PiL - Paris, Le Palace, France
January 18th, 1980 (2nd night)

Running Order:
1. Chant (7:00)
2. Careering (7:48)
3. Annalisa (7:52)
4. Lowlife (3:30)
5. Bad Baby (5:30)
6. Public Image (3:40)
7. Theme (9:26)

Running Time:
50 minutes (approx)

Sound Quality:
(7.5) Low Gen Average Audience Recording
Tape Gradings Explained here

review by Anders Moe

This is the second of the two gigs that made up the 'Paris Au Printemps' live album. Until recently it was thought only the first night had been bootlegged. 'Theme', 'Low Life' & 'Bad Baby' from this show are included on the album.

Live cassettes spread according to no discernible logic; why do I have a recording of the second night at Paris Palace, (which apparently no one else had) when I only ever managed to lay my hands on two PiL live tapes?

To these ears, it sounds like what I've got are the soundboard recordings that became 'Paris au Printemps', but I've been wrong before, and since I don't have it, I can't compare my version of the first night to the circulating audience recording. I can compare it to the official album, and to me, it sounds as if it is the same recording after a few generations of copying. The audience is even quieter on the album, but that could be achieved with the volume control.

My cassette from the first gig is incomplete, with only the first nine songs, so I thought I had an incomplete recording of the second night as well: There are only seven songs, and they played 12 songs the first night. But my recording is as long as the recording from the first night: This was the night when PiL played epic versions of their hits, with 'Chant', 'Careering' and 'Annalisa' all crossing the seven minute mark (and the encore, 'Theme', goes on for well over nine minutes; the final synth noise fades early on the album). On the first cassette, the C60 needs flipping over in the middle of the sixth song, on the second, the first four songs fill a side.

With an improvising unit like PiL, it's usually a good sign when the songs go on for ages; it means the musicians are giving a toss and interesting things are happening, and this recording is no exception to the rule. I prefer this version of 'Chant' to the one that went on the album; Lydon is twisting the chant inside-out to disorienting effect. And what IS Wobble doing to the bass riff in 'Annalisa'? All the songs go on for ages, it's loud, harsh and utterly mesmerising.

Martin Atkins is a solid drummer, and Keith Levene - is he the musical director of PiL, or is he mainly contributing additional synth and guitar noises? I can say that he's brilliant at what he does, but what he does is so simple, it could be arrived at by brilliance or accident.

The audience is fairly quiet, it sounds like the group is playing to an audience of around 50 people; there is applause after every song, but it dies out after only a few seconds. Then there is silence, with occasional shouting and whistling. (Is someone screaming "Fuck off!"? "Sid Vicious?" I can't really tell.) I think the audience sounds more dumbstruck than hostile. With typical PiL logic, the longest
stretch of audience hostility/fiddling around, between 'Lowlife' and 'Bad Baby', goes on the album. There is not much talking between songs.

The band leaves the stage after 'Public Image', but the crowd get an encore: Because they ask for one. 'Paris au Printemps' would have been a much different album if the thunderous applause and cheers that greet the band's return were included, but I suppose the album needed to be bleak; a loud burst of pure happiness would be entirely out of character. needed to be bleak; a loud burst of pure happiness would be entirely out of character.

Well, this was a day wasted. I can understand the situation in Lydon's apartment, where time passes and opportunities are wasted, everybody's sitting around feeling lousy and no one is feeling up to doing much of anything. This was the afternoon when I listened to Public Image Limited and wrote a cassette review for which I will not be paid. I thought it would take thirty minutes, but I spent the whole day writing this. I like PIL better than the fall, not just because PIL are brilliant while the fall are rubbish, badly played rockabilly, but because I can relate to a band that has such severe problems with getting organized. I'm sure Mark E Smith goes to bed and gets up in the morning at regular hours.

Why don't they issue 'Paris au Printemps' as a double CD? Sloth and disorganization, I suppose... the magical factors that made the group great in the first place.


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