Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Random Notes

The following things can be said of Public Image Ltd.'s September 26 engagement at Roseland:

  1. The band showed up.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. PIL smarted playing at a reasonable time, shortly after 11, and continued to do so for about an hour, although not continuously.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 venue.

  8. No videos were in evidence anywhere in the hall.

  9. 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