Public Image Limited – P.I.L. concert in Brussels’ Ancienne Belgique

Last Saturday I went to the Ancienne Belgique  to see a Public Image Limited (or P.I.L.) concert. It’s my boyfriend’s favorite band and as a fan, I feel it is mandatory to owe up to your fandom and be there. (In case you have no idea who Public Image Limited is, it’s a band that centers round Johnny ‘Rotten’ Lydon, previously front man of the Sex Pistols.)

Don’t mind the out of focus picture I posted. Not easy in a moving crowd and having an inferior camera. At least I was able to take it! And we were very close to the stage too. Which is always great.

I went along not really knowing what I would experience at this concert. I know very little songs by P.I.L. except “This is not a love song”.  And I think there were a lot of people not really knowing what to expect. Their last album dates from 1992 and there is no new album in prospect (or at least not communicated). So what to expect? How will they sound?

Well, I found it an awesome concert. Johnny Lydon is pretty impressive, though maybe not the most mobile person on stage, he did manage to bust some moves. I did bust some moves. Who knew? You can definitely dance to P.I.L.!

But what really struck me is how up-to-date they sounded. Every song had a modern feel to it, without actually having being altered that much (I presume, because as I said, I haven’t really heard much by them before). What I meant to say is that it didn’t have that 80’s or early 90’s sound which you might get on the albums. The concert went along with the times, and that shows that it’s a band that evolves, not just repeats itself but tries to give a great live concert. And also, each band member had his input, his live input to show off their musicality. To me, that’s great to see on stage. I really believe you can “judge” a band by how they perform live. If they leave you buzzing afterwards, they are great performers and worth the money you spend on the tickets. Cause face it, a bad performance hurts the wallet, doesn’t it?

It just strikes me as odd how bands from the past 20 years seem to be the ones who deliver live, and the current bands more than often just don’t.  When I saw The Cure, mostly I got remarks on the fact they are an 80s band – which I disagree with if you keep track of the number of albums produced until now. The Cure gave a 4-hour concert in Antwerp!!! Show me some new bands that do that! Show me.

To check out the band’s musicians, I suggest you take a look at their official website (the first link in this post), because many band members have come and gone, and come back again. Their bio’s are interesting. The bass player, Scott Firth played with Elvis Costello as well (though I don’t know why he’d put the Spice Girls first in his reference list!!!). The guitars of Lu Edmonds where pretty sweet as well. He changed several times throughout the songs and there is still one I cannot figure out what it is! An electric lute? Oh, according to Internet it’s an electric saz.

Anyway, SET LIST:

(I do hope I’m not wrong on this, I check some reviews to see if I got them about all :$ )

  • Public Image
  •  Home
  • Albatross: great song! 
  • This Is Not A Love Song
  • Poptones
  • Swan Lake a.k.a. Death Disco
  • Ease
  • Flowers of Romance: guitarist Lu Edmonds played a banjo with a fiddle bow! I loved this song!
  •  U.S.L.S.1
  • Disappointed
  • Warrior: this was for me the best song. It just went on and on and the beat was fantastic. Most danceable song of the evening, to me.
  • Bags
  • Religion II: “turn up the bass…the bass will purify your soul” – can’t argue with that. At one point the bass went so loud and through me, I trembled so hard I though I was going to fall over. 🙂


  • The Order of Death: “this is what you want want, this is what you get get”: I hope I don’t offend anyone but it made me think of Butters of South Park. I think he would sing this song beautifully. 🙂
  • Rise
  • Open Up

 All I can say is, if you have the opportunity, jump on it. If you can see a band live, go for it. It can go both ways (be bad or be awesome), but at least you were there to see it for yourself. And don’t set bands aside because of their 20 or 30 year experience. They were the ones who paved the path many bands walk on today. The frontiers who opened doors and introduced new sounds and new ideas. Don’t dismiss them so easily. Just respect the music and what it stands for. And to me that’s the most important thing you can do when appreciating a band.


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