Friday, May 29, 2015

Billy Idol at Pier 97

William Michael Albert Broad, better known as Billy Idol, was born in Stanmore, England, and became part of the local punk rock scene in 1977, first in Chelsea and then in Generation X. Launching a solo career, he relocated to New York in 1981, and two years later, his blond spiky hair, leather jacket and curled sneer became prime fodder for MTV. Idol released his eighth studio album, Kings & Queens of the Underground, in October 2014. Billy Idol's self-penned autobiography, Dancing With Myself, also was released on October 7, 2014.

Now just a few months from his 60th birthday, at Pier 97 tonight Billy Idol's facial features looked a bit weathered and leathered, but he rocked like a young man. (Never mind that he showed off a six-pack when he removed his shirt later in the performance.) Yet beyond his iconic look, a listener could not overlook that he sang very, very well, seemingly a direct descendant of the late Jim Morrison's deep, masculine tone. His longtime guitarist, Steve Stevens, had many moments to shine, including an extended solo when all the other musicians left the stage. Steven's rampaging leads charged the songs like turbo fuel. The sole but significant drawback of the performance was that Idol's newer catalog of songs just was not as gripping as his 1980s material. Idol's many wardrobe changes and his compelling stage aura could not mask that much of the selections, although well sung and performed, was tepid filler. Idol performed an impressive take on the Doors' "L.A. Woman," thanks to Idol's powerful vocals. At the end of the night, however, the most memorable songs were the electrified renditions of "Rebel Yell", "Dancing with Myself", "White Wedding", "Mony, Mony" and "Eyes without a Face." Idol proved that he is still one of rock's best singers and performers, but is in want of new higher-grade songs.

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