Billy Idol, Stubb's, July 8

Live Shots

Live Shots
Photo By John Anderson

Billy Idol

Stubb's, July 8

Remember where you were in '82, the year "White Wedding" came out? Ron 'n' Nancy were in the White House (Dubya Sr. & Babs nearby), Charles 'n' Diana were in Buckingham Palace (or wherever), and Luke 'n' Laura were on General Hospital (allowing Rick "Dr. Noah Drake" Springfield his fair share of closeups). The Go-Go's had the beat, Devo was cracking that whip, and the Rolling Stones were "Waiting on a Friend." Billy 'n' Steve, meanwhile, were just getting down to writing "Rebel Yell." Nearly 20 years later, Idol and elfin guitarist Stevens are back together, packing Stubb's big back yard with a teeming throng that had Uncle Willie's posse beat by a picnic or two. What year is it again? The sweaty baby boomer with an enormous belly yelling for "More, more, more" in the venue's trailer park "beer garden" probably hasn't bought a new album since the soundtrack to Arthur. Eighties college gal topples off a crushed metal chair nearby, after one drink too many; she hasn't had a new 'do since Molly Ringwald got her braces off. As for 45-year-old Billy Idol, a raised fist and curled lip are still the franchise. "Austin!" he sneers, after opener "Cradle of Love" and Stevens' leaping windmill fest, "Dancing With Myself." "Nice to be here -- thanks." The evening's forecast calls for a 20% chance of bras and underwear, so Idol bravely perseveres through the brief downpour, "Flesh for Fantasy" almost as steamy as a Victoria's Secret window display. "Here's a song we sorta stole from Simple Minds," announces the reconstructed rocker as his fourpiece struggles with "Don't You (Forget About Me)." Brilliant. Breakfast Clubber John Hughes is due for a revival. Don't forget about "Pretty in Pink" or OMD's "If You Leave." Instead, there's new material: fist-waver "Walk the Monster" and midtempo fist-twirler "I Don't Think So." No comeback is complete without taping VH1's Storytellers, so what better way to start off a 35-minute acoustic set than "White Wedding"? Doing his best Elvis, Idol gives his flagging fists a rest during "Sweet Sixteen," "To Be a Lover," "Don't Need a Gun" and "Eyes Without a Face," the VH1 version. Isn't Crocodile Hunter on right now? Or Crocodile Dundee? "Blue Highway" marks the return of the bass drum and Steven's you-ain't-seen-nuthin'-yet BTO attack, while Gen X's "Ready Steady Go" is a reminder that Idol once peroxided his spikey head for a reason. By now, the bacchanalia is in full Roman swing, just in time for 75-minute set-ending fist-clencher "Rebel Yell," and encores "Mony Mony" and "L.A. Woman." The squirrels are going nuts. Idol sure gives good Jim Morrison. When the music's over, turn out the light.

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