(How many Billy Idol song titles can you find?)
A chance to see ’80s superstar Billy Idol was like getting Postcards From the Past. Tickets to the show sold out the morning of his performance at the Tobin Center of the Performing Arts Oct. 5. After that, no amount of Mony was going to get you in.
Black-clad goths mixed with silver-haired grandmas. One young gal with a nose ring looked to be Sweet Sixteen and dressed like she was going to a White Wedding. The greying gentlemen she was with appeared to be robbing the Cradle Of Love.
Idol was dressed very colorfully – in a monochromatic sort of way. Tight black pants met polished black boots. A long black jacket completed his ensemble. I don’t know if he was on Whiskey And Pills but he was Ready Steady.
Two Billys and two Steves were in the five-piece band. They were so good, nothing could Save Me Now. Billy Idol sang and played guitar, Billy Morrison played rhythm, Paul Trudeau had three rows of keys on his organ, and Steve McGrath played bass.
But these musicians, great as they are, were like Eyes Without A Face without Steve Stevens on lead. This Grammy award-winning guitarist has performed with Idol since the ’80s. Stevens’ guitar seemed to scream, “You Can’t Break Me Down,” as he played it behind his head or with his teeth.
Idol took off his jacket early in the set. His unbuttoned shirt revealed a sculpted torso and chest. He threw a hip-shaking pose and the crowd loved it. Later, Idol took off his shirt and showed thousands of aging teenyboppers some Flesh For Fantasy. Damn good for a man who turns 60 this year.
Idol hit the flat notes of his songs perfectly. His snarly voice alternated with pure tenor. I would think his vocal chords would be destroyed with all the Rebel Yelling he does. But the man is a master. He even had me Dancing With Myself.
The show was great, as are all features at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts. The Midtown Men will bring the sound of the ’60s next week. Lionel Richie performs later this month. MixFest (featuring Austin Mahone, Kaya Stewart, Alessia Cara, Bea Miller and Daya) is Oct. 17. Keep your eyes on the Tobin calendar for upcoming shows.
(How many song titles did you find? Here’s the hits in the order they were performed: Postcards From the Past, Cradle Of Love, Can’t Break Me Down, Dancing With Myself, Flesh For Fantasy, Save Me Now, Ready Steady Go, Sweet Sixteen, Eyes Without A Face, Whiskey And Pills, Rebel Yell, White Wedding, Mony Mony)
*Top image: Billy Idol snarls from a fan’s T-shirt. Photo by Don Mathis.