Public Image Ltd @ O2 Academy
John Lydon doesn’t compromise. At all. There’s no subtlety to tonight’s show at the Academy, but you wouldn’t really want it any other way. For almost two hours, Sheffield’s remaining punks – I counted two mohicans – along with a crowd of fans old enough to have lived through his brief but defining Sex Pistols era, lapped it up. Public Image Ltd is his pet project, and despite a hiatus of almost 20 years, they are as exciting today as they have ever been. If you dismissed him for his time in the jungle on I’m A Celebrity, or the butter ads, or the Sex Pistols’ Filthy Lucre Tour, perhaps you’ll think again when you realise that he has admitted that they were blatant money-making exercises to fund the relaunch of what he regards as his true musical calling: PiL. If you’ve never really given them much attention, remedy that forthwith. The songs are consistently excellent, with fascinating lyrical content, which tonight was well served by the excellent sound system at the Academy. Lydon’s command of the stage is masterful, and his unrefined invective is as compelling as it has always been. The set-list reflected the 40 year span since the single ‘Public Image’ hit the charts (although noticeably absent from the set list) and nailed the doubters as they speculated upon what Johnny Rotten would do after the Sex Pistols. Not everyone’s cup of tea I’m sure, but the majority of the crowd here tonight loved every minute.