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REVIEWS Toronto '03

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Toronto, Ontario - Molson Amphitheatre: 25th August 2003

Review by Ryosuke Okutsu

Well I just got back from the Pistols concert and I still hear nothing but a sharp ringing in my ear. To describe this concert in one word would be a crime and a cruel punishment to the atmosphere and the events at this concert. For the sake of organization, I will write this review in chronological order. First, the Reverend went up. The bassist had a sweet bass and for how old the guys looked, they sure got some speed. However, listening to them was like listening to the theme of Bonanza over and over again. Next, Dropkick went up. Part of the reason I went was for Dropkick, so it was pretty sweet. Me and my friend got right up to the front and the Dropkick set for the most part was very energetic and no chaos was happening.

Then, all hell broke loose. The lights go off... then suddenly, they come on! But no Pistols, for at least 5 minutes. Gettin' us excited, I guess. Then, the man, Johnny Rotten, takes the stage. Paul, Steve, and Glen come on too, and they pick up their instruments. Suddenly, the front of the concert, which was very spacious during the Reverend and Dropkick was PACKED. We were still in front, but by the time Bodies was half done, we had gotten ripped from our positions. The crowd was insane. Eveyone was ready for a taste of the Pistols experience. Now, I don't remember the set list at all because I was too dazed and swept up by the energy.

So how did Mr. Rotten rouse the Toronto crowd? Well, after about four songs, Johnny had enough of the guys in the front spitting on him. So he stopped the music, basically said that this one guy was responsible for kicking the Pistols off the stage. They disappeared to the back. The crowd at the front was freaking out at this one guy. You could hear "kick his ..." "kick him out" "you F&*# up, get out" from all over the place. So for about 15 minutes, there was down time. After a while, Paul was the first to come back, then the rest followed and the show was going again.

The Pistols were great. Standing about 5 metres away from them, I honestly felt the full force of this phenomenon that swept the world. Johnny with his clever words between songs, his moves on stage, and awesome voice (better than Filthy Lucre, I think) were breathtaking. I must say, he was very fit and seemed to be enjoying himself very much. Steve did face Paul many times during the show.

The crowd was WELL into the music. God Save The Queen was the sing along of the day, as well as Anarchy at the end. The security guards were definitely ticked off and showed no sympathy for those who were looking for more. The atmosphere was great and I got to look Johnny Rotten straight in the eye when he did his wide-eyed look. At least, I think he did. It doesn't matter. The whole concert was unbelievable and I would re-live it anyday.

Review by Steve

Saw the Sex Pistols for the first time last night...it was an incredible show that far exceeded my expectations. Knew enough to make my own T-shirt out of my crappies work shirt and a magic marker for a cost of zero. Paying 45 or 50 bucks for one is an obvious insult to "pretend punks." Did pay $15 (worth it, as a souvenir) for the program booklet though (foreword by HJR Sir John of Rotten) Good resource too, as I found out about this website there.

When I was at Ticketmaster the ( 22 year old? ) clerk said she was going to the concert, but pointed out that they had only sold out the first two sections by 4 pm, and the show started at 7:30. Well, I said, good for you that you are going, and I am not that surprised that the turnout isn't high because I heard JR in an interview saying he was realistic and didn't expect much, and let's face it, after so many years perhaps the following is a bit of a (limited) cult one. Boy, were we wrong! Although it wasn't sold out, it was well attended (did a ton of people show up at the ticket box at the last minute?), and what the crowd lacked in numbers, it more than made up for in HIGH energy!!!

Yes the boys were in fine form. I made my way down close to the front of the second section of the Molson Amphitheatre, and so was quite close enough, thank you. I couldn't believe the amount of young people there (not yet born in 1977)...in the mosh pit...singing the words, etc. The front section was throwing beer all over the place, and spitting all over JR, real nasty like. He took it for a few songs and then got justifiably pissed off, and had some words for the "posh bastards" who are nothing but a bunch of "pretend punks" singling out a guy "fatty" and telling him to "fuck off," and spitting back at him...JR was pissed off alright....and then they left the stage for a good 10 minutes until things calmed down.

I didn't see security expel anyone (I did see them searching the crowd with flashlights), although it looked a bit difficult logistically to find the troublemakers. Then the Pistols came back with half a dozen security staff across the front trying desperately and pathetically in vain to control the wild body surfing as it headed up front. At one point "fatty" managed to get on stage and a security guard came flying across the stage and body checked him right off the stage, firing him back into the crowd!!...and sent JR ricocheting off while he was at it. "There, that's what you get, fatty." It was unbelievable. No question the highest energy concert I have been to this summer, better IMO than AC/DC (who most people say stole the show from the Rolling Stones) in front of 490,000 people at the SARSstock event here on July 30. Well the Pistols would have stolen the show from AC/DC if they had played SARSstock!!!

Great, great concert, kicked myself for missing the Filthy Lucre tour, wouldn't have missed this for anything, and would see them again any opportunity I got. Look, when you hear a section of the energized crowd spontaneously singing "you're so pretty, you're so pretty....Va-cunt" as they file out of the stadium, you know this is a band that had the crowd's attention. Limited cult following my ass! They cross generations with a message that obviously (not "still" resonates), but RESONATES with people today. The message is unrefined, has way high credibility in this day of manufactured bands, and people clearly respond to that.

Review by Webgator
Just got back from the Toronto show!! Pistols were the best act I have seen yet!! They sounded just like the Bollocks album.
Never mind the $50 t-shirts, or the $5.00 beer, or the $4.00 pizza slices......

They looked like they were having fun!! Except for the lumber jacketed spitting buffoon who cause a 10 minute walk off by the band, they played like they have been together since 1976 (with out the 24 year disbanding part). If you are thinking of going......do so! If you don't plan on going, why are you wasting time reading my drivel?

Review by Punk Chic Jules

They were even better than I thought!...ALL these people were putting them down saying they were shit, I gotta say that was a load of bullshit considering those guys had like no rehearsal and are nearly 50. They were really amazing. So let me tell you about this show…of course we started with the opening acts (Reverend Horton Heat and Dropkick Murphys), they were alright but didn't even come close to the Pistols.

Anyways now to the important stuff, SEX PISTOLS…they came right out on that lit up stage and broke into Bodies. I couldn't keep my eyes off Johnny and I felt this incredible energy over me that just made me spring myself into a pogo dance, yelling and screaming the lyrics along with him and the crowd. After that song he made a comment to one of the guys in the mosh pit …I couldn't make it out well, but it was something to do with Sid. The moshpit was completely crazy, it was packed with a bunch of snotty nosed young punks (like me haha) smoking joints, pogoing, and crowd surfing. A lot of people were either getting stoned or smoking so the whole theatre smelt like drugs and tobacco, you could actually see big clouds of smoke all around and above us. So Johnny continued singing and then he began God Save The Queen and during the songs he was getting beer, cups and spit whipped at him by a bunch of stoned and drunk punks. So Johnny being Johnny he got easily pissed being spat at, particularily from this one punk, and stopped the music right in the middle of the song. Johnny started calling him a c-u-n-t and saying he wasn't punk and some shit. Then they all just walked off stage. The crowd was totally pissed and like "what the fuck?" One guy from behind me screamed LET'S TEAR THIS PLACE APART!!! But then everybody noticed a bunch of security moving into the pit to get this one troublemaking punk out, and they calmed down a bit. Security grabbed
him, pulled him up on stage and the audience cheered.

Finally the band returned (thank you "punk rock god"). Johnny said punks like that are just NO FUN, and then he broke into No Fun. After that he was telling the crowd not to give him a hard time because he was here two months ago fighting off SARS. So just when I think the rest of the show was going to run smoothly, two punks somehow found their way on stage and jumped into the crowd. But even worse, this one guy from backstage came charging into Johnny Rotten. Security caught him right in time before he got a chance to really have a go at John. John also pushed him down and said "get the fuck out of here fatty." This concert had a bunch of good moments like that!...It was complete ANARCHY!

It was a great show! What I saw on that stage I couldn't have seen anywhere else in this day and age. Johnny didn't even seem to have much lyric problems, he wasn't glancing to his lyric book hardly at all and the band sounded great…and Steve did have his back turned to the audience sometimes like usual (to hear his amp I think). The only complaints I have are about the prices: T-shirts were $50 and parking was $20, but I managed to get a Pistols wristband for $15. Great show…I'd love to do it all over again and again and again! (Still though I could have used Sid there to get things more exciting…R.I.P.)

©2003 Phil Singleton / www.sex-pistols.net
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