About a week after I caught Public Image Ltd at the Palladium, in one of the greatest live shows I've ever seen, they were superb asJohnny refused to mine to "Poptones" and "Careering" off their best album The Metal Box,I saw them on American Bandstand. I believe it was their US TV debut.
With the recent death of Dave Clark, I revisited the moment.
First, James Blood Ulmer, the great jazz guitarist opened the Palladium concert. Trust me, he nearly blew PiL off stage. Nearly but he didn't. Because the band is aweinspiring. Playing tracks off their first two albums, including a singalong where Johnny made audiences come on stage and sing, and ending with Johnny leaving the stage to Jah Wobble could play an excellent extended jam, it broke rules and rebuilt them. A couple of years later, PiL would play behind a curtain and get booed off stage at the Ritz. But that night they got the balance right.
The American Bandstand show was a thrill for me, but while what I remembered was Johnny not bothering to lipsynch but wandering around the audience, it is worth noting what a perfect host Dave Clark was. Johnny was used to the likes of Bill Grundy sassing him, Dave's charming host, allowing his entire audience on stage for "Careering" as good a way to remember the man as any.