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Public Image Limited Detroit Show Review 10/19/12

Seminal post-punk project Public Image Limited made a stop in Detroit on Friday, October 19, at the iLounge in Pontiac-moved from the Royal Oak Music Theatre-as part of their Fall U.S. Tour.
The iconoclastic band formed by ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon, returned with their first album of new music in 20 years, "THIS IS PiL." The album was released in May via their own PiL Official label, and the new single, "Reggie Song/Out of the Woods," was released on Oct. 1 of this year. The band last played in Michigan on their 2010 comeback tour. The current PiL line-up consists of John Lydon (vocals), Lu Edmonds (guitar), Scott Firth (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums).

I've been a fan of the band since I watched their U.S. television debut interview on "The Tom Snyder Show" and their pseudo live performance on "American Bandstand" back in the day. After missing their 2010 Detroit show, I looked forward to seeing them live for the first time.

This much smaller venue made for an intimate club setting that actually worked out better for the band and audience to feed off each other's energy. John was in fine snarky form as he took the stage to "This is Not a Love Song," complaining about the red light in his eyes and failing monitors for much of the first three songs. Once this was taken care of he delighted the crowd for an over two-hour set of new songs (which fit right in to their dub- heavy set), mid-period material and old classics, such as the epic ten-minute "Albatross" and "Death Disco" from their second album, and concluded their set with "Religion." They then returned to the stage for a three-song encore set that included "Rise," off their album "Album."

I made the mistake of checking out a show set list online and I promise myself I will never do this again! Rather than be surprised by the song selections, such as my cohorts were, I was disappointed that they avoided my personal favorites and some of their more popular tracks.

John seemed genuinely grateful to the fans that were in attendance and ended the show by thanking the fans for putting up with the technical snafus and stating that "they love what they do and that is the only reason they do it."

The mixed crowd of young and old fans loved it, and most danced throughout the extended set.

Others however, stood in bored apathy annoying the real fans. It made me wonder why these people pay good money to see a legendary band they obviously don't care much for and then stand up front blocking the view of height-challenged fans. If you are tall, stand in the back!

Another major annoyance was the use of cell phones throughout the show. Take one or two photos and then STOP! You are not the paparazzi! And I thought bootlegging concerts was illegal! Quit watching the entire show thru your viewfinder and experience the performance!