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Sex Pistols final concert
April 30, 2011 8:11 PM   Subscribe

The Sex Pistols final concert @ Winterland, 1/14/78
posted by Ardiril (44 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeah, I do feel like I've been cheated.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:14 PM on April 30, 2011 [7 favorites]


God damn it, sleepy pete! I was gonna make that comment!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:22 PM on April 30, 2011


(that's what I get for eating lunch instead of staying on Metafilter)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:23 PM on April 30, 2011


(sorry! I do feel kinda dirty after typing it, but I'm glad someone else thought of it as well.)
posted by sleepy pete at 8:24 PM on April 30, 2011


Some folks say their opening act blew them off the stage.
posted by cazoo at 8:32 PM on April 30, 2011


I was at that concert. Of course, at the time, we didn't know it would be the last ever. I don't remember anything about the opening act, but, honestly I don't remember a lot about the entire concert. You know.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 8:34 PM on April 30, 2011 [6 favorites]


Some folks say their opening act blew them off the stage.

Listening now. I wouldn't especially agree, but, hey, let's be honest here: at the end of the day, one punk band from 1978 was pretty much the same as the next. But I would say that Johnny Rotten did have that extra bit of personal charisma that many other frontmen lacked. From what I've seen anyway. Course, I was mostly listening to the Art Ensemble of Chicago or Ghanaian kpanlogo (Mustapha Tetey Addy! Now I'm playing in Tokyo with one of his grandsons!) or Javanese gamelan during those heady days of punk. There might've been some brilliant purveyors of three-chord masterpieces that I wasn't paying any attention to.

Cool that Avengers had a female lead singer, though, and it sounds like she was doing her very best. Which is all that any of us can do.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:46 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


My mom was at this show and she didn't know it was the night the Pistols broke up until I told her so, some 20 years later. It was one of those "Oh my GOD my mom lived through forreals HISTORY and didn't even KNOW" kind of moments.
posted by troublesome at 8:55 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's video of the Avengers at that show.
posted by swift at 8:58 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was also one of the rare shows when Sid's bass was plugged in.
posted by tiger yang at 9:01 PM on April 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was at that concert

I was right outside. Me and a couple of friends whe couldn't afford tickets dropped off a friend who had one, and then we wandered around a bit before being told to "move on" by the cops outside the back door. Even out on the street, the whole place just seemed electric. I seem to recall KSAN broadcasting the show at some point shortly afterward - am I nuts? Anyway, my friend who went to the show provided us with running commentary throughout the broadcast. There was some sort of mid-show equipment malfunction that cased a delay, and people got testy and started tossing stuff on the stage, and he claimed to have tossed a roach clip (the only thing he had handy to toss) into Johnny Rotten's forehead, eliciting an on-mic response. I remember him jumping around the room shouting "Right there! That's where I hit him with the roach clip!"

This memory might be wholly manufactured, but I need to listen & see if I can find that moment again. Heady times.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:05 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


The best way to start a morning. Thank you. Listening to the Sex Pistols now it's kinda amazing the pop chops they had, though I should really get punched for saying that.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:06 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


one punk band from 1978 was pretty much the same as the next.

there weren't that many of them back then - a couple of years later - sure

Course, I was mostly listening to the Art Ensemble of Chicago or Ghanaian kpanlogo (Mustapha Tetey Addy! Now I'm playing in Tokyo with one of his grandsons!) or Javanese gamelan during those heady days of punk.

i'd heard two of those three - as good as they were, punk had more to say to me at that time - but not to the point where i ever wanted to do it myself

---

It was also one of the rare shows when Sid's bass was plugged in.

i'm kind of shocked - he's actually playing the right notes most of the time - which is more than i expected
posted by pyramid termite at 9:15 PM on April 30, 2011


I was surprised at how well Sid played. My decision to post this hinged on whether Sid was listenable or not.
posted by Ardiril at 9:18 PM on April 30, 2011


Wow, I don't know what format that Avengers video is in, but my two-week-old computer can't play it worth a damn. Sounds great, though.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:24 PM on April 30, 2011


try waiting until the whole file loads before you play it - seems to work a lot better that way
posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 PM on April 30, 2011


The best way to start a morning. Thank you. Listening to the Sex Pistols now it's kinda amazing the pop chops they had, though I should really get punched for saying that.

Well, Glen Matlock, the Beatles fan wrote a lot of the songs and I always thought they were really well written too. The one "Bollocks" song that came after him was "Bodies", which—while being great—has some very un-pop chord changes (BMajor verse to GMajor chorus). But yeah the Pistols were quite conservative, musically. I think it totally worked in their favor.
posted by Brainy at 9:50 PM on April 30, 2011


My mom was at this show and she didn't know it was the night the Pistols broke up until I told her so, some 20 years later. It was one of those "Oh my GOD my mom lived through forreals HISTORY and didn't even KNOW" kind of moments.

God, I'm old now.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 9:57 PM on April 30, 2011


Oh god Johnny Rotten I love you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:12 PM on April 30, 2011


Then there's the concert(s) at The Lesser Free Trade Hall that everyone was at, but not really, but there were some people at it that later formed bands.
posted by juiceCake at 10:37 PM on April 30, 2011


(Oops. Didn't realize the site I linked to above goes to a pirating site, I thought it was a streaming radio site. Please delete away mods)
posted by cazoo at 10:42 PM on April 30, 2011


I was dragged, almost kicking and screaming, to the Canberra gig of the Filthy Lucre tour in about 1996 by my then-boyfriend.

"What? Spend $50 on a ticket for THAT?!? I don't think so!".

And then I was talked into it, and it was one of the best concerts I've been to. I sang and danced my arse off and loved every minute. I still haven't recovered from having to swallow so much humble pie.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 10:46 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was there.

Met Sid backstage afterwards, very sweet guy - considering he was standing in front of me, bare chested, with cuts all over his upper torso.
posted by victors at 12:24 AM on May 1, 2011


Holy Fuck. Only two words I can find to describe that performance of Bodies. It's just perfect, right down to the disintegration at the end and Sid walking around with a happy smile on his face.
posted by mannequito at 12:28 AM on May 1, 2011


"Problems" is another good one, and the Chuck Berry riffs in the solo played on a classic Gibson Firebird don't hurt either.
posted by Ardiril at 1:20 AM on May 1, 2011


Again?

Judy Is A Punk. Know wah I'm sayin'...
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 1:26 AM on May 1, 2011


Well, Glen Matlock, the Beatles fan wrote a lot of the songs and I always thought they were really well written too. The one "Bollocks" song that came after him was "Bodies", which—while being great—has some very un-pop chord changes (BMajor verse to GMajor chorus). But yeah the Pistols were quite conservative, musically. I think it totally worked in their favor.

I totally agree, and it must have been cruel to hear how Sid played his bass parts. Sex Pistols without Sid were a great band.
posted by the noob at 3:12 AM on May 1, 2011


I totally read that as January, 1478.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:35 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was there.

Met Sid backstage afterwards, very sweet guy


That's something I heard, that the name Vicious was intended ironically because he actually was very sweet. For the life of me I can't remember where.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 4:14 AM on May 1, 2011


I was there.

MeFi - - Everywhere Always.
posted by fairmettle at 4:57 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Count me among the people who were surprised at how well Sid played. I mean he was still awful, but I could actually tell what song he was playing. Everything I've read about the band mentioned how horrible his playing was and that on stage sometimes he wouldn't be plugged in, or if he was plugged in the sound guy would disappear him from the mix, or his bass only had one string on it, etc.
posted by cropshy at 5:17 AM on May 1, 2011


I still haven't recovered from having to swallow so much humble pie.

You met Steve Marriott? Now THAT was a band!
posted by hal9k at 5:37 AM on May 1, 2011


I love the Sex Pistols and I get the history of it but god they sounded terrible.
posted by hirelearning at 6:45 AM on May 1, 2011


That's something I heard, that the name Vicious was intended ironically because he actually was very sweet. For the life of me I can't remember where.

The movie Sid and Nancy made it him out to be a lovable shlub (if you're into lovable shlubby junkies) - who knows what Hollywood did to him. I had exactly one conversation with him and he was the gentlest, nice guy.

I love the Sex Pistols and I get the history of it but god they sounded terrible.

If you love their music you would have loved the show. I don't know where the sound of this video comes from but this is NOT what it sounded in the hall. It was devastating, in your chest stuff. I've been going to rock concerts for 40 years, this one stands out as one of my all time favorites.
posted by victors at 7:13 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I totally read that as January, 1478.

So, you were expecting this, no doubt.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:14 AM on May 1, 2011


That's something I heard, that the name Vicious was intended ironically because he actually was very sweet.

He was named after an especially mean-spirited hamster owned by Johnny Rotten.

Even when Sid was playing the bass notes right -- which he did more often than he is given credit for, and he practiced in earnest -- he still wasn't a bass player, he's just a Matlock stand-in. That being said, he really looked the part. The Sex Pistols were always at war with competing impulses. Rotten really was anarchic -- he wanted the music to sound awful, and he wanted the audience to be inspired to explore their idiosyncrasies, rather than march in some punk lockstep based on Vivienne Westwood fashions; Malcolm McLaren wanted to create a movement (and, not incidentally, make some money in the process); Glen Matlock wanted to write songs; and Sid, well, Sid just wanted to be a Sex Pistol. It was bound to collapse. But it did so spectacularly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:37 AM on May 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was bound to collapse. But it did so spectacularly.

Indeed. They went out with a bang. The Beatles? With a whimper.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:46 AM on May 1, 2011


cropshy: "Count me among the people who were surprised at how well Sid played. "

Yep. Aside from the opening notes to "Liar" and his farty tone, I was pleasantly surprised. He gets slagged so much for his bass playing and this should redeem him a little bit. There's another full length concert video from the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas where Sid's bass becomes unplugged and nobody seems to care or notice.

Also, I love Steve Jones and understand he did a lot of the bass parts or doubling of the bass. At least that's what the VH1 special on 'Nevermind The Bollocks' said. I cannot tell from this isolated track if that's true but still, the guy had a lot of talent to go with the sneer. I could listen to just his guitar all day day.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:04 AM on May 1, 2011


Another observation - the whole throwing shit at the stage thing was just an expected part of their shows in addition to the various bodily fluids expelled by Johnny and the audience. Juxtapose that against watching Paul Stanley of KISS going absolutely ape-shit because a fan has a laser pointer and you get a sense of how the barriers between audience and performer have changed.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:20 AM on May 1, 2011


I have heard that either Jones or Matlock wrote Anarchy in one go. They were arguing and someone said "if your so fucking clever, you write the fucking song." And he did, complete with intro. Cannot remember where I heard it though.

Also, Winterland sound is abysmal as recorded.
posted by marienbad at 8:20 AM on May 1, 2011


It was also one of the rare shows when Sid's bass was plugged in.

It made me wonder if the stories about Sid's bass usually being unplugged were true. My recollection is that the initial source for that was Johnny Rotten, at a time when saying nasty things about Sid was something he was pretty good at. I could certainly see the occasion KevinSkomskold reports--Sid's bass coming unplugged at one concert in Dallas--providing the template for a satisfying Sex Pistols myth.
posted by layceepee at 9:26 AM on May 1, 2011


God, I was in 8th grade when they were on this tour. The closest they came was San Antonio, Texas, and I was stuck in a remote backwater 150 miles away. I still remember watching the Channel 5 news report on the show, and Chris Marou and Dan Cook briefly trading some good old boy snark at the end. Dan Cook was the "crusty old sportscaster", and he blamed the Beatles for paving the way for the Sex Pistols.

I just now realized he was right, but it was -unintentionally- a compliment to both bands.
posted by Xoebe at 9:34 AM on May 1, 2011


The high-quality torrent of the Longhorn show is out there. I think it is much better than the SF show. I don't have it anywhere anymore so I don't remember which song where Sid's bass becomes unplugged and Steve literally stops playing, run over to Sid's side of the stage and plugs him back in. It was a great moment.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:14 AM on May 1, 2011


Is the guitarist for The Avengers wearing a genuine Gordon Gartrelle shirt?

(seriously though. I've always loved how you can go watch old vids of like Black Flag or DK and what have you and you see these guys who look kinda dorky and wearing button up shirts... Gotta love it...)
posted by symbioid at 2:28 PM on May 1, 2011


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