Boston, Orpheum Theatre, USA
April 18th, 1980

1980 US "Tour"
John Lydon
Keith Levene: Guitar
Jah Wobble: Bass
Martin Atkins: Drums

Set List:
Careering / Annalisa / Attack / Poptones / Low Life / Public Image / Fodderstompf / Death Disco / Bad Baby / Home is Where the Heart Is / Theme / Chant / Another / Instrumental / Public Image / Memories

The first gig of the US tour. And the debut of a new track 'Home is Where the Heart is'.

Audio bootleg recorded


Gig Review

review by Jason Weinberg
© 2006 / Jason Weinberg

I was there for PiL's first ever American show on 18th April 1980... As a high school student in '78 I had been pretty bummed when the Pistols split up, but when 'First Issue' came out I was hooked: I loved Wobble's bass and Keith's guitar, and John's vocals were over the top. It made the Pistols break-up seem like the best thing that ever happened. So I had tickets to the Boston Orpheum show, and the New York Palladium two days later.

The opening band for the Boston show was the absolutely atrocious Boston band Human Sexual Response. For whatever reason John seemed much more relaxed in Boston than he did in New York. Wobble and Atkins were so tight, and put down an incredible bottom. Keith threw some kind of tantrum and walked off the stage "in frustration", and soon all there was was bottom, as John followed him off. Wobble and Atkins continued to jam but it was somewhat disconcerting as it was very early in the show, and we had our doubts whether they would return. They did, and the band jammed. At one point in time my friend Eric yawned at the length of 'Theme' (I think he wanted the typical two minute punk song regimen), but I was hooked on 'Theme' and loving it. And on top of it all John really seemed to actually be enjoying himself even coming out for encores...

The New York Palladium show two days later had a much different feel to it. James Blood Ulmer opened up, and unlike Human Sexual Response, they rocked! Keith again walked off at some point, but Wobble and Atkins played on without them, jamming out on some live drum'n'bass that kicked ass (I always thought that since the same thing happened at both shows it was staged!). John continually brought guests out of the audience to sing off his lyric sheets. Everything in NY seemed so much more conceptual and less natural than Boston. I know John was much more adversarial with the audience in NY and tried much more to provoke them, and yes, disappoint them by having audience members sing off his lyric sheets and turning his back...

Having recently read Keith's account of the NY show in that interview I am questioning my memory a little (I usually consider my memory pretty flawless, but it was a long time ago and I haven't thought about it much...) I'm 99% sure Keith and John left the stage at the Boston Orpheum show, and that it was early in the set, Jah and Martin played alone until they returned... I know for sure that they finished the set and reappeared for an encore after the lights had been up for a while and many people had left. They played a couple of more songs asking people to throw $$ on the stage to get them to continue which they did. John seemed very relaxed on stage and it was amazing for me to see him perform. Also, as you know from 'Paris in the Spring' that band was TIGHT. So now that I've read Keith's account I am wondering if they left the stage at the end of the set rather than in the middle...

I did not make it to the show at the Ritz where the riot broke out, but in '82 while the band were working on 'Commercial Zone' I saw them at the NY Roseland Ballroom, followed by the Boston Channel - after Wobble had left but before Keith did. The NY show was very flat, Wobble was seriously missed, but Boston really rocked, Keith and John were both in fine form. They declared they were making up a song "on the spot" but actually played the same song about 'Mad Max' both times, after John asked if we'd seen 'Road Warrior'. Again like '80, the Boston show was much more fun (that time with the Young and Useless Beastie Boys opening up).

I also saw a show in Boston 1984 on Landsdowne Street that wasn't on your gig list, close to the date they played the Beacon Theatre in NYC, touring for 'This is What You Want..' after Keith too was gone, and John was playing Sex Pistols songs. While John was entertaining it paled in comparison with the earlier shows and Keith's guitar and synth were sorely missed. I saw them again at the refurbished palladium in '86 after 'Album' had just come out with the band Bill Laswell put together and that show was PHENOMENAL, with John at his best, the band really ripped it up. The only really decent post Keith show I saw... I last saw him outdoor on tour with The Sugarcubes and New Order, John seemed to have become a caricature of himself, the band was lame and I left pretty sure I would never bother to see him perform again...

While the 'Album' show I saw was great, nothing compared to the two shows with Wobble. I also saw Wobble play in Boston at the Channel sometime around 1984 when he was playing instrumental songs after releasing his 'Bedroom Album'. There was a set of congas off to the side of the stage before the set that I got to bang on that turned out to be Jah's, he's a real hero of mine... Having seen numerous later incarnations of PiL nothing came close to the line-up with Wobble and Levene...

Jason Weinberg


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