Chicago, Poplar Creek Music Theater, USA
June 30th, 1989

1989 "Monsters of Alternative Rock" Tour
John Lydon
John McGeoch: Guitar
Ted Chau: Keyboards & Guitars
Mike Joyce: Drums
Allan Dias: Bass

Set List:
Warrior / Happy / This Is Not A Love Song / Home / Open & Revolving / Brave New World / Same Old Story / The Body / Fishing / Rise / Disappointed / Public Image / World Destruction

This gig was part of the "Monsters of Alternative Rock" Tour. 21 dates in the USA and Canada, on the same bill as New Order and The Sugarcubes (featuring Bjork). The three band package tour is a forerunner for the now famous Lollapalooza tours of the early nineties, set up by Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction, though not for the first time PiL are written out of history...

Audio bootleg recorded


Gig Review

review by Ralph Heibutzki, January 2007
© / Ralph Heibutzki

Like any longtime PiL fan, I've always wondered how this line-up remains so underrated. (How many people realize that John McGeoch played guitar for six years – as long as his predecessor, Keith Levene). If you caught this incarnation of the band, you couldn't miss how much these guys seemed to enjoy playing together.

So, naturally, when I heard of the "Monsters of Alternative Rock" tour – which sandwiched PiL between the Sugarcubes, and those arch-merchants of gloom, New Order – I snapped up a ticket. I was working on my father's construction jobs, to raise money for a trip to London; needless to say, I said, "Sorry, Dad, I'm taking the day off!"

The locale coincided with the greening of alternative music. Poplar Creek is one of these outdoor suburban enormodomes -- with their never-ending major roads and lookalike strip malls -- so all the usual minuses applied. I can recall the gate gargoyles confiscating bug sprays from people (among other absurdities).

But, even in this "cattle call" type of setting, the band found ways of transcending it: in Lydon's case, that meant wearing a yellow baggy suit, and doing his best to bait the crowd: "For Chicago, we're awfully fuckin' quiet... don't be shy, it's only little old Johnny!"

The setlist proved more equal than I'd expected, with the natural emphasis on the latest album, '9', rounded out by a smattering of the classics; "Rise," the almost-hit in America, got one of the night's biggest reactions, as did "Public Image," the song that started it all. The manic energy projected by PiL certainly made for a contrast with the Sugarcubes' quirkiness, and New Order's onstage non-charisma.

Ralph Heibutzki


Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
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