Boston, Metro, USA
November 7th 1984

1984 US 'This What You Want…' Tour
John Lydon
Martin Atkins: Drums
Bret Helm: Bass
Mark Schulz: Guitar
Jebin Bruni: Keyboards

Set List:
Order of Death (intro) / Bad Life / Solitaire / Low Life / Where Are You / 1981 / Religion / Annalisa / Bodies / Public Image / Tie me to the length of that / Anarchy in the UK / This is not a Love Song / Holidays in the Sun / Chant


Unknown if an audio bootleg was recorded


Gig Review

review by Mark Pestana, April 2004
© 2004 / Mark Pestana

I have a few scraps of info that might fill gaps in your PiL gig list... I was not a Sex Pistols fan when they hit the scene. I was 19 years old and too mature for that "punk" stuff. (Years later I bought 'Bollocks' and I give it its due now as a very cool record.) But I have always been into the "avant-garde" and so in 1981 when I heard the just-released 'Flowers of Romance' played in its entirety on a local underground station, I decided I had to check out what this Rotten/Lydon character was up to. So I bought 'Flowers', loved it from the first; then I think it was 'First Issue' next, followed by 'Second Edition', then every album as they came out after that. Like a lot of PiL people (I think), I see the first three studio records as the masterpieces, and the later ones, especially '9' and 'That What is Not', as a bit of a drop-off. Then again, 'Warrior', 'God', and 'Love Hope' are truly magnificent slabs of sound, and show that PiL did not exactly go out with a whimper.

But anyway, about the gigs... Since I discovered PiL late, I missed them in their prime. I saw them four times - in 1984, 1986, 1987 & 1989. The 1984 gig was in Boston, Mass., it was cited in your gig list without the exact date or the name of the venue. So I can fill that gap. It was on November 7th, a Wednesday night, and the show was at a nightclub called the Metro, which changed names and management repeatedly over the years. I have no idea what it's called now, or even if it's still a club. It was on Lansdowne Street in Boston, a street boasting a variety of bars and music venues, and located just next to Fenway Park, where our beloved Boston Red Sox manage to somehow avoid winning the World Series year after year.

Not wishing to make the trek alone that November evening, I had a hard time finding someone who'd go down to the city on a weeknight, but eventually got in touch with a friend of a friend, a somewhat younger kid who pointed out to me that certain songs they played that night were from the Pistols' repertoire. I am kicking myself now because I think I threw away the notebook where I had written down the song list from that concert. But looking at the fan review you have posted for the Nov. 2nd, 1984 gig at the Beacon Theatre in New York, I'd say it was an almost identical set. They started out by playing The Order of Death from the record, then the live performance ensued. They played at least two Pistols songs - 'Anarchy' & 'Bodies' - and I may be faulty in memory, but I believe they played 'Holidays in the Sun' as well. I was not a Pistols fan in those days, so those songs didn't make the impression on me that the PiL originals did.

Of course, 'This is What you Want...' had just come out and they played most if not all of that. I guess I'm an odd duck on this point - I really thought that record was great, just a notch below their previous lofty vicissitudes. (The only drawback being the remake of ' This is Not a Love Song' just no match for the Commercial Zone cut.) So I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Though I realise the '84 band was not on a level with the Levene/Wobble lineup, this performance still stood miles beyond anything else I knew at the time. The greatness of the songs themselves overcame any shortcomings of the band. The music hit me in the gut - ominous and entrancing - and I wished it would never end.

Other impressions from that night... Well, the Metro was a fairly small club, so there was a feeling of being closeup to the band, even where I was standing, which was on steps toward the back. I stayed there because I had no desire to get in the middle of the countless idiots upfront who spent the night trying to knock each other over in the spirit of "free expression" or whatever slamdancing was supposed to be. (I was very close to the bar, too.) And oh, yes, there was spit. Again, not being hip to the punk scene, I didn't know people were going to do that, but somewhere in the midst of the show, looking at JL with splotches of unknown substance all over his face, I finally figured out he was the target of a steady stream of morons forcing their way to the edge of the stage and clearing their throats in his direction. I also have never forgotten his oversized striped pyjamas, which lent an air of the absurd.

I saw PiL next in June 1986 at the Orepheum Theatre in Boston. This was the 'Album' tour. Then again at the Orpheum Nov. 1987, on the 'Happy?' tour. I remember both these Orpheum shows as good, solid heavy rock concerts, thoroughly enjoyable and Lydon an enthralling presence from beginning to end. At one of these shows, he did a version of '4 Enclosed Walls' in which he sang "Mo-ney...." instead of "A-llah..."

The last time I saw PiL was July 10th, 1989, at Great Woods in Mansfield (which is in Massachusetts, an hour or so south of Boston). This is an outdoor amphitheatre, and PiL was on a bill with some other "alt-rock" bands of which I recall nothing. Actually, I just went in and saw PiL and left when they finished - I didn't care to see any of the other bands at all... The current record was '9', and I remember being impressed by their rendition of 'Disappointed' that night.

So those are my PiL concert memories, I'm glad if I could add a few clarifying touches to the gig list...

Mark Pestana
Westford, Massachusetts, USA


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