The following things can be said of Public Image Ltd.'s September
26 engagement at Roseland:
The band showed up.
In addition to vocalist John Lydon and guitarist Keith Levine,
this PIL included a living drummer, Martin Atkins. The part of Jah
Wobble went to one Pete Jones, who plays bass with Atkins in Brian
Brain. Jones was also living.
The opener was Art, which bills itself as "the only band in the
world." PIL isn't arguing. Laurie Montana, who mimes Art's songs for
the hearing-impaired, is a known associate of Keith Levine.
PIL smarted playing at a reasonable time, shortly after 11, and
continued to do so for about an hour, although not
Lydon, who doesn't get out much, seemed surprised by the
vehement hero worship of the new generation of hardcore punks directly
in front of the stage. He discouraged them from joining him. So did
various brawny co-workers.
The set began with a good new song called either "Where Are
You" or "Lou Reed Part One" and then went over mostly familiar
material, including "Public Image," which I thought best-in-show in
both its performances. Postmortems did vary, however, with some
holding that the initial energy tailed off permanently while others
claimed that the band only found its groove toward the end.
In any case, PIL did definitely play rock and roll--just well
enough to insure that the next time they want to charge 15 bucks for a
concert they will once again almost fill a medium-sized
No videos were in evidence anywhere in the hall.
A sign in the lobby announced that a PIL 12-inch was
forthcoming from Stiff, Lydon's sixth label since 1977. An album is
supposedly expected by the end of the year.
Village Voice, Oct. 12, 1982