Ever Get the Feeling You've Been Cheated?

Day Twelve: Saturday, Jan. 14 - San Francisco, 10 p.m.

Presenter Richard Meltzer announces the Sex Pistols by riling up the audience. He incites the crowd to become something more than a passive American rock audience. He sets a tone that the band must live up to. “Skinheads suck!” he shouts. “You all suck dick!” On the outside of his jacket, Meltzer has stapled a Tampax box. (Concert promoter Bill) Graham has him ejected before he can finish his speech.

The Sex Pistols’ set is an astonishing, galvanizing show for the Winterland audience. Although many in the crowd have seen punk band before – the Ramones have already been through town twice – this opens the door to a new world. The sound is all Jones’ buzz-saw chords and Rotten’s invectives, noise and anger. There’s no hint that anything constructive could come out of this fury, just a sour-breathed, fire-breathing celebration of the power of destruction. There’s a rousing dissolution on the stage, fury bathed in white spotlights.

Yet those on the stage are neither astonished nor galvanized. The Winterland show is a blasé, seen-it-all show by a band that is tired, bored, sick. Rotten asks the sell-out crowd, “A-ha! Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated? Good night.” The answer should be yes. This show, in comparison to the Texas shows, is dull beyond belief. Anarchy is a word that slides out of Rotten’s mouth; tonight it doesn’t mean anything.

... from “12 Days on the Road” by Noel E. Monk and Jimmy Guterman (Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd., 1992).

And so, in a somewhat anti-climactic flurry, the Sex Pistols came to an end.

The sound quality of these songs is much better than an earlier Pistols’ show I posted (one of the aforementioned Texas shows; the Jan. 10 performance at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. That post is here, but I took the links down long ago). This may or may not be new to you, but I only recently got hold of it, so I figured I’d share it anyway.

The band’s infamous last show was broadcast on San Francisco radio station KSAN, which I assume is the source for this recording. There is also a video recording of the show.

God Save the Queen.mp3
I Wanna Be Me.mp3
New York.mp3
Belsen Was a Gas.mp3
Holidays in the Sun.mp3
No Feelings.mp3
Pretty Vacant.mp3
Anarchy in the U.K..mp3
No Fun.mp3

YouTube has the video for "God Save the Queen" from this show.

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