Public Image Ltd Play Sold-Out Show At The Fonda

Review, photos & video by Matt Nielson


November 29th 2015, The Fonda, Hollywood CA: In support of the September 2015 release of their tenth full-length studio album ‘What The World Needs Now …’, English post-punk veterans Public Image Ltd embarked on a four-week North American headline tour in late October and concluded the successful run with a sold-out show at the Fonda Theatre in central Hollywood last Sunday November 29th. Our man Matt Nielson was on site to capture the event through his images, words and video. Check it out below.

The queue of ticket holders outside quickly started forming around 7 PM. Doors opened up at 8, and DJ Paul V was already spinning a nice collection of late ’70s and early ’80s punk classics from Grace Jones to The Chameleons. The Fonda was so full that the balcony was packed with standing room only all the way in the back.

Finally at 10, the lights slowly dimmed and the curtain rose, with frontman John Lydon a.k.a. Johnny Rotten (ex Sex Pistols) standing front and center waving to the crowd, and PiL went right into ‘Double Trouble’ from the new LP ‘What The World Needs Now …’.


‘Corporate’ from the new LP stood out early in the set with its driving bass line and prolific lyrics proving that PiL are strong as ever in the 21st century. It was an excellent set which featured six new songs as well as classics from the late ’80s version of PiL, songs like ‘The Body’, ‘Disappointed’ and ‘This is not a Love Song’.

It was apparent throughout the set that Lydon was fighting a cold but it did not slow him down as he said “Oh well, what’s a little bronchitis among friends”, before slowly creeping into the beginning of the classic ‘Religion’ from the first Public Image Ltd LP, and as the song went on, he informed the sound mixer to repeatedly ‘turn up the bass’. A signature of John for years, the low end becomes so intense that one can feel the vibrations throughout the entire body. This was clearly the highlight of the show and guitarist Lu Edmunds, or “Jesus Christ” as John liked to refer to him, nailed it on this one.


The main set ended with ‘Shoom’ and John invited the crowd into the chant “Fuck Off” at end of the song. As the set closed, John informed the audience that he was “off for a cigarette, and if you want more, let me know”. After a brief five-minute break he came out and says “Stop it, wer’e friends, we’re just having a fucking laugh”, and the band goes right into ‘Public Image’ before closing out the evening with ‘Rise’. John ended with these parting words: “We do this because we love this, we do this from the heart, thank you for sharing this with us. This is Public Image Limited.”

Set List:
01. Double Trouble
02. Know Now
03. This Is Not a Love Song
04. Bettie Page
05. Deeper Water
06. Corporate
07. Death Disco
08. The One
09. Disappointed
10. The Body
11. Warrior
12. Religion
13. Open Up / Shoom
14. Public Image
15. Rise

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