The Sex Pistols - Jones Beach, NYC - August 21, 2003

August 21, 2003 will be remembered as one of the GREATEST days of my life. It will be a milestone against which I will judge all other happenings in my life.
Everyone that knows me or follows this site knows that I am HUGE fan of the SEX PISTOLS. (Probably un-naturally so…) So when it was announced that the MOST IMPORTANT BAND ON EARTH was to do a North American Tour, I was out of my mind.
After the fiasco of the last Pistols show that I went to, where afterwards, my former best friend stole the videotape of the band that I shot, I was really looking forward to seeing the band again. Especially since I would be going with my super-cool, sexy girlfriend: Sarah!
Thanks to a friend of a friend, I got awesome tickets to the show at the Tommy Hilfiger Amphitheatre at Jones Beach in New York City. And it was awesome.
The original theater was constructed in the early 1930's and was renovated in 1945 and again in 1992. In 1998 the theater was expanded to its current configuration and now seats 14,000 people comfortably.

I had requested a press pass, but when I checked back, they told me I would know the day before the event. There was no response on the correct day, and I was unable to check for one on the day of the show due to my itinerary, so, I went up and asked when I got there. And true to how the day was going on certain fronts, there was no pass for me.

I had the guy check under my name, Tom Around the World, and other things, but alas, there was no pass to be had… So we sat there dejected and I was getting PISSED! The day was not turning out like I had hoped in some ways. But then it started to get better… As Sarah and I sat there wondering what to do, a black car pulled up in front of us. Out of the car stepped two children, a woman, and Glen Matlock, the Bass player for The Sex Pistols. Glen, his wife and his kids wanted to walk into the show instead of being driven. I did not get a picture, as I did not want to bother him with his family. But afterwards, I kicked myself in the ass for not taking the opportunity while I had it. He was only six feet from me… I really got mad at myself for a while. I should have taken the picture. But, that is life. "Coulda, shoulda, woulda" they say. So, at this point I was thoroughly disgusted with a lot of what had happened that day. Late trains, no press pass, and now I missed a perfect opportunity to get my photo with a Sex Pistol. We checked our bags and headed in as Reverend Horton Heat, the first of the two opening bands, began their set.

Reverend Horton Heat
is a big-time favorite band for me. I have seen them and met them many times and every time was fantastic. This time was no exception. The red-hot brand of Texas Psycho-Billy created by the three piece band is without compare. The Reverend slammed through a literal greatest hits set, which included songs such as "Baddest of the Bad, 400 Bucks, I Can't Surf, & I Could Get Used To It.". The antics of the band, such as standing on the big upright bass, were loose and fun and got the crowd going.
More about: Reverend Horton Heat file photo


Dropkick Murphys were up next. As the lights went down, the chant of "Let's Go Murphys!" began. The bagpipes began and the band members filed onto the stage.
The Murphys, as always, turned in a great set of punk rock with a heavy Celtic influence. I had the opportunity to meet them a few years back on the Van's Warped Tour and they are friendly guys. It was in all truth a phenomenal performance that just goes to prove that the Dropkick Murphys are one of the best bands in Punk today, and they made it so that the Pistols would have to work hard. More about: Dropkick Murphys

Finally, the lights went down. It was time for the reason we were there...

The Sex Pistols
The Most Important Band On Earth!

The Set List: Bodies / Seventeen / New York / No Feelings / Did You No Wrong / God Save The Queen / Liar / Belsen Was A Gas / No Fun / Submission / Holidays In The Sun / Pretty Vacant / E.M.I.
Encore: Anarchy In The U.K. / Problems.

Johnny took the stage, and informed the audience, "Because of immigration, we couldn't rehearse, so like us or die."
The band looked great. The sound was great! The stage was stark and Spartan. They had less equipment than the average club band, but their sound and energy was that of a band with a ton of stage gear. John stalked the stage like a hungry lion, alternating between anger and comedic brilliance with his slams.

Glen looked quite well, Steve looked solid although he kept his back to the audience for most of the night, and Paul was in fine form. They ripped through the set with a few mistakes where Johnny screwed up the lyrics to a couple of songs, and then Steve would look over at him, and Johnny would listen to the crowd to try to find his place.

John @ Inland Invasion 9-14-02
They had a false start on the beginning of "God Save The Queen" where Johnny stopped the band about thirty seconds into it and yelled at the crowd, "C'mon, we didn't write these classic songs for nothing!" like it was our fault. Way to pass the buck, John!

Personally, I think that seeing them make mistakes was what made it a true Sex Pistols show. Had it been slick and polished it would have sucked. It was great seeing, as Johnny put it: "raw Sex Pistols." There's not a negative thing I can say about this show. Even though the Pistols played a bit sloppy, it made it real. It showed that they are human like the rest of us. It was a true Sex Pistols experience.

John kept referring to Tommy Hilfiger as "Tommy HillFinger" and raised his middle finger. He blamed him for the lack of alcohol and any other thing that he could think of.
When it came time to do "Belson was a Gas" Johnny encouraged the crowd to sing it as "Bagdad was a Gas." He also stated, "You Americans sure know how to pick your allies...Brits!"
At the end of "E.M.I.", the rest of the band took leave of the stage apparently unnoticed by John. He soon realized that he was alone and said, "My band has left the stage… If you want more, you know what to do!"


The crowd began chanting and screaming and after a few moments the band returned for the encore.
As the Pistols began "Anarchy in the U.K." the security guy to my left let a stream of people up to the front, and not being one to miss out on an opportunity, I walked over there to go up front.
Just as I got to him, being the last one in line, he held up his arms to stop me. I said to him, "C'mon dude, let me up. You let all them go. How much trouble will I be? There aren't but two songs left."
His response was to shrug his shoulders and say, "Fuck it... Go on!" and let me go up to the front.
There were about thirty people in front pogo-ing and I joined them and was soon to the front rail.
John was right in front of me. I kept reaching up to get him to shake my hand, but he wouldn't do it. He made eye contact with me several times and just made a few of the infamous Johnny Rotten faces, but refused to shake my hand or anyone else's for that matter. So, I had a brilliant idea.

Johnny: Hard at Work.
John is always saying that he doesn't mess with people until they mess with him, so I decided to call him on it. My "Don't Fuck With Me" hat was hanging on my belt due to the fact it was hot from all the people and I hadn't wanted to wear it. I quickly put it on and when John came back, he looked at me again. This time, I pointed to the hat and screamed out, "Don't Fuck With Me, Shake My Hand!"
He laughed into the microphone and then reached down and SHOOK MY HAND!!!! I was ecstatic!!! I can be seen shaking John's hand at 7:50 of the video.) I jumped around screaming, "Yeah!!! Fuck Yeah!" and began shaking and stuttering. It was awesome!!! All the bullshit that I had put up with all day just melted away. I was untouchable. I was bulletproof. I was in a state of Shock & Awe. Those of you that know me, know that I never get star struck or freak out about something like this, but this was SO DIFFERENT. By the time the encore ended, I didn't care if I died right there. And when I got back to Sarah, I was still shaking and hyped up like never before. That handshake was one of the greatest moments of my musical life.
I was told by someone that there is a
bootleg DVD of the show and that you can see the whole thing. I MUST get it. (Anyone with info on that, please contact me.)
Johnny Rotten is on the list for the HeroQuest Campaign, and although Johnny doesn't consider himself a hero, that is exactly what makes him one. He is just a working class Englishman that did ok for himself. Good Show!

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