Friday 13 May 2016…
An impromptu ticket purchase led to a great evening for Headbangerwoman.com
Billy Idol is in residence at House of Blues Las Vegas through most of 2016 and while many would label 80’s pop/rock stars “has beens” or “sell outs”, we prefer to believe that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” and after consuming a piece of cake the size of a house and realizing that Friday 13th is indeed lucky for taste testing, we decided to double or bust and headed on down to the House of Blues, in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, to watch the artist formerly known as William Broad.
Entry was swift, even considering the security checks. Drinks were ridiculously, yet expectedly expensive, but equally delicious and a capacity of 2,000 give or take, was easily reached.
An obnoxious number of very well dressed, beyond middle-aged blokes, accompanied by ridiculously good-looking and obviously far younger women, adorned the reserved seating areas. The women giggled and obsessively ruffled their hair. The men were essentially ignored, as they tried to suck in the portly midriffs hidden beneath their cologne soaked Prada shirts. It was quite vile. Rock shows are for the fans, or at least they should be. Not for men with far too much money and zero personality, who need to parade women they are quite obviously not in relationships with to make themselves look good. It doesn’t work and the cake we ate earlier is starting to give us a nasty taste in our mouths. Fuck off back to the golf green, wankers.
That aside…. As the curtain rose and the band hit the stage, the fan based crowd showed their considerable appreciation. Idol was last to appear and didn’t look unlike the 80’s punk he was there to portray. A touch portly and in need of better fitting, less tailored “punk” pants perhaps… but definitely Idol.
It was immediately obvious that slower songs seem to retard Idols live voice. Only when he is belting out songs does his ability to really sing actually shine through. Ballads are; let’s just say, less becoming of this punk icon.
Another observation made through the set was that Idol, although he has spent his entire life working with and around music and other musicians, has absolutely ZERO rhythm. Momentarily as he played the tambourine for a song he seemed to be keeping time, but the rest of the one hour and forty minute set he would jiggle and sidestep in a manner that was more out of time in 2016 than 1800’s Victorian pantaloons… Very fucking weird. Watch !!
Long time Idol cohort and guitarist Steve Stevens was the stage theatrics and visual performance saviour, playing his guitar behind his head, pulling funky strutting moves and hitting his knees to wow the audience. All without missing a beat and with his 80’s hair still perfectly teased. His solo, which consisted of Led Zeppelin classics was pretty fucking stunning and well worth the 95$ general admission on its own merit.
Toward the end of the set Idol’s mic and monitor appeared to fail and three times he attempted to restart the song Rebel Yell, with little success…. A friday 13th hit of bad luck perhaps? Whatever the issue the very loyal crowd sensed Idols increasing frustrations and got the man back on track, singing their lungs out so that he could hear what he needed to. The help was seriously appreciated and Idol showed sincere gratitude.
White Wedding was opened acoustically by Idol and Stevens and was mind staggeringly fabulous. Maybe a re-release for this take should be suggested? It blew the minds of those in attendance.
Boyish charm, cheeky sense of humor and signature snarl all remain intact for this 60-year-old. Washboard stomach not quite 1982 standard, but that didn’t stop the former heart-throb removing all garments from his upper body to a hearty roar from all the females (and likely a few fellas) in the audience.
Idol is definitely not a “has been” or a “sell out” and he retains his inner (just perhaps not his outer) punk.
If you were a fan in the 80’s you will undoubtedly love this show if you are lucky enough to be able to get tickets to an upcoming venue.
Just show some respect and keep your knickers on.
Hurling your grundies at musicians really does belong in 1988!
Catch a concert…. dance badly, have 80’s flashbacks and get your tits out. Idol is!
By KG Headbangerwoman May 19 2016
All photography by Karen Graham.