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December 16, 2008


Thursday, January 5, 1978
Great Southeast Music Hall



The Sex Pistols played to about 500 people at their first American show. In attendance were fans, journalists, onlookers, and law enforcement agents. Future R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck snuck into the concert, but was kicked out after only a few songs. Many in attendance had heard stories about British punk rock but were unfamiliar with the Sex Pistols themselves. There was a rumor that the band killed hamsters onstage, among other far-fetched suggestions. A good number of people expected grubby street punks with mohawks to walk onstage. Only Sid lived up to most people's expectations, and even he was relatively well-behaved tonight.
"I thought you were all cowboys down here," said Rotten as he waited for Steve to tune up. "Well my name's John, and this is the Sex Pistols." With that, the band ripped into "God Save the Queen," introducing the Georgia crowd to British punk. "See what kind of fine, upstanding youth England is chucking out these days?," Johnny said about himself and his band. "You can all stop staring at us now. We're ugly and we know it."
"Johnny Rotten's stare was demonic, his expression sneering, and his shoulders ominously hunched," reported Tony Schwartz in Newsweek. "Sid Vicious, pasty-skinned and anemic-looking, seemed more catatonic than cantankerous, rousing himself only to blow his nose stage right. Guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook looked clean-cut enough to have played in the '50s style band that opened the show."
Overall, the first show of the tour was seen as a disappointment. Steve's guitar refused to stay in tune, and his playing was less than spectacular. Johnny sang most of lyrics during the wrong parts of the songs, and he occasionally resorted to muttering. During "Anarchy in the U.K.," he asked the audience, "Do any of you know the words?" The crowd also remained quite contolled, nothing compared to what was in store for the Pistols later in the tour. To some, the show represented exactly what punk was all about: raw and vulgar rock 'n' roll, played with plenty of volume and little musical skill. Others couldn't understand how this band spearheaded a musical revolution.

Set list:
God Save the Queen, I Wanna Be Me, Seventeen, New York, Bodies, Submission, Holidays in the Sun, EMI, No Feelings, Problems, Pretty Vacant, Anarchy in the U.K.
Friday, January 6, 1978
Taliesyn Ballroom

Over 900 tickets were sold for the Memphis gig. Unfortunately, the ballroom's full capacity was only 725. A small riot ensued outside the venue when fans were denied seeing the Sex Pistols.
Sid went on a search for drugs hours before the band was supposed to play, and the show was delayed. When they did go on about 11 PM, the band gave an average show with minimal violence and verbal abuse. "I hear you all listen to Dolly Parton down here," John Rotten remarked. "Are you still celebrating Elvis's birthday?" During the show, audience members began throwing various objects onstage. Johnny responded: "I'm not here for your amusement, you're here for mine. So behave yourself and don't throw things at me. I don't like it."
Dave Schulps gave the performance a glowing review in Sounds. "The Sex Pistols gave what I consider one of the best rock 'n' roll shows I've ever seen. Most of the audience seemed to agree, reacting wildly to every move they made. Johnny Rotten leered manically into the mass before him and danced spasmodically, at times resembling a chimp swinging from vine to vine. Sid Vicious constantly spat on the stage and occasionally jumped up like a kewpie doll in shock treatment. A few shook their heads and left quietly. There was no violence. Not a single person was injured... or corrupted."
At the end of the show, a SWAT team invaded the ballroom to control any possible outbreaks of violence. Again, a relatively controlled show, downright tame compared to the next performance.
Interestingly enough, the Taliesyn Ballroom is now a Taco Bell.

Set list:
God Save the Queen, I Wanna Be Me, Seventeen, New York, EMI, Bodies, Belsen Was a Gas, Submission, Holidays in the Sun, No Feelings, Problems, Pretty Vacant, Anarchy in the U.S.A., No Fun

Sunday, January 8, 1978
Randy's Rodeo

The band arrive in San Antonio to play Randy's Rodeo, a ballroom that has sold out its 2,200 capacity.
As soon as the band take the stage, they are http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Pavilion/9373/sa11.jpgpelted with http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Pavilion/9373/d15.jpgbeer cans, hot dogs and popcorn. This former bowling alley was packed with 2,200 rowdy Texans waiting to see what this thing called "punk rock" was all about. The Sex Pistols broke the rule that "if you're gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band." Both band and audience were prepared for war.

The band gave their most spirited performance of the American tour in San Antonio. Johnny took the stage wearing a T-shirt depicting two homosexual cowboys, and Sid greeted the crowd with some very unkind remarks. The audience hurled anything onstage that they could get their hands on. Items of choice were spit, popcorn, beer cups, cans, hot dogs, whipped cream, bottles, and pies.
Steve and Paul did their best to hold the show together while Sid and Johnny took every possible opportunity to insult and infuriate the crowd. Sid removed his leather jacket to reveal "Gimme a Fix" scrawled on his chest. Johnny blew snot at the people in the front row, snarling and screaming his vocals the whole night. Steve promptly broke a string during the first number, and he later used his guitar as a weapon against threatening audience members.
The audience fought amongst themselves, and one heckler decided to go after the band. He started yelling at Johnny, but John ignored him. The heckler decided to antagonize the next easiest target, Sid. When Vicious was hit in the face with a can of beer, the man mocked him. During the last seconds of "New York," Sid unstrapped his bass and attempted to club him over the head, hitting a Warner executive instead. The lights went off and the show was delayed for several minutes,

while the cowboy is taken away by police.
He later denounces the Pistols as "sewer rats with guitars" on TV.
As the Rodeo's manager took the stage and asked those in attendance to stop throwing things at the band, Steve attempted to tune his (and Sid's) guitar, producing an ominous drone. The crowd became restless. One burly-sounding man yelled,
"Let's hear some rock 'n' roll!" Order was restored and the Pistols continued the set. After being escorted out of Randy's, the heckler said, "I don't like what they stand for. They are just sewer rats with guitars." Later in the show, Sid was hit hard enough to receive a bloody nose. With no demand for an encore, the band completed their set with "Anarchy in the U.S.A." and left the stage. Johnny Rotten topped off the evening by meeting with the local press and calling the audience members "statues."
The next day, the local paper read:

"Sex Pistols win the San Antonio Shoot-Out"

Set list:
God Save the Queen, I Wanna Be Me, Seventeen, New York, EMI, Holidays in the Sun, Bodies, Belsen Was a Gas, Submission, No Feelings, Problems, Pretty

Monday, January 9, 1978
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Kingfish

During their show at Baton Rouge, Louisiana's Kingfish Club, Vicious starts to have sex with a

New ORLEANS PUNK Girl who gets on stage. The crowd showers the band with money!

artist unknown
How could they top the San Antonio Shoot-Out?

They wouldn't come close tonight. The audience tonight was comprised mostly of college kids. http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Pavilion/9373/d11.jpgAlthough there was still verbal warfare between the audience and the band, the performance at the Kingfish fished FOR more THAN The night before.

Sid even got some play from a female fan during "New York."

Most of the audience seemed fairly interested in the Sex Pistols' music, and "EMI" even uninspired sing-along. Nonetheless, apathy plagued the band. Steve seemed particularly bored tonight,
introducing the songs without a shred of enthusiasm. The put-downs exchanged between Sid and members of the crowd sounded forced. Instead of throwing food and trash, the audience threw money.

After getting hit with a handful of coins, John said, "If you're gonna throw money, throw dollar bills."

During the encores, Sid and Johnny collected over 15 dollars.

The show was all about spectacle; music was secondary.


Kingfish Set list:

God Save the Queen, I Wanna Be Me, Seventeen, New York, semi bodies, Nelsen Was a Gas, Submission, Holidays in the Sun, No Feelings, Problems, Pretty Vacant, Anarchy in the U.S.A., No Fun, Liar

Patrons Of Randy's Rodeo

Tuesday,January 10, 1978
Longhorn Ballroom
Dallas, TX

SEX PISTOLS: LONGHORN BALLROOM (DALLAS: 1.10.78 - 22 min. Whole Show by Mrjyn)

"They said no one could be more bizarre than Alice Cooper, or more destructive than Kiss...They have not seen the Sex Pistols. Tuesday night, Stone City Attractions presents live, the Sex Pistols. Banned in their own home country, England's Sex Pistols, denied admittance to the United States, the Sex Pistols bring the new wave to the Metroplex this Tuesday night, in the Longhorn Ballroom. They said it couldn't happen, but it happens Tuesday night: the Sex Pistols, live."
--Dallas Radio Promo, 1978

Tuesday,January 10, 1978
Longhorn Ballroom:

Set List:

God Save the Queen:

By this point, Sid's receiving most of the attention onstage. Other members of the band are getting fed up with his narcissistic attitude. Before the show, Steve threatens to punch him for focusing on himself and not the music.

I Wanna Be Me:

Sid hits the bottle hard before the show. Being in Texas again, he and Johnny mock the "Cowboys" in attendance. About half of the 1,800 in the crowd are fans; the other half are Country & Western fans defending their territory against these British punks.


John wears an ugly pink shirt and black glove for most of the show, while Steve wears all black, including boots, spurs, and a Sheriff's star.

New York:

Although he contributes nothing musically, Sid knows he's stealing Johnny's limelight, which is more important to him.


Belsen Was a Gas:

With "Gimme a Fix" on his bare chest, Sid barely played his bass and seemed more interested in jumping around instead of performing music. Plastic cups and other assorted objects flew toward the stage for the duration of the performance. (No glass bottles were sold.)

belsen was a gas

Holidays in the Sun:

holidays in the sun

At the end of "Holidays in the Sun," Sid gets head-butted by an overzealous woman and receives a bloody nose. Instead of wiping up the mess, he lets the gore flow down his torso. After smearing it on his face, he spits into the crowd, yelling off-mic and over the din,

"All cowboys are queer!"

No Feelings:

Johnny remarks, "Look at that... a living circus."


There are about 100 police on hand.

Pretty Vacant:

During "Pretty Vacant," Sid takes a broken bottle and carves his chest. He removes the pus-soaked bandage from his arm and throws it into the crowd. The other band members continue the show. With his newly carved chest, Sid isn't playing bass as much as using it, while jumping around and staring, like the heroin-deprived, schnapps zombie he now is.

Anarchy in the U.S.A.:

anarchy in the usa

After a blistering version of "Anarchy in the U.S.A.," the band left the stage, and, surprisingly, the crowd yelled for more. As the band reappeared for an encore, Sid showed the audience an obscene gesture and Steve yelled,

"You must be mad to want more of us!"

No Fun:

In the middle of "No Fun,"
Steve confronts a heckler by throwing a couple punches and jabbing him with the headstock of his guitar.

The next morning, the Dallas newspaper read:

"Most of the people last night came to see the people who came to see the Sex Pistols."

artist unknown
Johnny In Baton Rouge

artist unknown
Johnny At Randy's Rodeo

artist unknown
Sid Vicious, San Francisco

*I was a 15-year-old 11th grader when the Sex Pistols came to Baton Rouge, the day before this concert in 1978.

There is no video of The Kingfish Show [But you can read 'Six Days on the Road'], although I'm still looking. [I'm also desperately looking for the Sex Pistols, Kingfish T-shirt. If you have one, LET ME KNOW.]

Local bands in Baton Rouge [The Shitdogs and mine, Jett Rink and the Solar Skates] were just starting to 'be PUNK.'

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