If you told 15 year old me that Billy Idol would still be alive, much less performing 40 years after I first heard him, I probably would have laughed at you. To us in small town Austria, he represented Punk. He was dangerous from his smirk to his perfectly spiky hair. Yet here I found myself walking into the Palace Theatre so see the man all those years later to find……..chairs? I guess the audience had aged with the artist.
The set up was simple, just Billy and Steve Stevens, his long time creative partner. “Dancing with myself” was the first song but what followed surprised me. Billy started talking about the time the song was created. Not just about the song, but also about what happened at the time. It was a fascinating experience. His storytelling is as powerful as his music in its delivery. And so the set evolved song to song. History lesson to history lesson. We got an education into the early days of punk from one of the people that were there for the beginning of the UK punk scene. From memorable quotes “When the US has a depression, the UK is fucked!” to my favorite punk moment of the show. When the drum machine was outed as “something we got on Amazon for $ 99”.
True Artists continue to evolve. They can’t stand still and rest on their laurels. Billy Idol has grown into “The Elder Statesman Of Punk”. His music continues to entertain, his stories are well worth paying attention to.
Set List: Dancing With Myself / Catch My Fall / Kiss Me Deadly / Rita Hayworth / Sweet 16 / Bitter Taste / Eyes Without A Face / Don’t Need A Gun / To Be A Lover / Rebel Yell
Encore: White Wedding