September 14, 2005

Concert Review: Billy Idol 9/13

Who would have believed that one could have an absolute blast at a Billy Idol concert? I certainly didn't. Now, I didn't think it wouldn't be fun, I just couldn't have predicted exactly how much fun it turned out to be.

I saw that Billy was coming to town, so I decided that I would check it. I'm not the most familiar with his music, but I know the hits and I reviewed his latest album, Devil's Playground, earlier this year. The first thing I found odd about the event was that it was all reserved seating. I am used to rock shows being general admission, I wasn't sure what to expect from a seated Billy show. I had these thoughts of some quiet show that didn't allow for any high energy. Fortunately, I was wrong, very wrong.

I got to the venue around 6:45 for the scheduled 7:30 start, a friend of mine arrived shortly after me. First stop, merch table, you always have to see what they're selling. I ended up getting an Idol beanie. We made our way to our seats, 8 rows back on the right side. We sat there waiting for the show to begin, wondering if they would make all the people standing along the security barrier at the front. I figured they would, why have a seated show if no one was going to sit? As 7:30 approached, we couldn't help but notice how depressingly empty the place was. There were a lot of empty seats, why, I ask you, why? This was Billy Idol, that place should have been full. Well, enough of this pre-show chatter, that's probably not what you came here looking for.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com7:45 came, the lights went out, a voice rings out, the lights come up, and the show is on. Billy opened with a track of the new album, "Super Overdrive." Great start to the show. About halfway through the song, we decided to move up front, they weren't making anyone go back to their seats, and we wanted a better view. We got up there and it was just being in a general admission, we were all crammed in their rocking to the Idol onslaught.

We were given a good mix of the new and the old. Billy onstage pumping first, sneering, and having a great time doing it. "Super Overdrive" gave way to "Dancing with Myself" and then "Flesh for Fantasy." It was non-stop, the music was loud, the energy was high, and the crowd was into it from start to finish, singing, cheering, yelling, clamoring for more. After the first few songs, Billy pulled out an acoustic guitar and slowed the proceedings a bit to give us some slower songs, like "Sweet Sixteen."

During this slow down, I was surprised to hear one of my favorite songs from Devil's Playground, "Plastic Jesus." I have grown to really like that song, and was surprised to hear it live. Some of the crowd grew a little restless during the slow stuff, but it didn't last long. The slow segment came to a close with a Randy Newman cover, a tribute to "Louisiana." This gave way to a solo from Steve Stevens, an acoustic driven, flamenco flavored number, a great showcase for the talent he possesses.

The show just gained momentum from there, culminating in a classic Generation X cut, "Ready Steady Go" and the final song of the main set "Rebel Yell." All through this the crowd was going berserk, singing along, yelling, not wanting it to stop. This lead to two encores, the final being a rousing, neat 20 minute version of "Mony Mony."

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThere was something amazing going on onstage, something I don't often see at a rock show. What I saw was an artist who was truly having fun, someone who was doing it for the fans, going so far as to react to them on an individual basis, in many cases. It is such a great thing to see this in someone onstage, someone feeding off the crowd energy and giving it right back. Now there was something else, something I have never seen before, Billy was signing autographs for people during songs. He would take someones sign or hat or anything really, sign it and take it back to them. At times taking a sign and sticking it to himself and start dancing, other times taking a bra, or other clothing article, wiping some sweat off and throwing it back. He was so clearly having a blast, but there was always the fist pumping and sneer present.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA couple musical notes should be mentioned. Steve Stevens was quite an incredible performer, some blazing solos, some slow stylish playing, very good. There is also the presence of former Dream Theater keyboard player, Derek Sherinian, an amazing player who got to show off some skills with Billy's songs. Plus the drummer, whose name I don't recall, was having a blast too, plus he was a good guitar player, dueling with Stevens at the end of the set.

What can I say? High energy, great songs, an impressive amount of fun, how could I not have fun? All I can say is, if you have the opportunity to catch Billy Idol live, do it. Help fill those potentially empty seats. With the quality of show that he puts on, there is no reason for a single empty seat. Do yourself a favor, go see the show.

Set List:
1. Super Overdrive
2. Dancing With Myself
3. Flesh For Fantasy
4. Body Snatcher
5. White Wedding
6. Scream
7. Eyes Without A Face
8. Sweet Sixteen
9. Plastic Jesus
10. Cherie
11. Louisiana
Image hosted by Stevens Solo)
12. Rat Race
13. LA Woman
14. Evil Eye
15. World Coming Down
16. Ready Steady Go
17. Rebel Yell

Encore 1:
18. Hot In The City
19. Kiss Me Deadly

Encore 2:
20. Mony Mony


broadbroad said...

I was front and center! Those were my signs he had plastered to his abs. Unfortunately I didn't get any pics of them so if anyone snapped some up of him wearing my words plese get them to me ASAP- I would really appreciate it! Yeah Billy puts on am amazing, dynamic show!!!

Anonymous said...

yes i would love some pics if anyone has them i was in front too and didnt have a camera thanks!

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