There might have been more Grecian 2000s than six-inch Mohicans at Birmingham’s Carling Academy on Wednesday night, but the snarling pantomime of Johnny Rotten was unmistakeable.
He screamed: "Hello Villans, Hello Zulus, Hello Wolves!" to the crowd just after walking on stage.
On October 20 1976, fewer than 100 people watched the band play at Bogart’s, a tiny club – now demolished – on New Street. Three decades later most controversial band in rock history returned to Birmingham to play another soon-to-be demolished venue.
Rotten (or Lydon if you are more new wave than punk) marched on to the stage with his trademark stare intact. It was a crowd including scruffy fortysomethings, reclaiming their anti-establishment past. I bet they even spat on the floor on their way home.
Then there were young kids, oblivious to the Jubilee summer, the Bill Grundy interview and the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall - but singing like they were born in the 1960s rather than 1990s.
It was one of those gigs that the Academy was made for. Soaked through throngs of bodies grinding in unison to loud, banging anthems.
No one could understand what Rotten was singing, but that was the point back then wasn’t it? But the anthems that used to drive old-fashioned mums up the wall were there in abundance.
Holidays in the Sun was a power-chord driven frenzy. Anarchy In The UK had Rotten twisting and jerking like a man with a badly positioned safety pin on his trousers, and Pretty Vacant left Glen Matlock and Steve Jones looking at each other, wondering why they have only played a handful of gigs over the last few years.
Well, if this was the warm up for the up-coming Isle of Wight gig, Sex Pistol fans had better prepare themselves for an experience hotter than one of Rotten’s rants at the monarchy.