MTV's 120 Minutes Tour - 03/13/1992

BAD and PiL 1992

Those who watched MTV's Post Modern MTV and 120 Minutes may well remember this tour as the beginning of the end for MTV's stretch of progressive late night video programming. By this point, the truly underground videos with limited production budgets had given way to major label college radio artists who would soon be crossing over into MTV's non-Alternative programming with a vengeance. By the end of 1992, most of the kids in my high school who would have scratched their heads at the mention of bands on labels like Sub Pop and Wax Trax would be at least familiar with the names Nirvana and Ministry, and it would only get worse after that as what was once called "progressive rock" was rebranded as "alternative" and then sold as the new status quo.

Dave Kendall, then the host of 120 Minutes introduced this tour with a video spot that was actually filmed at this show in Tampa. I still remember the shot of Kendall riding the big swooping white slide at the Florida State Fairgrounds as he welcomed viewers to another edition of the show. This tour was an interesting attempt to package the really old (PiL and Big Audio Dynamite II) with the really young (Live and Blind Melon--the latter of which didn't even have a record out at the time and were coasting on the notoriety that their lead singer appeared in the Guns N Roses video from T2.) Indeed Blind Melon may have gotten a break by being included on a tour with a couple of punk legends and an up-and-coming alt-rock darling, but they didn't get too great of a deal--when we arrived at 7:45 or so, they were already done and tearing down their gear.

Live was mostly underwhelming, though I'm sure that fans of that band from years later would have loved to have been there. I was really in it to see Big Audio Dynamite II because they had a slightly electronic/dance-oriented edge and at the time, that was almost required for me to pay attention. PiL was an interesting aside for me, having never been a huge fan of John Lydon's.

The co-headlining tour gave us plenty of time with both BAD and PiL and I have to say that the whole show was kind of drab outside of the stand out tracks (the singles) from both bands. Lydon taunted the audience, looked like a pompous prick, and shrugged of Sex Pistols requests. I think I spent most of his set watching the big fur patch he had sewn on the crotch of his pants to replicate his album cover. It was artfully obscene and somehow more interesting than any of the music. I would later grow a much greater respect for Lydon's brand of antagonistic humor-at the time though, I thought he was kind of a bore. Mick Jones was as goofy as his records would lead you to imagine, but I bought a red corduroy hat that said B.A.D. on it anyway.

As with a lot of things from those days, my interests then and my interests now might be almost polar opposites. I'd be much more interested to see PiL these days and I doubt that I could take very seriously more than about 10 minutes of BAD. Oh well--I can still say that I saw Blind Melon packing up their gear in that precariously short era before their record was released, that video with the girl in the Bee suit took over the world, and the singer overdosed and died before anything else became of them.