Brussels, Theatre 140, Belgium,
December 20th, 1978

John Lydon
Keith Levene: Guitar
Jah Wobble: Bass
Jim Walker: Drums

Set List:
Unknown if full…

(2nd set)
Soundcheck / Theme / Belsen Was a Gas / Low Life / Religion / Attack / Cowboy Song (1) / Cowboy Song (2) / Public Image (inst)

This was the first EVER PiL gig. I think it's fair to say the audience didn't quite know what to expect, or probably did the band... Due to popular demand the promoters arranged two shows on the same night, one scheduled for 6pm, the other 7:30pm.

Check out Muziekkrant Oor, January, 1979 for interview & show review.

Audio bootleg recorded
Some 8mm footage of the gig is also rumoured to have been filmed...


Gig Review #1

review by Geant-Vert
© / Geant-Vert

PiL Brusells 1978 poster © unknownMy friend Alteau just phoned me and gave me some quick info about the Brussels gig. He needs to phone to his elder brother for more info. He was too young for this date in 1978, but his brother was very close to the local promoter. The correct date is actually 20.12.78, not 12.12.78. The local promoter was Clean X. They made contact with Lisa Robinson at Virgin Records to get authorisation to organise the concert. The gig took place at the Theatre 140 but the demand for tickets was so high that Clean X had to ask Virgin for permission to add a second show the same day.

First gig: Originally scheduled at 17h00, the set began around 18h30. During the afternoon, the band was very excited, specially Keith Levene. Apparently during the soundcheck, the band played with the soundboard table and broke half of the PA system! The promoter needed to urgently call a technician to repair it! The man worked a long time before finding all the problems. During this time PiL turned very aggressive with the people from Clean X. They didn't care to play. The first gig began late because of that. The audience was very excited because of the long wait without explanation. The band played 25 minutes and spent most of the time insulting everybody. As Alteau's brother explained, nobody understood what the band were saying to the audience...

The second gig started about 20h30 or 21h30 (bad memory). The opening band was Mad Virgins (punk from Brussels). They played a good gig and the audience was okay. About 60 minutes after the end of the Mad Virgins set, PiL came on stage. Johnny went on with two personal heavy rasta body guards that pushed the first few rows away from him (there was no bouncers in the venue). The trouble started when one of the bodyguards took a drum stick and hit a punk that was too excited! The show was between 45' and 60' minutes long with several very long interruptions when the band left the stage. During this show they didn't play a lot of numbers. PiL ended the show without Johnny, doing instrumental versions. After the gig, all the Belgian audience and promoters were furious that the band that didn't care a lot. Like in Paris, most of the people were waiting for a Sex Pistols show. They took the reality right in the mouth...



Gig Review #2

review by Michael Trei
© / Michael Trei

Thanks for the interesting PiL website. I thought you might be interested to hear my recollections of the first set of the band's first ever gig at Theater 140 in Brussels Dec 20th 1978. Reading the Muziekkrant Oor article on your site certainly brought back memories of what a chaotic night it had been.

Time has faded many of my recollections, but I do remember Lydon, Wobble and Levene playing with their backs to the audience much of the time, with Lydon occasionally singing from backstage. There were at least two points where the band simply stopped playing and walked off stage for a few minutes. Much heckling and booing from the crowd would follow, and Lydon would hurl insults. As one of the few English speakers in the audience, I was hurling plenty of insults back, and even translating some of Lydon's comments into French for people around me. During 'Annalisa' (not on your set list, but definitely played) Lydon handed the microphone over to me in the audience and walked off backstage. I actually managed to sing one chorus before the mic was snatched away and passed around.

Anyway, thanks for bringing back the memories…

Michael Trei


Gig Photographs

pix by Frank Jamart
© Frank Jamart-2JAM vaults

Previously unseen pix of the 1st set. With thanks to Frank Jamart.

PiL live at Brusells 1978 © Frank Jamart PiL live at Brusells 1978 © Frank Jamart
PiL live at Brusells 1978 © Frank Jamart PiL live at Brusells 1978 © Frank Jamart


Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
PiL Brussels 1978 poster © unknown
PiL live at Brussels 1978 © Frank Jamart
Gig Reviews | Fodderstompf