Detroit, State Theatre, Mi, USA
April 12th, 1992

1992 "MTV 120 Minutes Tour" ('That What Is Not' North American Tour)
John Lydon
John McGeoch: Guitar
Ted Chau: Keyboards & Guitars
Mike Joyce: Drums
Allan Dias: Bass

Set List:
Unknown in full...

This gig was part of the 'MTV 120 Minutes Tour'. 32 dates in the USA and Canada together with BAD II, Blind Melon and Live.

Unknown if an audio bootleg was recorded


Gig Review

review by Ralph Heibutzki, January 2007
© / Ralph Heibutzki
(originally published South Haven Daily Tribune 1992)

Of the two PiL shows I've seen, this one proved more satisfying, surely helped by the more intimate setting (small theatre versus giant outdoor playground). As on the '89 tour, Pil were part of a package (BAD, Blind Melon, Live). Unlike that situation, PiL got to play longer (about 75-90 minutes, easily as long as BAD).

I don't have the setlist anymore, but the majority of it focused on the latest album, That What Is Not; "Acid Drops," in particular, hit harder than its recorded counterpart (hence, its mention in my post-concert writeup). Here's what I actually ended up writing for the South Haven Daily Tribune:

How far John Lydon's come in 15 years was shown at Public Image Limited's (PiL) April 12 show at Detroit's State Theatre.

As the backdrop fell, the cheers began in earnest, graduating to outright hysteria as Lydon – once known as Johnny Rotten, the Sex Pistols' corrosive singer – strutted onstage, and launched into one of PiL's best-known hits, "This Is Not A Love Song."

The audience was with him note for note, step for step – a far cry from earlier days, when audiences threw things at Lydon, because they couldn't understand his post-Pistols music.

But that was 1978 – this is 1992. Make no mistake, Lydon's a star of a different sort – the Lone Ranger of rock 'n' roll, who charts his own course, and doesn't do things for fashionable reasons. Nobody projects willfulness with such charm, as Lydon does – his cocky asides ("Oh, well, we can only get worse") and sarcastic gestures put him in a class by himself.

The band also helps deliver the goods. Allan Dias's basswork sings with the ferocity you expect from PiL, while John McGeoch's guitarwork is incisive as ever. Their presence has done much to establish PiL as a musical entity.

The songs from PiL's new "That What Is Not" album hit harder live. The undoubted highlight came in a segue through "Cruel," "Think Tank," and "Rules And Regulations" (from the 1987 "Happy" LP) – with no pause for breath, no tricks, no gimmicks, just five guys knocking it out.

PiL clearly benefits from playing in smaller places, unlike the arenas they toured supporting New Order in 1989. Let's hope things stay that way.

Ralph Heibutzki


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