"Two cocktail sticks and two cocktail drinkers" is how Mr Lydon described the Sex Pistols in response to unkind chants of 'you fat bastard', saying that the audience had a choice of who they meant. Glen and Paul are thin, John and Steve are, um, less so... I describe them as magnificent!
This was the final night of their Combine Harvester tour (yes, I bought the tee shirt) and the Pistols were on top form, savage guitar-driven songs with John's vitriolic lyrics spat at the audience. The lights were better than Brixton last year but the sound mix wasn't as good. But they were loud.
Onto the stage they strode while Vera Lynn's 'There'll Always Be An England' faded in the background and they started playing the 'country' version of 'Pretty Vacant' before exploding into guitar riff heaven with the proper version. And then they were off and running, playing all their classics and all playing their roles, with John as front man in all his sartorial elegance (although I liked Steve's jacket). John teased and taunted us, skipping across the stage pulling grotesque shapes and keeping us entertained and focused on him.
'Pretty Vacant', 'Holidays In The Sun' and 'God Save The Queen' were, of course, played, along with excellent versions of 'New York', 'Stepping Stone' and an excellent extended version of 'No Fun' that just got faster and faster during the long outro. We sang happy birthday to Steve (or Fatty as John called him) whose birthday is today. A total surprise for me was that they played 'Belsen Was A Gas' with new verses about oil and Iraq and George Bush. Further surprises were in store.
The first encore was 'Bodies' and an extended version of 'Anarchy In The UK'. The second encore opened with 'Silver Machine' (many of the audience seemed to have no idea what the song was) and 'Roadrunner'. Truly excellent stuff!
I had a great time, singing myself hoarse into the bargain. The downsides to the gig were, as ever, the venue and the audience. All those lithe young speedfreaks of yesteryear are now fat, middle-aged, half-pissed men having a night out away from the wife and kids. The audience must've been 90% male and middle-aged. Why do some idiots feel they have a right to throw bottles and glasses at the stage (and at John in particular)? It's pathetic.
But I have witnessed glory. I have no idea when they might re-surface again but, if at all possible, I'll be there. A benediction of Pistols is not to be missed!