Billy Idol came to Treasure Island Casino & Resort in Welch, Minnesota and held the sold out Event Center in the palm of his hand from the minute he took the stage. With a amazing band behind him, he blazed though a thirteen-song set that was loaded with iconic hits that had the crowd on their feet and singing every word.
Billy Idol, born William Michael Albert Broad, was born in 1955 in England. His musical journey started as a guitarist for the band Chelsea but he quickly left the band and formed Generation X. They based themselves in punk but fused influences of The Beatles and Rolling Stones to formulate a sense of pop in their sound. They released three records before Idol moved to New York in 1981 and struck out as a solo artist. The charismatic singer teamed up with a flamboyant guitarist, Steve Stevens, and together they launched the self-titled album in 1982. Decades later the duo still have the magic, and songs, that ignites a room from the opening note.
The show opened with “Cradle Of Love” from ‘Charmed Life’, which was released in 1990. That got the crowd instantly moving and singing but that was further amplified when the Generation X song, “Dancing With Myself, consumed every soul within ear shot of the songs infectious melody and hook. The hits continued with “Flesh For Fantasy” and the crowd was more than willing to provide a massive backing vocal to what was coming off the stage.
Billy Idol released an album in 2014 called ‘Kings & Queens Of The Underground’ which was his first album of new material since 2005. He took some time to talk about the record and how much his father, who had passed away, loved the album. He took the opportunity to play “Can’t Break Me Down” and “Ghosts In My Guitar” from the album and despite the songs not being from the heyday of the eighties, both got a great response.
Although it’s difficult not to be absorbed by the presence of Idol and Steve Stevens, the rest of the band that filled out the sound were fantastic. Billy Morrison (guitar), Stephen McGrath (bass), Erik Eldenius (drums) and Paul Trudeau (keyboards, guitars) provided the foundation. This entire show was built on music and performance. There wasn’t any special lighting, smoke machines, or elaborate screens behind the band. It was six musicians having fun and letting the songs be the entire focus. Stevens contributed a solo section with “Dementia” and he included some excerpts of “Over The Hills and Far Away,” Stairway To Heaven,” and the “Top Gun Anthem” he provided for the movie in 1986.
The set was a nostalgia head-trip with “Eyes Without A Face,” “Don’t Need A Gun,” and The Doors cover of “L.A. Woman.” Added for good measure was another Generation X song, “Your Generation” which was followed by “Blue Highway.” It didn’t take more than a second into the song “Rebel Yell” that fists were being thrown in the air. It’s not enough to say that the song simply blew the doors off the hinges and that fans were trying to push down the aisles to get closer to the stage. The atmosphere in the room was toxic with rock-n-roll and it was a moment where the music just consumed me. You are not just listening to the music anymore, your part of it. The same can be said with the encore “White Wedding,” If there was ever a doubt or you forgot just how awesome, and how big, that song was, hearing it live in all its glory was an instant rush of memories restoring the songs importance in rock radio history. It was the epic moment of the night as the band and the fans became one and sang that song with every ounce of voice they had.
Billy Idol put on a great show. He sounded fantastic and his charm and wit between the songs kept things really fun. He looked great and he still knows what it takes to put on a show. His catalog is based on a brilliant fusion of rock, pop, and punk that stretches across multiple music boundaries. This show was further evidence of his legacy in rock music history and hopefully he continues to add to it.