Review 21 June 1996 – Messila Festival, Lahtis, Finland – Filthy Lucre Tour

FinnsFire Bottles

HELSINKI (Reuters) – The Sex Pistols, punk rock anti-heroes of the 1970s, played in public for the first time in 18 years Friday but threatened to leave the stage in the face of a barrage of plastic bottles. “Stop, stop, stop,” singer Johnny Rotten, reviled by a generation of parents for his leering stage presence and outrageous behaviour, shouted at an audience of 15,000 Finns celebrating the midsummer festival in traditional drunken style.
Rotten, whose band launched a revolution against the rock music and fashion, was dressed all in silver with silvery spiked hair for the festival at Hollola, 100 kilometres north of the capital Helsinki. The 40-year-old singer, whose real name is John Lydon, said he would take the Sex Pistols off the stage unless the audience stopped throwing bottles.

The British band managed to complete its hour-long set, consisting mainly of songs from its Never Mind the Bollocks album, including the anti-royalist God Save the Queen, banned in Britain when it was first released. The young audience appeared unimpressed with the punk legends and were more interested in local heroes Leningrad Cowboys and the U.S. group Bad Religion.

“Lydon has acknowledged the band is reuniting purely for the money”.

The band broke up during its only U.S. tour in 1978 and its notoriety was sealed when bass guitarist Sid Vicious died from a heroin overdose the following year while on remand for the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. The Finnish concert was the first in a reunion world tour that will take the Sex Pistols to London on Sunday.

Reprinted from Regina’s Leader Post, June 22, 1996.

Greeted With Yawns

The Sex Pistols’ first performance in 18 years brought a mixed response from the 15,000 mostly drunken music fans attending the show at a summer festival at Hollola, located 60 miles north of Helsinki, Finland yesterday night (June 21).

At first the crowd just wasn’t responding as the reformed band–guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook, bassist Glen Matlock and ringleader Johnny Rotten AKA Lydon–delivered songs off their one and only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols , including “God Save The Queen.” But when Rotten shouted “I can’t hear you,” the crowd responded by throwing plastic bottles at the group. This caused Rotten to yell, “Stop, stop, stop,” and insist that the bottle throwing end or the group would leave the stage.

Rotten was dressed all in silver for the performance, according to Reuters. Even his spiky hair had a silvery tint. Despite the reaction to the group’s music from a crowd more interested in sets by the Leningrad Cowboys and Bad Religion, the Pistols played for an hour, encoring with “Anarchy In The U. K.”.

Reprinted from June 22, 1996 Addicted to Noise.

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