Le Stadium, France,
December 22nd, 1978
Keith Levene: Guitar
Jah Wobble: Bass
Jim Walker: Drums
Theme / Low Life / Annalisa / Religion / Public Image / Belsen Was a Gas / Attack / Problems / Public Image (encore) / Annalisa (encore)
Popular belief has it this gig took place at the Paris Olympic Theatre, December 14th. In fact, the correct venue/date is Le Stadium, December 22nd. See review for full info.
review by Geant-Vert
© 2000 Fodderstompf.com / Geant-Vert
I would like to give you some information about PiL's 1978 Parisian gig. The gig took place at 'Le Stadium' - Avenue de la Porte D'Ivry, 75013 Paris. Not the Paris Olympia as is stated elsewhere. Le Stadium was an ice rink not really a place for music. The original 'Stadium' burned down a few weeks later before a Motorhead gig... Also, the date that is always stated as December 12th, the correct date was December 22nd, at around 10pm.
I knew several people that were at the Brussels' gig. In the Belgian audience, there were about twenty French 'autonomes' - a left-winged organised gang. They were there for trouble and nothing else. Before the Parisian gig, I spoke with one of them (he was a friend of mine). He told me they had caused a fuss in Brussels, and that the band left the place after twenty minutes. He told me it was quite impossible to let PiL play 'Belsen was a Gas' in Paris. During the show he was close to me, and went mad after the song was played. If you've got the complete gig on tape, you don't need headphone's to understand the audience conversation between the song. It's this guy that yelled "casse-toi, fasciste ! Toi et tes chansons fascistes" !
The gig was stopped several times. Three or four times (the tape is complete with the number of songs but most of the interruptions are cut) I don't remember. Johnny was dressed in the same suit he wore in Atlanta 1978. With Jah Wobble sitting on his left. The light show was non-existant and the gig organisation terrible. It was completely disorganised. The place was about a third full and most of the people were sitting on the huge terraces. In front of the stage, 200-300 very excited wankers (about 50 Sid Vicious clones and the rest dressed up as Johnny Rotten). There was a lot of fighting between the two hours that separated the opening of the doors and PiL's appearance.
At one point a French punk girl band called 'Les Lou's' jumped on stage, minus their singer, and played a 15 minutes cover of 'No Escape' and nothing else. The song was perfect for that night because I was more interested in looking for a safe place than looking at the show. In fact, the promoter didn't actually put any opening bands on the bill. As most of 'Les Lou's' members were already there, some people (including Philippe Manoeuvre, actual R&F main-redactor) asked them to play because the crowd was getting very upset. You can find one record with some 'Les Lou's' recordings. It's on Skydog, a French company. When PiL finally arrived on stage, I was not surprised by the opening song 'Theme' I'd bought the LP a week before. It was not the same for the audience... Very quickly, bottles, spit and various other things were thrown at the band. Johnny decided to sing with his back to the audience. He left the stage several times but one time it was a very furious Jim Walker that left first.
The sound was terrible and I was very surprised with the good quality bootleg recording that came out. You could buy the tape for 50 FF in a famous independent records shop in Paris very quickly after the show (the tape came with a Xerox black and white insert with a 'Homemade Records' label). To sum up the event, it was the most violent, chaotic and disorganised show I've ever seen. Too many people were waiting for a Sex Pistols gig. Too many were there for violence. I often wonder where Clinton Heylin got his information about the gig for his PiL book? In his opinion maybe this concert was the finest of the original line-up played, but I don't think they took a great pleasure to play this Parisian date.
Picture Credits: (Top to Bottom)
Picture Credits: Gig ticket
Paris 1978 sticker