It was a hot and steamy Friday afternoon and we were off to the Riverstage to see rock n roll legend, Billy Idol. Punk rock idol from his band Generation X, he successfully made the transition to the world of popular music as a solo artist, and has a stack of hits that go back many decades. 1982 was his debut album, 38 years later, what has Billy got?
We copped the traffic on the way up and only caught the last of the set from The Kids. Hard, fast, great punk rock, and played at breakneck speed. These Sydney kids are straight out of the youth punk guidebook – Short, loud, fast, and fun- you will hear more from The Kids.
The Delta Riggs were next on stage, the jingle jangle psychedelic rock had the the keen ones up and moving and grooving. The sound was filing in as the crowd was, the guitar rock sound bouncing along nicely. Nice, tight, great playing.
Billy started his journey with amazing guitarist Steve Stevens, popular with all the fans. Billy came out with one of his hits straight away, ‘Cradle of Love’, and from the first note he was on the mark with “Elvis-like” depth in his voice. Then the hits kept coming, with the old Generation X song ‘Dancing With Myself’, once again not a note out of place. Billy then got the bod out for the song ‘Flesh for Fantasy’, with many ladies screaming as the soon to be 65 year old showed off his pretty tidy rig. Looks like Billy works out!
Billy did a tribute to his father with ‘Ghosts in My Guitar’, and he also gave all the sales of merchandise to the bushfire appeal from the night, as well as giving the volunteer fire fighter free tickets. Good to see him giving back.
Guitarist Steve Stevens was amazing. He is a true master of the guitar, and has been with Billy Idol since the start. Billy gave Stevens plenty of solo time on stage to display his skills, and the crowd just loved it. If you are a guitar fan, Stevens performance was a reason to go on its own. The cover of ‘LA Woman’ from The Doors was great with Billy hitting vocal notes, and Stevens answering back with crazy riffs.
The last song of the main set was ‘Rebel Yell’ and the whole of the Riverstage were singing, and maybe screaming the chorus. They went back, and then Stevens and Idol came out to do an acoustic version of ‘White Wedding’ which then morphed into the full electric version once the rest of the band hit the stage. Billy Idol is one smooth performer, seamlessly and perfectly transitioning between songs, and his has a great stage presence. Everyone wanted “More, more more…”
Images (C) Simone Gorman-Clark