Really grown on me from this year’s “This is PiL” release. I don’t think I even mentioned it making any particular impression when I listed the setlist from Newcastle ? (Has the making of a future crowd-pleaser, I said in fact.)
When I try to explain to people why PiL are so worth seeing, some cannot get their minds beyond “that punk Johnny Rotten” – some albatross. Whilst John may now be a national treasure, the English eccentric, light relief on Question Time, what is beyond doubt is that John, Lu, Scott and Bruce are a top drawer band with top quality material, both lyrically / subject matter-wise and musically. Having seen this “best PiL ever” three times now I can also report that the live experience is second to none, and it’s not just the music, it’s the respect. John demands a little respect from his audience but it’s repaid in spades – the band returns passion and genuine appreciation for an audience that turns out to see them.
The setlist on Monday at the O2 Academy in Newcastle [Aug 16, 2012] had five numbers from the latest “This is PiL” album amongst the tried and tested mix of crowd-pleasers and personal favourites. (This is Not a Love Song, Deeper Water, Albatross, Reggie Song, Disappointed, Warrior, Flowers of Romance, Lollipop Opera, Death Disco, Bags / Chant and Religion, with Out of the Woods, One Drop, Rise and Open Up as the encores.)
The order seems to vary from gig to gig, but the collection seems to have crystallised around the set first aired in April 2012 at Heaven. Out of the Woods and One Drop have the makings of future crowd favourites, Reggie Song fits the set like a glove, and Warrior, Religion and Open Up remain magnificent; the irresistible, pile-driven arrangements so tight.
Can you resist dancing and singing along to these ?
Find out for yourself. You’d be mad not to catch them live on this tour.
Wonder if upcoming trips to US might provide an opportunity to catch them there ?
[PS One of the other reviewers that night mentioned the omission of Public Image itself from the set list. I found that weird too. It’s the blistering opening track on the 2011 Isle of Wight – Live Album – smashing through the lousy sound system feedback problems in the opening numbers – maybe what actually fried the monitor mixer – stunning, literally. It says something about PiL’s depth of material when they can leave out a number like this and still wow their audience.]