Liverpool O2 Academy
Wednesday 16th October 2013
Prior to Public Image Limited taking the O2 stage with the backdrop of a cargo net with the PIL logo on, I was full of expectation tinged with a little foreboding. I have been lucky enough to see PIL on many many occasions from before they stopped been a functioning band in 1992 to their first gig back in Birmingham in 2009 when they put on a storming show. Since then PIL outings have been an annual affair but from 2009 the shows seemed to have taken on an air of familiarity with ‘Flowers of Romance’ and ‘Death Disco’ getting longer and longer in the set, in some ways there is nothing wrong with that but as quite a few people were saying before the gig they hoped that the songs would be shorter allowing for more songs in the set.
Thankfully from the word go when PIL took to the stage any worries I had were blown away. PIL were on form, the sound was fantastic and the gig thankfully packed with a crowd well and truly up for it. From the opening ‘Deeper Water’, then the bass led ‘Albatros’s into’ This is not a Love Song’,’ Careering’ and beyond each album bar “Flowers” and “That what is not” had a song or two outed. The Order of Death repetitive vocal of “This is what you want this is what you get ” segued magnificently into ‘The Body’.
John, Lou, Scott and Bruce have been a functioning unit since 2009 but tonight they gelled like I haven’t seen them do before, they really were first and foremost a band a very good band not a Lydon backing band. John LYDON always gives his all in any live show and he definitely did so in Liverpool, he always puts his heart and soul into his performances he definitely never shys away but the band seem to have raised their own game so much now.
If you get a chance to see PIL at any of their upcoming shows don’t hesitate to buy a ticket.
PIL are all fantastic musicians and Lou’s guitar work is as awe inspiring as ever, I guess the biggest accolade that can be given to the band is that now when they play the songs that they helped create Deeper Water, One Drop and Out of the Woods in a set list with the resonating hypnotic groove of Death Disco the tribal beat of ‘Rise’ and favourites such as ‘Public Image’ and ‘Open Up’ there is not a drop in standard.
Even though I would have to concede that as an album ‘This is PI’L is nowhere near previous albums hearing them all side by side tonight made perfect sense. If the same line up remains and PIL take to the studio again this tight creative unit could make an album that truly hits the heights, if their future music is anything like tonight’s performance then PIL’s future looks very, very bright “may the road rise with you”.
Pics: Phil Newall