‘Bless God for Amoeba!’ screamed Billy Idol at the end of his short set….Once again, full house at Los Angeles’ number one record store, but what would you expect? Billy Idol was in the house and he even performed, yeah performed before signing his latest album ‘Kings & Queens of the Underground’ freshly released… an event as he hadn’t put out anything in the world for a decade!
The crowd was definitively interesting-looking, with lots of punk and goths and other extreme-dfreoutfit-wearing guys and gals, a very colorful crowd full of nose-ring-white-vinyl-mini-skirt pin-ups, and rainbow-mohawks-tattoo-covered middle-age guys… waiting on line for an hour, I was entertained by this unconventional and diverse people…
Billy played his diva side a little bit, in the sense that he took him a few extra minutes to get on stage, but the rest of the evening certainly proved he was not the aloof and snob type. His band spent some time to get the right sound level during the soundcheck, and the performance was mostly acoustic, not ultra loud but as energetic as you can imagine, coming from Mr. Idol… He can’t really carry the high notes anymore, and the voice is more gravelling and rough than before, as if he had smoked a ton of cigarettes before coming to the show, but that face, that spiky blonde hair, that tough look that could instantaneously kill you, are all the marks of an iconic rock star,…people, old and young, packed in the store were obviously big fans so they were responding at each of his moves with enthusiasm and I would even say that most of them were just here to see him do the funny curling thing he does with his lips, this is Billy-Idol signature, right there!
Billy Idol is beyond recognizable and I was aware I was looking at a legend, part punk rebel, part dance floor hero, part rock’ n’ roll decadence… after all, last time I saw him he was singing at Shepard Fairey’s celebration of Sid Vicious, and it fit him like a glove.
The show was short and fast, only four songs, ‘White Wedding’, A generation X song, ‘Kiss Me Deadly’, a new song, and ‘In The Midnight Hour (Rebel Yell)’, but the old tunes sounded fresh, with Billy screaming (he still can) throwing his fist in the air, looking like the rocking beast boiling on stage he has always been in my memory… the show sounded like a time machine, as I remember watching these badass videos on MTV… was it in the 80s, this long ago? I was expecting ‘Dancing with Myself’ but it didn’t come, and soon he was behind the signing table after a short break… I stayed for a little bit till Amoeba employees told all the people who were trying to take pictures, to move away… They had announced there would not allow any pictures at the signing, and I understand this as the line was very long… Nevertheless I saw Billy jump around the table to pose with a guy in a wheelchair, and hug a little boy while giving him the giant poster board that Amoeba employees had installed around the table… Nice gesture!
His new album which is announced as ‘full of thumping, cinematic songs about sin, redemption and the love of rock’n’roll, coincides with the release of his autobiography, ‘Dancing with Myself’, and a world tour is in preparation for 2014-2015….At 59, Billy Idol is back in full force!
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