon was amazing to watch: a whining, wailing gnome, sprinting about the stage and making all manner of comic faces. Females of all kinds did their best to smooch poor Johnny to death. The man has a mystique the size of China, a real entertainer in the truest sense of the word.
Things slowly but surely started to heat up when 'Religion' burst out with a mighty SLAP!, followed by 'Annalisa', where that new Canuck guitarist went insane, raking and slashing at his guitar. All the real tuff punks began quivering in their combat boots, and then... Could it be?? Yes, it was 'Bodies' thrashed-out, noisy, fun as all hell. Then on through more past classics the new bard showing their mettle on 'Memories', 'Public Image', drummer Martin Atkins in particular showing he really has some talent. And then they came to 'Anarchy', a rambunctious blast. Cheap nostalgia yes, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. For a few brief minutes, time was suspended and it was 1977 again, and the name was "Rotten", and the crowd went nuts.
On what was their last song,
'The Flowers of Romance', people began joining Lydon on stage, swaying
to the hypnotic Arabic trance drone until he was swallowed in a sea
of heaving bodies .
Earlier he'd remarked (to the band), "They love me , they love all of us". Well I didn't love you John, but I left with a smile on my face.
Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
PiL 1984 live at New York, Beacon Theatre, November 2nd 1984 © Greg Fasolino 1984