Don't believe the gripe
The Drainpipe | Australia | 10/23/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"With Keith Levene and bassist Pete Jones flying the coop, John Lydon and Martin Atkins hastily assembled the infamous "cabaret band" from New Jersey and this faux-PiL toured Japan. Testimony of which is this much-maligned release, the world's first digitally-recorded live album which Lydon freely admits was nothing more than a cash incentive. So how does this less-than-laudable endeavour hold up? "Live In Tokyo" is all very smooth and glitzy; the perfunctory band goes through the motions with little of the edge that characterised the original PiL. But that doesn't mean that this set is unlistenable. Unsurprisingly, the pop-oriented material from the upcoming "This Is What You Want...This Is What You Get" album comes off best ("Solitaire," "This Is Not A Love Song," a very nifty "Bad Life" - all of which follow the original "Commercial Zone" treatments rather than the "This Is What You Want" remakes). The segue between "Low Life" and "Solitaire" is neat, "Religion" is boosted by an ironic Church-organ intro, and even "Flowers Of Romance" doesn't sound half bad. Unfortunately, the album doesn't include PiL's calling card number, "Public Image," which was retained on the official video of the gig. It's always going to be seen as the least essential PiL release ever, but "Live In Tokyo" is not boring - and small praise as that may be, given the circumstances of this album's existence, that's about as much as one could hope for."