Dallas Punks on Parade in 1978
No doubt you've heard about it--the night the Sex Pistols played Dallas in 1978. Maybe you read about it in the book 12 Days on the Road by Noel Monk; the entire chapter about the band's trip through town, on January 10 of '78, can be found right here. Maybe you were even there; the Longhorn Ballroom sold all 1,500 tix it made available that night, for a whopping $3.50 a pop. Or maybe you've seen footage from the video Live at the Longhorn, which came out on England in 2002 but never received proper U.S. distribution (a shame, as it's actually pretty decent quality--three cameras used, no less, to capture the nine-song show). Some footage from that Longhorn show's actually available on YouTube: a tremendous performance of "Bodies," which reveals the evening as something a little more conventional than legend would allow.
Well, on Wednesday Friend of Unfair Park and wowee-video archivist Steve Dirkx--himself, of course, a punk from way back--posted to YouTube a five-minute WFAA-Channel 8 piece on the Pistols' Dallas show. It was broadcast a couple of weeks after the show, and the condescending narration, from reporter Bruce Halperin, is itself a giggle; check out the interviews with Sid Vicious and Doug Groom, son of former Longhorn owner and country-swinger Dewey Groom. What's more fascinating than the performance, in retrospect, is the audience itself--looks more like a Merle Haggard crowd than a Sid Vicious gang, to the point where even the safety-pin boys look like urban cowboys playing dress-up with Mommy's makeup. So, on this slowest of post-Thanksgiving news days, enjoy this stumble down Amnesia Lane. And if it strikes you just right, make this image your desktop wallpaper. --Robert Wilonsky
Bonus video: The Sex Pistols play the Longhorn Ballroom, January 10, 1978
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.