Anyone who grew up in the 1980’s remembers Billy Idol as the svelte, bleach-blonde, black-clad, sneering, leering, fist-pumping punk rocker who exploded on the scene with his self-titled debut album in 1982. Thirty five years later, not much has changed.
In the midst of his spring “Billy Idol Forever” residence at the House of Blues Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay), Idol paid a visit to the newly opened House of Blues Anaheim for a raucous night of flesh and fantasy. The General Admission show had devoted fans lined up hours before the doors opened to get a spot as close to the stage as possible. Idol fans don’t mess around. They’re as hardcore as Steve Stevens’ guitar solos.
The sold-out venue was packed and ready to rock by the time Idol and his musicians took the stage at 8:15. And they came out firing on all cylinders. The crowd was responsive – within the first three songs, there were, of course, the expected security incidents involving overly rowdy fans in the pit.
The crowd was vocally responsive to popular favorites like “Dancing with Myself,” “Flesh for Fantasy,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding.” Interestingly, the setlist included what could only be interpreted as a breather for the singer, labeled simply “——–SOLO——-”, which was what seemed to be a 10-15 minute guitar solo eight songs in. Can’t say that I blame him though. The dude’s 61! And as animated and energetic as I’ve seen any entertainer, at any age. Running, jumping, dancing, fist-pumping, head-banging, air-guitaring…oh, and SINGING too.
There were a few wardrobe changes (whether necessary or not, I couldn’t say, but the man did sweat a bit). And for the ladies, a little back-to-the-crowd strip tease, as he shed layers of clothing to reveal his bare back and chest.
The entire first set consisted of twelve songs (solo included), and lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes. After a brief two-minute break, Idol and his bandmates retook the stage for the encore of “White Wedding.” However, Idol abruptly left the stage before MONY, leaving everyone to question what exactly happened. Some thought there was an equipment malfunction, but I have it from a front row source that it may have actually been a dental malfunction. To her, it seemed as though Idol was having problems off and on with a crown.
Hell, when I’m well into my AARP eligibility, I sure hope a broken crown is the worst of my problems. And while I didn’t get to sing along to “HEY EVERYBODY GET LAID, GET F*CKED,” I was not disappointed in the least. Because Billy Idol puts on one hell of a rockin’ good time show. And also because I watched a dude dancing with his lapdog in the VIP section, so there’s that consolation. Only in Orange County.
Article: Shannon Leigh