Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Sex Pistols: August 16, 1996
Cobo Arena is part of a sprawling convention center and this caused a weird clash of cultures when gingham-clad attendees of a square dance convention were filtering through the building at the same time as the Sex Pistols fans. It might have been cool if people really were going to a Pistols show wearing square dance outfits, though!
The gig itself was a huge letdown. I certainly didn't expect an anarchic spectacle from middle-aged men on a large-scale tour, but I also wasn't prepared for their stiff professionalism. They played the songs -- of which there aren't really that many, are there? -- skillfully and true to the studio versions. But those songs had a humor and energy that was totally lacking during the show, and the presence of an audience seemed to have little effect. When Lydon reconstituted PiL for a tour in 2010, it was quite a different story. At the later PiL gig, he had the spark, even if it wasn't lit at Cobo Arena that night in 1996.