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John Lydon Live
I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right Tour
Bolton Albert Halls 20th June 2024

With John's current 'I Could Be Wrong, I Could Be Right' UK tour nearing completion, he arrived in the ornate surroundings of the Albert Halls in Bolton. The format was the same as his previous tours of the same name. John talked about his life for almost 2 hours, and after a brief break he returned to answer questions submitted by the audience for 45 minutes. Kicking off at 7.30 sharp and wrapping up at 10.30ish it was a value for money evening, few can dispute that.

"I could tell before I came out you were a fuckin' bunch of big mouths," announced John as he strolled on stage to loud cheers and a cry of "I love you John!" After England's football team had put in a shocking display earlier in the evening we needed a lift!

Bolton Albert Halls 20th June 2024

Unfortunately, a booze fuelled, bearded heckler kicked off almost immediately. John can deal with such interruptions with ease, but this guy would not quit. A bit of audience banter may be fun, but there was no wit from this chap, just bellowed rubbish. John enquired. "Why the fuck are you there? Shut up, I'm trying to educate you! You paid money, what for, to shout at yourself? You are the dumbest cunt of all." The audience reaction backed John up and that should have been that, but no. He continued on and off for 30 minutes until he was forcibly removed by members of the audience. "Show him the way to go home" sang John as the crowd cheered their approval. "Some people can handle their beer, that cunt could't handle his beard!"

Hecker removed
Heckler is removed by audience self-policing

John spent the hours entertaining us with all those stories of his; politics, English football supporters, the press, Saville and the BBC, his love of tartan, indoor piss pots, white privilege, poverty, meningitis, family, his Dad being "a hard fucker to deal with", and gruesome tales of his mother's two miscarriages. These were just a smattering of areas of his life he shared with us. It wasn't a show for the squeamish and easily offended, but it was a show full of humour and warmth, his love of British comedy having become a part of his persona. Furthermore, there were plenty of fresh anecdotes and views expressed, so it was not merely a repeat of previous tours.

"Are the Sex Pistols a rock 'n' roll band?" he asked us. "No they are not 'cos I grew up in rock. 'n' roll and I know the difference. Rock 'n' roll was seaside towns, the fun fairs, the fairgrounds." So what is rock 'n' roll? John's answer became clear when we got to learn of his love of tannoy speakers; "bass, mid, treble, THAT was rock 'n' roll".

Talk about the Sex Pistols didn't feature too largely and it was the audience questions which brought it to the fore. What was his favourite track on NMTB? He didn't have one. A second Pistols album? There could only ever have been one. As you can imagine, since the Pistol TV series there is no love lost between John and the other Pistols. It's going to be a tough job to repair the rift.

His parents escaping the Catholic church in Ireland and his own experience of the church are areas of his young life covered in depth. John suffered the fate of many left-handed Catholic children during the time, having the 'offending' hand beaten with a ruler until he'd write with his right one. "They are now interfering with nature. If God wants to talk to me, he'll talk to me. I don't need a council committee in-between to misinterpret that."

There were many funny moments. John was talking about disruptive politicians when some wag shouted "Tommy Robinson". "Roy Orbison?" responded John; "that was my wife's favourite singer!" Of course, the big difference between this tour and those of a couple of years back has been the sad passings of his wife Nora, and best friend/manager, Rambo. The two events were always going to figure largely. This was an aspect of the show I found difficult at times. John was visibly distressed on a number of occasions during the evening talking about his love for Nora. He shared some personal photos including one of Nora's mother-in-law, a show girl in pre-war Germany. He also told us of Rambo's negotiations with Country Life Butter!

John and Rambo
John and Rambo

It was all very moving. I felt it must be a strain for John to revisit these emotions night after night, especially as the grief must still be raw. Perhaps it's cathartic? It was therefore disappointing that as the show was concluding, a woman leaving the hall stopped to shout abuse before exiting. "What was her problem? I quite fancied her!" he quipped. This drew a huge round of supportive applause. "It's so fucking pointless," John continued. "That she can't accept that somebody actually means what they say." A shout of "John for Prime Minister" followed! I guess John will always be divisive, he says what he thinks and believes. He doesn't sanitise and alter his views in order to make himself more palatable. If one or two people get upset, that's a small price to pay for honesty. It's a commodity that's in short supply, as the ongoing election campaign has illustrated. He is not going to change now, and for that he should be saluted.

Anarchy In The UK blared out as the evening drew to a close. John led a communal karaoke session before departing into the wings. He had given us that lift we were after.

Review and pictures by Phil Singleton

God Save The Sex Pistols © 2024 Phil Singleton /
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God Save the Sex Pistols

God Save The Sex Pistols © Phil Singleton /