we longed to see the day
An official DVD release of PiL and
Pistols material (etc). But from the start lets make this clear;
this is a promo video compilation, not a rarities archive (maybe
However, that's not to
say it doesn't include rarities or even unreleased material; and
I'm not just talking about the extras. The very first video, 'Anarchy
in the UK' is the original EMI version which was previously unreleased,
at least in full. PiL's 'Covered' never really got shown either
since it was due for release just as PiL and Virgin went their separate
ways back in 1992. And a lot of this stuff like 'Sun' just wasn't
shown at the time, or even since. So there's a lot more to this
compilation than first meets the eye.
Give or take a alternative
version, virtually every single PiL video is included here. The
only thing I can think of that's missing is the live promo for 'This
is Not a Love Song' from 'Live in Tokyo', and that's not exactly
a bad thing. There aren't videos for 'Memories' or 'Flowers of Romance',
or the Pistols 'Holidays in the Sun' for that matter.
And for the record, the censored version of 'The Body' is pretty
much the same but doesn't show John pulling the stick from his trousers.
That's it. The non-title version of 'Don't Ask Me' is also virtually
the same but doesn't the feature the "story" captions.
The Pistols 'Pretty Vacant'
isn't included, but it's not on the CD either, and instead you get
the 'Pretty Vacant Live' video from Finsbury Park. Which again was
hardly shown at the time. The usual version of 'Pretty Vacant' is
the video that's always shown on TV, I'm just about bored looking
at it to be honest. This 'Filthy Lucre' video is far more exciting.
It's funny, I'd remembered
a lot of the PiL video's as being awful, and some of them probably
are; though probably on purpose ('Bad Life' anybody!). But I have
to say the majority of them are far better than I remembered. There
are some real diamonds like 'Rise', 'Public Image' and 'Death Disco'.
But I'd forgotten how good the likes of 'Warrior' or 'Don't Aske
Me' were too. 'World Destruction' and 'Open Up' are also great videos
and a welcome addition to the compilation.
The Sex Pistols live
"extras" will really leave you hungry for more. 'Silver
Machine' taken from John's own footage, and filmed on one camera
from the side of the stage, might be rough and ready but it captures
the whole feel of the gig. 'Bodies' from Phoenix is exceptional,
recorded the night after the Axiom Beach Festival fiasco it was
a stunning return to form; the energy flows through the band.
The PiL monitor mixes
of 'Albatross' and 'Death Disco' included as "audio extras"
are arguably the highlight of the disc for me. Only recently rediscovered;
these are the live unedited takes from the studio. Powerful and
stunning doesn't cover it. The full version of 'Death Disco' (reaching
near 10 minutes) says it all to me. If you aren't affected by it;
then I afraid you don't get PiL, it really is as simple as that.
You'll never hear a more honest or frightened vocal.
The first version of
'Albatross' is pretty similar to the released album take, maybe
a little more raw, and with a few extra drum effects. However, the
second version known as the "Melodrama Mix", although
keeping a similar backing track also features Wobble on melodica.
I'd never realised PiL had experimented with melodica, but given
their interest in reggae it's probably only natural, but it was
perhaps too obvious a reference and it never made the finished version.
The "Melodrama Mix" is mostly "dubby" but still
includes a vocal, well, it actually includes two. As well as John's
prominent chorus (and I use the term very loosely), you also get
Wobble messing about in the background, screaming, and shouting
("I'm a bleeding great Albatross!"). The whole
track was probably just a bit of fun in the studio that was never
meant to see the light of day, but it's not without its merit. The
difference between this light hearted take of 'Albatross' and the
emotion of 'Death Disco' are just another example of what PiL were
If I was to pick fault
with anything on the DVD it would be the (far from thorough) discography,
but since it's just a throwaway extra I'm not gonna grumble too
much. If you really want a discography there's a pretty good one
on this site anyway.
The whole DVD has been
completely remastered, it looks and sounds great.
I especially like the way the title's have been put together using
John's artwork and 'The Rabbit Song', plus a mixture of the videos.
The sleeve and packaging are also worth a special mention too; given
their bigger size it really lets you see John's artwork in its full
Wrap it in a packet and
you know you've gotta have it.