An evening with Billy Idol is how tonight's show is billed and that's exactly what's on offer, the only problem being that Mr Idol likes to start his evening's at the rather early time of 8pm, which means I miss almost the first hour! Unfortunately this includes (so I'm told) two renditions of 'White Wedding', the first sung by the crowd after the sound cut out and the second as you'd expect when the power came back on!
Having received rave reviews for his performance at Download it's perhaps no surprise that there appears to be a capacity crowd in tonight to hear Billy Idol work his way through two and a half hours of his back catalogue. Commanding the stage he has lost none of his sneer or swagger and uncannily looks exactly the same as he always has, despite advancing years. By comparison the guitarist Steve Stevens looks awful! Like a Ronnie Wood clone that's spent far too long on the tanning tables he is seldom without a cigarette. Stevens does however prove what a fine guitarist he is during a solo spot that although going on for far too long, features some excellent flamenco style guitar.
Tonight though is all about Billy Idol, having been out of the limelight for some years you could be forgiven for not remembering how many hits he had but as each one gets aired it all comes flooding back. There are a smattering of cover songs including a Randy Newman track and The Doors 'LA Woman' (covered on the 'Charmed Life' album), both of which go down nearly as well as his own songs.
There are a couple of predictable highlights in the form of the excellent 'Ready, Steady, Go' from his days with Generation X and of course, 'Rebel Yell'. A thousand women of all ages swoon as he peels off his shirt before the latter, although they recover in time to provide a raucous accompaniment to the song. The first encore brings us 'Hot In The City' and whilst rapturously received by the crowd it's really tame by todays standards and was never really that good a song in the first place! This small blip is forgotten though when we get the second Generation X song of the evening in the shape of 'Kiss Me Deadly', this song really shows the potential that the band had beyond the punk anthems.
The second encore begins with a short drum solo during which the drummer is replaced (without missing a beat) as he switches to guitar before the mother of all finales! I'd forgotten about this song but nobody else here had as the deafening roar that greets 'Mony Mony' testifies. Every member of the band gets their chance to shine on this one and there is some stunning guitar duelling between Steve Stevens and the ex – drummer! Idol plays a rather poor solo before the keyboard solo, which is rather 80's sounding and flat but at the end he too switches to guitar and with Idol joining in the whole band move to the front of the stage, all playing guitars! It's amusing, pompous and entertaining all at the same time and as they wind it up for the big finish the crowd go wild.