My 10 Favorite Concerts Of 2010, Starring Jay-Z, Pavement, And Michael Bolton

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Stephen Malkmus, at the first of Pavement's 50 shows here. Pics by Rob unless noted otherwise.
The 100-plus shows I saw this year spanned from the Cake Shop to Radio City Music Hall, from Williamsburg block parties to Michael Bolton's house in Connecticut, the events that occurred therein all furtively documented on an iPhone notepad and sometimes captured via relentlessly amateurish photography. The best were a mix of usual suspects and total surprises, current hitmakers and reconstructed old-timers, all hitting whatever stage with some combination of joy, ferocity, indifference, disdain, and messianic grandeur. Here are the 10 that made my imminent hearing loss seem nonetheless somehow totally worth it.

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"The Pope Was A Nazi!" John Lydon's Stage Banter From Last Night's Public Image Ltd. Show At Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Transcribed

Antagonizing the Pope in D.C. Seems to be a thing for him.

Public Image Ltd.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
Wednesday, May 19

They played Terminal 5 Tuesday night; I refer you to Mr. Weingarten's account for most of the musical details, which carry over to this show: a two-plus-hour career-spanning blowout of oft-astonishing ferocity, Johnny Rotten/John Lydon in superb voice, a torrent of wails and growls and screams and sublimely rolled R's. The deeply sacrilegious harangue "Religion," featuring quite possibly the loudest, deepest, most pulverizing bass I've ever experienced at a live show, was the punishing but profoundly satisfying highlight. But mostly I just like listening to Lydon rant. Here are the topics he covered tonight.

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Live: Public Image Limited Reunite, Attack a Cameraman at Terminal 5

Public Image Limited
Terminal 5
Tuesday, May 18

Maybe, just for a second, it was hard to believe that the doughy 54-year-old on stage at Terminal 5 was once the most dangerous man in music. Ironic Jesus Christ poses, Frankenstein dancing, robot moves, double earrings, button-down shirts, and kinda-cloying anti-Palin rhetoric do not make for a convincing portrait of rebellion in 2010. But, man alive, everything you've ever loved about Public Image Limited's Johnny Rotten or John Lydon or whatever he's calling himself these days is definitely still in his voice. That venomous warble still cuts through the center of a room like a rusty knife. It gurgles and whines, it wants you to believe music is the best thing ever, it wants you to believe music is a waste of your time, it shames audience members into clapping or cheering. It's still an unbelievable weapon, a true calling card for a man who yells "Is this life worth saving?!" on stage like Kiss would yell "cold gin!"

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