Review: Punk rocker Billy Idol pumps up Wolf Trap crowd
Veteran musician and reviewer Cornelius Crimple began his...
VIENNA, Va., June 21, 2013 — Billy Idol’s transformation from angry punk rocker back in the late 1970s to beloved pop culture icon of today was an often-reckless journey with a happy ending, cemented by his humorous cameo in “The Wedding Singer” back in 1998.
During the evolution, he managed to amass a decent supply of hits and fans along the way, all witnessed last night as he performed to a near capacity crowd at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center.
Still a rebel after three decades of mainstreaming, his snarl and charm made it impossible to not appreciate a man built for the MTV Generation.
As he growled through every one of his hit songs such as “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding,” they must have jogged the memories of fans that watched him on the music video cable channel during its inception.
This night’s retrospective offered vintage Idol and plucked ditties from his Generation X years (including “Ready Steady Go” and “Love Like Fire”), the new wave years (including “Cradle of Love” and “Eyes Without a Face”) and, the times when he borrowed a hit from the annals of rock history (including Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Mony Mony”).
Still displaying the body of a 20 year old, despite his 57 years of hard-core existence, he enthusiastically bounced around on stage, showed off his chest and engaged the audience throughout the one hour and forty-five minute set.
His patented antics contained a generous supply of fist pumping, numerous crotch grabs, liberal amounts of snarling, an occasional nipple twist and dropping a variety of F-bombs.
This X-rated Tom Jones had the female fans screaming all night and the middle aged men looking for a rest home.
Backed by a band that looked bred from a biker bar, he had a wall of sound to howl over that made songs such as “Dancing With Myself,” “Flesh for Fantasy” and The Doors “L.A. Woman” (for the evening it was Virginia Woman) come to life.
His co-star all evening was a man frozen in the 1980s Los Angeles glam metal scene, lead guitarist Steve Stevens.
I wouldn’t exactly mention Mr. Stevens, Idol’s long time collaborator, in the same breath as Clapton, Page and Hendrix but I appreciated his tasty, recognizable, crunchy licks in every song.
I could have done without the lengthy, guitar solo spotlight, he was a walking guitar solo most every song.
During the musical interlude, his fingers furiously plucking flamenco inspired concoction with a pinch of Led Zeppelin thrown in and he certainly had the audience entranced.
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