The Sex Pistols Brixton Academy London 10th November 2007

Sex Pistols Brixton Academy London 10th November 2007
pistolstixSupport from The Cribs
John Lydon: “It started out as one night at Brixton….We thought maybe 5,000 will want to see us, but it’s turned into a bigger monster than any of us had any concept of.” In fact, the Sex Pistols ended up playing to 60,000 fans during their brief 2007 reunion tour, camping for five nights at Brixton Academy and then adding two massive arena shows in Manchester and Glasgow.
I’ve already blogged on the two occasions which I was lucky enough to see The Sex Pistols in their prime, once in 1976 and once in 1977. I passed on their 1996 “Filty Lucre” and 2002 Golden Jubilee reunion gigs. I figured it was never going to be the same. Well of course, it wasn’t going to be the same, but it could still be bloody great! When I saw that they were reuniting again in 2007 for a few dates at Brixton I relented and bought tickets. The dates were to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of the band’s seminal album Never Mind The Bollocks.
David and I arrived early for the gig, and watched support band The Cribs, who seemed very much out of the punk mould. By the time the Pistols were due on stage, the place was completely ram packed, almost dangerously so. The audience was, as you would expect, largely aging punks; lots of mohican haircuts and studded leather jackets. Before the Pistols came on stage, the hall was filled with the sound of Vera Lynn’s “There’s Always Be An England” which prompted mass singalong (and sadly quite a few right arm salutes). I’m not sure it was the most appropriate song to open the concert with, but it certainly got the crowd going.
The band walked on stage Rotten as wide-eyed as ever. pistolsmag
They hurling themselves into “Pretty Vacant” and the place went completely bananas. An atmosphere, a band, a crowd, and a punk anthem like no other. There never was, never has been, and never will be anyone who can touch these guys. Rotten was sneering, his snarling vocal as thrilling and powerful as ever. Flanked, as in 1976, by Steve Jones, ever the guitar hero, and Glen Matlock looking ever the cool guy.
All the hits and most of the “Bollocks” album are played; an immense crashing version of “Holidays In The Sun” with Paul Cock slamming the drums, Rotten spitting out the lyrics to The Stooge’s “No Fun”, and a backdrop of our safety-pin-sporting queen is lowered behind them for “God Save The Queen”. Half way through the set David and I make our way towards the back of the hall, its juts too full and too hot down near the front. Then there is the inevitable encore of “Anarchy In The UK”, at which point I swear every single person in the venue is singing at the top of their voice. They return again to play a cover of Jonathan Richman’s “Roadrunner”.
We walked out in the cold London air, stunned; knowing that we had experienced something special. I bought a bootleg programme for £1 (pictured).
Well, of course, no it wasn’t the same. We were older, and so were the Pistols. The crowd was bigger than those they played to in their heyday (when I saw them in 1976 there were 50 to 100 people there, a few hundred in 1977). We knew all the songs this time. But these old guys could still sneer at society, and play some of the best rock’n’roll produced by any band. Amazing. Scary. Stunning.
I have the DVD and play it every now and then to remind myself of that night.
Setlist: Pretty Vacant; Seventeen; No Feelings; New York; Did You No Wrong; Liar; Holidays in the Sun; Submission; (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone; No Fun; Problems; God Save the Queen; E.M.I.
Encore 1: Bodies; Anarchy in the U.K.
Encore 2: Roadrunner (Jonathan Richman cover)

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by vintagerock on September 11, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I have just read this great book:

    Remembering the real Sid Vicious by Teddie Dahlin

    “I hope this book helps you catch a little glimpse of the real man behind the name Sid Vicious, the guy called John….I hope my story has somehow helped to bring some insight into the real Sid Vicious”.

    There are many books about the Sex Pistols, covering every aspect of the short and explosive career of the band and the impact that they had on rock music and popular culture. You would think that everything that could be written has been written about the Pistols and their singularly important role in shaping rock music. But this book is very different, and refreshingly so.

    Teddie Dahlin was born in Norway, and moved to Yorkshire when she was very young. She lived there for ten years before returning o Norway in 1975, at the age of fourteen. Because of her command of English she was asked to act as interpreter for the Norwegian leg of the 1977 Sex Pistols Scandinavian Tour. She was 16 years old, met the band, fell in love with Sid Vicious and spent a few hectic days with him.

    She has written her account of those days in the book “A Vicious Love Story: Remembering the Real Sid Vicious”. This is unlike any other book on the Pistols, in that it provides a first-hand inside account of what it was like to be around “four young men at the eye of an international media storm”. Teddie uses her own voice, supported by the voices of others who worked with and new Sid and the Pistols at the time, to relate exactly what those heady days of punk were like. I found it totally compelling reading. I read the whole book in two days, on two long train journeys (to see Kate Bush in London 🙂 ). Teddie’s authentic first person writing works well; as the story unfolds it draws the reader in, giving unique insights into some of the dynamics around the Pistols.

    Set to a soundtrack of ABBA (the Pistols were apparently big fans) and detailing the manic, crazy, madness that surrounded the Sex Pistols at the time, this makes for a compelling, honest, touching and moving account of a band, a love story, and four young men who changed everything. As a lifelong Pistols fan, who saw them perform a few weeks after the events in the book, it took me back to days of excitement, when music was moving so fast. I would recommend the book to any fan of the Sex Pistols. The approach is different, which gives it an honesty and charm unlike any other books on the band.

    Reply

  2. The Pistols are a band that create meaning to their fans. Post 1978 Never Mind the B….ks still represents youthful rebellion, a desire to change and an opportunity to tell the word to “Sod Off”. Pistol reunions gigs will therefore always be special to so many people for so many different reasons. Great Post.

    Reply

    • Posted by vintagerock on October 4, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Cheers Andy The Pistols are very important to me, and one of the most exciting bands I have ever seen Cheers Peter

      Reply

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