Live Review: Thirty Years After Rebel Yell, Idol Still Vital As Ever

Published on June 2nd, 2014

_MG_4158Billy Idol performing the first night of his 2014 Tour at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, N.J. on May 31, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – To describe Billy Idol in the year 2014, you could borrow an old lyric from one of his many familiar tunes, and the title of his forthcoming autobiography:

Well there’s nothing to lose
And there’s nothing to prove
I’ll be dancing with myself

After more than 30 years occupying the spotlight as the inimitable snarling, fist-pumping, rebellious punk rocker, Idol certainly has nothing to prove or lose.

And he was still dancing on the opening night of his world tour in Atlantic City, except with a thousand fans around to watch.

Redefining what it means to be 58 years old, Idol took to the stage like a force of nature, curling his lip and growling in the same style that immortalized him on MTV.

Fully clad in leather with the tips of his spiked hair drenched in peroxide, he looked as if he just stepped out of a time machine.

But while Idol is fortunate to be graced with the same looks and voice which earned him fame, he refuses to limit his live set to songs from that era. Including the opening “Postcards from the Past”, he included six selections from his new album, Kings and Queens of the Underground, set for release later this year.

The songs are somewhat a departure from his finely tuned punk rock stylebook.

Lyrically they show artistic and personal growth; he’s much more likely to reflect on his past (“Ghosts in My Guitar”) than to expand on his image as an untamable rock star (“Cradle of Love”).

But he hasn’t lost sight of what the fans wanted.

“Flesh for Fantasy” found the singer playfully shedding layers clothing near the drum kit before donning the first of several leather vests he would sport.

He abandoned the concept of a shirt altogether for a double-encore of “White Wedding” and “Mony Mony”, revealing an impossible physique fit for a cover of Men’s Health.

Idol’s short warmup in the United States only includes two more shows before he heads to Europe for an extended summer tour. There’s a rumor he’ll be back in the United States come fall, which would just happen to coincide with the Oct. 7 release date of his long-awaited autobiography, “Dancing with Myself”.

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