“This is P.I.L and we don't fuck about with ceremony,” were the opening words from the infamous Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon, lead singer of Public Image Limited. Taking centre stage next to his lyrics on a stand, he almost resembled a preacher, relaying the word of Punk. The days of original punk rock maybe behind us, but for tonight it returned with a vengeance to Liverpool's O2 Academy and hundreds of punk fans come out of retirement to relive it's heyday.
Starting the two hour set off with, “This Is Not A Love Song”, you could see that Lydon had not lost his unmistakable vocals. They may have mellowed slightly with age but still contain the raw punk element of yesteryear, with emotion put into each and every lyric as the set went on and a few funky little dance moves to match.
The crowd were soon in full flow as the set went higher and higher as each electric punk induced track went by with the odd rock riff for good measure until P.i.L turned the tone on it's head completely with tribal beats and raw primal base, this was the start of not one single member of the crowd standing still and it soon turned into a frenzy of aged punks forgetting they are now settled into mid life and saw them return to their youth.
With crowd interactions a plenty and witty put down's, especially to one “ill” member of the crowd, who Lydon kindly dedicated, “A little ditty called Psycho's Path” too. It was banter like this and the undeniable massive personality of John Lydon, that you can't help hanging on his every word, whether it be lyric or witticism and you fully understand why fans have followed P.i.L with undeniable loyalty over the last 32 years and understand the sheer elation on hearing they were reforming in 2009.
Once P.i.L had exited the stage, the crowd refused to move, instead chanting and clapping for more while awaiting the obligatory encore, which we didn't have to wait too long for as they came back on stage, to huge cheers and immediately played the tracks that they are most famous for and the crowd had obviously been waiting to hear, “Open Up” and “Rise”.
Words: Alison Goggin