<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> God Save The Sex Pistols - Glasgow SECC, 18th November 2007: Review One Year On
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18th November 2007
God Save The Sex Pistols Review. One year on.
Submitted by Scottish PIL Fan

The Sex Pistols return to Scotland after 11 years and once again rock the SECC to its very foundations.

I will begin this write-up by stating that I am a passionate Pistols fan and have been from a VERY young age. Perhaps this shall effect the objectivism of my review, but what do you expect?

In short - when I heard the news about the SECC gig, I bought my ticket that very day. I'd seen them at Crystal Palace five years previously but had also been disgusted at the £32.50 price tag on the tickets for that particular event. So, to see that this time the price had risen by a whopping five pounds, I wasn't so impressed. (And let's have no jokes about Scots being tight with their money, thank you!) The Crystal Palace gig had been worth every penny and I was quite willing to take the risk a second time.

I must admit that some of the reviews of the Brixton gigs and Manchester show had given rise to some doubts about whether the Pistols actually still had it in them. Stories of Rotten forgetting the words and generally arsing about rather than performing made me wonder whether I should actually bother going to see them. Then again, who could resist a spot of anarchy on a rainy, dreary winter evening in Western Scotland?

I made my way to the SECC in time for the opening of the doors. Glasgow city centre & Central Station in particular were thriving with pilgrims making their way to the evenings Mecca of Punk that is the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre, Hall 3. Once at the venue I immediately made my way to said hall where a queue had already formed.

In the queue I almost lost the will to live thanks to the two young chaps who were standing behind me with their moppish shoulder length hair and their inane conversation. "Look at him - he's like sooo "1st Raver"! (whatever the hell that may be!) and "Like look at her - look at what she's like, wearing." I almost couldn't believe that I was in a queue for a Sex Pistols gig!!! I would have turned around and given them a piece o' me mind had it not been for the fear that it would lead to trouble - and of course I really wanted to see the show first!

Anyway the doors opened and I made my way to the front right of the stage. I was determnined to have as good a position as I'd had during the Crystal Palace show. At first I hadn't intended to take any photos, but had laid my hands on a disposable camera that morning, so decided to just try and see if I could get a few good shots.

While waiting for the support acts to arrive I got chatting to a pleasant fellow in punk garb who was there with his brother and to whom I would like to apologise, for not quite catching his name. If you read this mate - you're a legend! He'd been in attendance at the matinee show in Huddersfield on Christmas Day 77 - as well as having attended the Pistols 1996 SECC and seen PiL at the Playhouse in 86 & 87. It was pleasant to actually speak to someone who KNEW a good deal about the band, rather than any of the thousands of bemused looking teenagers who were moping around. After covering a variety of subjects including Ann Beverley, Steve's solo career, Sid's alleged suicide and Dee Dee Ramone's passing, my punk friend disappeared to the toilets and I never saw him again! Hope you enjoyed the show mate!

The first support act were Glasgow Punk Girls - The Hedrons! A few reviews I read in the days since the gig have been pretty slating towards them, but to be honest - I really enjoyed their set. They were charismatic, excited and got really into it. Their guitarist showed unbelievable skill during the solos and what's more, they were a local band! I would definately go see them again!

The girls were followed by the same DJ that had preceeded the Pistols on the other dates of the tour and whom quite frankly almost reduced me to tears. It went on for an hour which was 59 minutes too long. He did however play Public Image by PiL which resulted in a big sing along by the crowd! That was a great moment! (John even made a comment during the gig about how bad the DJ was!)

After he had got lost, the roadies then set up the Pistols equipment and soundchecked briefly. Then the lights began to go down. "I belong to Glasgow" was played which inspired another crowd sing-along, and immediately after the song ended the Pistols appeared! The hall went mental! All 4 members, including Paul came to the front of the stage and saluted the crowd while John thanked us all for coming. His Book of War had been ammended for the evening to the Book of Scotty (or something to that effect) and taking a swig from his bottle of whiskey he told the crowd: "First a wee dram!" which received a big cheer. The suspense was almost visible in the air. Everyone knew Pretty Vacant would be the opener and Steve just stood there grinning at the crowd, his fingers already poised on his fretboard until finally the opening notes rang out and the hall went DOUBLE mental! Scottish crowds (especially in Glasgow) are the stuff of legend and I can't honestly remember a gig with a more enthusiastic crowd and I include Crystal Palace in that. It seemed like everyone in the place was jumping and screaming and waving their hands! John was barely audible as the crowd delivered the lyrics to each and every song.

I must say also that John looked FANTASTIC! He sported a blue and white crossed t-shirt, reminiscent of the St Andrews flag (no co-incidence I am sure!) and sported a much more "Johnny Rotten" hairdo than at Crystal Palace. Their were brief moments when he would fix the crowd with his wild eyed stare that I really thought his face hasn't changed THAT much since the Seventies. In such moments he's unmistakably recognisable as John Rotten! Steve was in a very playful mood, striking poses, gesturing with members of the audience and seemed to be having a good night. Glen of course looked like Mr Cool as always and his bass runs were fantastic to listen to! Paul seemed to be really enjoying the show and was smiling and laughing throughout! At the end he came to the front and handed his drum sticks to someone in the front row. Lucky codger!

Show highlights for me had to be a blistering No Feelings , a Bodies that the whole crowd screamed along with and of course Anarchy in the UK which sounds great no matter what! The only downside performance wise had to be Roadrunner (or Bumrunner as Lydon introduced it) I thought it was a pretty weak song to end the show with and this was reflected by the crowd who were pretty reserved during the final encore. Belsen was a Gas (or rather Baghdad was a Blast, as played at the first Brixton gig) would have made a much better finish!

I'd taken a handful of PiL logo badges to the show in order to shower John with in the hope that he'd take the hint and reform PiL sometime, but unfortunately he remained at the centre of the stage for the entire performance and didn't venture towards the wings.

In my opinion - this performance KNOCKED THE SPOTS OFF the Crystal Palace gig. The Sex Pistols aren't meant to play in stadiums or collosal arenas. The SECC is the perfect sized venues for them. The energy coming from the band and the loudness of the music is almost tangible in more intimate venues and I believe this is reflected in the audience reaction. Palace was great, but Glasgow was something else! I had no idea a live gig could be so wild! I've since seen clips of the other gigs on Youtube & the audiences seem completely reserved and torpid compared to Glasgow.

After the final song of the main set the band left the stage to the Scottish national anthem being belted out over the sound system (another great sing-along!, but before doing so Steve threw 2 plectrums into the crowd. The first disappeared into the seething rabble at the front, but the 2nd was deflected into the pit by an outstretched hand! I had my eye on it! All through the encores I could see it laying there in the pit, teasingly. After the final encore (Roadrunner) the crowd began to disperse and I made my way towards the very centre of the pit from where I hailed the attention of one of the stewards. I pointed to the plectrum laying lonely and neglected on the floor and she picked it up and handed it to me with a smile! So now I am the proud owner of Steve Jones' Jim Dunlop, USA Nylon 88mm guitar plectrum as used during their return to the SECC! Quite an unorthodox way of attaining such a piece of music memorabilia, but now it shall forever have pride of place beside my Crystal Palace & SECC ticket stubs!

I'd missed all my trains home and didn't relish the prospect of of waiting 7 hours in a gusty Queen St Station for services to resume again so I just hopped in a cab that then took me the 12 miles to the bakery where I work in Coatbridge and from where I got a lift home from one of the van drivers! By 1am I was cosily in my bed, my ears still ringing like hell from the onslaught of loud and raucous punk and thinking to myself that this was truly the most wild and mesmerising performance I have ever witnessed. After this there are no doubts left in my mind as to whether the Sex Pistols still have it in them. As long as they keep playing I will happily pay to see them! Anytime! As long as it's not at a festival or something!

Review and photographs by Scottish PIL Fan

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God Save The Sex Pistols ©2008 Phil Singleton / www.sex-pistols.net.

God Save the Sex Pistols


God Save The Sex Pistols ©Phil Singleton / www.sex-pistols.net