“The Pope Was A Nazi!” John Lydon’s Stage Banter From Last Night’s Public Image Ltd. Show At Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Transcribed


Antagonizing the Pope in D.C. Seems to be a thing for him.

Public Image Ltd.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Wednesday, May 19

They played Terminal 5 Tuesday night; I refer you to Mr. Weingarten’s account for most of the musical details, which carry over to this show: a two-plus-hour career-spanning blowout of oft-astonishing ferocity, Johnny Rotten/John Lydon in superb voice, a torrent of wails and growls and screams and sublimely rolled R’s. The deeply sacrilegious harangue “Religion,” featuring quite possibly the loudest, deepest, most pulverizing bass I’ve ever experienced at a live show, was the punishing but profoundly satisfying highlight. But mostly I just like listening to Lydon rant. Here are the topics he covered tonight.

* “This is nice! Small! Personal!”

* “If you spit at me again, I will mascerate your fucking face. You are at the wrong gig at the wrong time, asshole!”

* “Good evening, Brooklyn! I haven’t been here in a few fucking years, have I?
I’d like to say you’re looking as young as ever, BUT I’D BE LYING! Though some of you are looking [evil voice] very young indeed.”

* “You only spit on your fucking enemy, and I am not your enemy. Never have been. Do not be media manipulated, you daft donkey. Save it for Sarah Palinnnnnnn and the Tea Party chimpanzees.” [Sarah is another thing with him.]

* “One for the girls, now.” [Launches into “Psychopath,” which begins, “Psychopath/Dressed as a clown.”]

* “March forward, America! The last eight years have been a fuckup! Obamaphonic!!” (1)

* [Gesturing at someone in the crowd] “Here’s another one of the PIL members! Hello, Allan! We are many!” (2)

* “Some of these songs really fucking hurt me, because they’re deeply deeply real! Thank you for your patience! I’m among friends!!!!!!!!”

* “Turn those fucking lights down, you idiot!”

* “I’ll tell you what friends are for: Friends are for forgiving! If you do not learn to forgive, you will never have a future!”

* [During between-song lull] “Now don’t you be going quiet on me. Eight years hiding under a bush: Look what it’s turned New York into!!!”

* [While demanding audience participation] “I really do need the handclaps, ’cause this band’s terrible!”

* “There’s a whole heap of nonsense going on in Arizona. But with a bit of luck this! Old! PIL! Song! Will! Sort! That! Shit! Out! (3)

* “I hate all religion! All religion! All institutionalized religion! I need no institution between me and my god/maker! I hate all religion!”

* “To the question, ‘Is the Pope a Nazi?’ Answer: yes! The Pope was a Nazi!”

* “On the eighth day, the Lord said, ‘Turn up the bass.’ And then there was bass.
Will the bass cleanse your heart and soul? Would you like more bass? [Gestures to soundman] Walter on the altar! Say hello to Walter on the altar! More bass!” [Walter provides more bass.]

* You see, these are my true roots: proper music from proper people! These are my true roots! ‘Public Image’!!!!!!”

* “We are a Viking raiding party of good will and intention! Good night, Brooklyn!!!!!!”

(1) That’s almost definitely not what he said, but that’s what I heard, and I like it.

(2) Allan Dias, I’m assuming; also assuming he wasn’t the same guy who was doing all the spitting.

(3) It was “Bags.” Arizona seems unaffected.