Live Review: Billy Idol Smolders on Summer Tour

Published on June 10th, 2013

_MG_5301Billy Idol performs live on June 9, 2013 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at the Sands Event Center

BETHLEHEM, P.A. – Thirty years ago, English punk sensation Billy Idol was riding high on the charts with the success of ‘Rebel Yell’, an album which turned him into a veritable worldwide superstar.

In concert on Sunday night, Idol was riding high again; this time center stage standing atop a pair of sound monitors with the famous snarl on his face telling the whole story: when it comes to rock royalty, he occupies a league of his own.

He pumped his fist in the air and growled life into the chorus “Ready, Steady, Go”. Moments later, reliable axeman Steve Stevens dove into the signature melodic guitar riff of “Dancing with Myself” as Idol bolted for the edge of the stage to serenade the lucky fans gathered up front.

He wore a fully customized leather jacket, his peroxide-blonde hair still the same, the attitude unmistakable. His look is constantly imitated, but never duplicated.

Next, the singer reduced his clothing and locked himself in a trance on stage as the throbbing bass line of “Flesh for Fantasy” emerged slowly but steadily through the speakers. The infectious beat was dabbled with for nearly a minute before he sang the first lyric, sending the crowd into a roar.

The whole thing seems like a dream sequence.

At this point in the show, it is completely acceptable to ask the person jumping and screaming next to you if the current year is 1985.

But it’s not a test, ladies and gentlemen, it’s just Billy Idol.

Many artists attempt to act and appear like their younger selves on stage; Billy idol just is.

He has lost none of his zeal for performing. At times, merely standing next to his longtime guitarist was enough to send him into a frenzy of air guitar.

“I want to thank all of you for making my life so f*#king great,” he said as he wrapped his arm around Stevens. “And I want to thank Steve Stevens for making my life so f*#king great.”

Idol was serious about his appreciation, frequently gazing into the eyes of his fans as he delivered the lyrics they knew so well. At one point, he even cut a verse short after spotting a guitar pick on the stage and deciding the crowd needed to have it.

The Billy Idol experience has not lost any of its thrill to the passage of time. Steve Stevens gets extra points for leaping out of the shadows to deliver an absolutely blistering solo to “Eyes Without a Face”.

And Billy? Well, he gets all the points because he’s Billy Idol.

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