Aires, Obras Sanitarias, Argentina
September 4 & 5th, 1992
1992 That What Is Not South American Tour
John McGeoch: Guitar
Ted Chau: Keyboards & Guitars
Mike Joyce: Drums
Russell Webb: Bass
cruel (intro) / kashmir / criminal / this is not a love song / love hope / think tank / rules and regulations / seattle / don't ask me / acid drops / cruel / the body / disappointed / rise / public image / EMI
PiL's first ever Argentine gig... The band temporarily walk off stage after someone shoots a firework at them!
Audio & Video bootlegs were recorded of the first night, but not the second
review by Mariano
Miramontes, September 1999 (First published F&F10)
© 1999 F&F Publishing / Mariano Miramontes
EL PRESIDENTE OF THE GRINGOS
Although many years have passed since PiL played in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 4 & 5 1992, I still have vivid memories of the shows. John Lydon was the second Sex Pistol to play here following Steve Jones' visit with Fantasy 7 (a punk rock outfit as good or even better than the Neurotic Outsiders, see F&F9) two weeks before...
The promoters knew about John's strong personality, and in order to avoid any problems before he came on stage, popular Argentine rock journalist Norberto Verea appeared on the boards and asked the audience not to spit at the main man if they wanted to watch the whole show. Apparently, the singer had walked off fifteen minutes after PiL had started playing at a Brazilian concert that same week. He did not stand for the spitting and finished the show abruptly!
PiL's shows at Buenos Aires were held at Obras Sanitarias, a basketball stadium with a 5,000 capacity both gigs were nearly full to the top. Although both shows were similar I will focus on the first one, which was more chaotic as you will see when you read this...
Without John, PiL started their set, much to everyone's surprise, with Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir', I didn't have a clue who it was! When someone told me it was a Zeppelin song, I couldn't believe it. Why were they playing a number by a group that John used to slag off during his Pistols days! John soon appeared on stage for the second song, 'Criminal', sporting white bermudas, running shoes, a lightweight jacket that he later took off, a 'That What is Not' T-shirt and spiky "Bart Simpson style hair", as a local newspaper wrote!
At the back, there were two backdrops. One was a black and white PiL logo, at the right side of the stage, and in the middle the other, a 'That What Is Not' flag... "Good evening Buenos Aires, welcome to Public Image Limited. Enjoy or die", were his first words. He was challenging the audience as usual. It was great to see a punk icon like John Lydon up there, singing, dancing and moving on stage like a clumsy robot. Between songs, he glanced at the public and seemed to be in a very good mood and to be performing for a new and enthusiastic audience.
But soon after the show begun, he started to get pissed off with some fans in the first few rows who were gobbing at him, "I have one request. Will that bastard stop fucking spitting, I don't want your fucking Aids", he said. The sarcastic comment made many people laugh, "Then I go home, goodbye", he added and threatened to go backstage. Thankfully he didn't and kept on playing, performing among others, 'This is not a Love Song' and 'Seattle'.
John kept asking the crowd to "Stop that bastard spitting" but during 'Seattle', instead of saliva, he received a firework (!) from someone in the audience. It passed near his shoulders and head, and finally exploded on stage near the drums, before the bassist could put it out with his feet. I don't think John realised what had happened until he heard the noise behind him, because he did not move and kept on singing as if nothing had happened.
The Argentine public are well known for their violence and I've seen bands, and referees and football players, attacked with shoes, stones, bottles, knives, glasses and sticks, but never with fireworks! Maybe, the Argentine audience have invented a new kind of sport by trying to kill their idols with explosives!!!. As soon as 'Seattle' was finished, the group went backstage for about ten minutes. Journalist Verea appeared again with a mic in his hands and said that McGeoch, or should it have been Russell Webb, who was nearer, was stunned and deaf, and in view of this if John received any kind of "missile" again, they would finish their set and not come back again.
"You have been warned", the singer said as he returned to sing 'Don't Ask Me'. The fans were so glad to see him back that they started to sing his old nickname 'Rotten' in football terrace style. "Oh, how nice, is this for me?", John said with a foolish and posh voice. Soon after this, he said that he was the "El-presidente of the gringos" and asked, "Where's that druggie Maradona?". Then, the Rotten name was changed to "Ole, ole, ole, Diego, Diego", in support of the football star, which John tried to sing along by saying "Arsenal, Arsenal".
The group went on to play 'Disappointed', with a nice introduction, "Would you like to sing with Johnny? Because I hate to be disappointed". Then came the encore, maybe the best moment of the show, with a long version of 'Rise' (the most popular song among local fans and a hit on the radio in a period 1986/1989 which was usually played at parties and discos) which John made the fans sing along with him backed by the drums.
Next was a furious interpretation of 'Public Image'. Most of the fans had attended Obras to see John for his past and expecting to hear Sex Pistols songs (I include myself), at least 90% of the audience. Finally, they got what they wanted. The last song performed by PiL was 'EMI' which John later explained in the only interview that he gave for Buenos Aires newspaper Clarin that he had played it as "EMI dropped me in the seventies and now they have bought Virgin Records and I was dropped again".
Even though there were no fireworks thrown at the show on Saturday 5th, there was another kind of violence on display... Since neither PiL nor the promoters wanted trouble again, it was agreed between them that fans who were identified spitting or throwing stuff would be captured, smacked and kicked out of the venue by security guards.
Some victims still claim that they were hit by guys that spoke English, who apparently were John´s custodies, and not the venue's own staff. When I saw all this, it reminded me of the Clash´s film 'Rude Boy'. It was the only way to keep the violent quiet. If I remember rightly, the set of the Saturday show was the same as Friday's. It was expected that he would play older stuff like 'Annalisa' or 'Religion', but he didn't and instead concentrated on his latest stuff like 'Acid Drops' and 'The Body'.
Tonight, John wore a red Arsenal home top with JVC on it, certainly not his sponsor !!! And it was funny to see him wipe his ass with a Sid T-shirt that a fan threw on stage. Soon after this, he showed his white ass to the audience...
With thanks to Fabian Garcia for supplying pix
Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
PiL live at Buenos Aires, Obras 1992 © Fabian Garcia