Billy Idol at Pechanga Resort & Casino

Concert review by JD Alvarez

BI COVERIt was another beautiful night at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California. It was as if the stars had aligned perfectly for a launch of a tour. The casino was bustling with the sound of slot machines and elevator music. That was about to change, definitely for the better. It was very noticeable that their Concert Hall was about to be filled to capacity. The concertgoers were lining up well before the doors opened.

The crowd was young and old, and noticeably…. very female. There were even a few dressed in wedding outfits. Ask any of those brides, and they would tell you in a heartbeat that they were there to see the former Generation X, blonde haired, blue eyed Adonis who still wears that infectious whiplash smile.

Born, William Michael Albert Broad; we best know him as Billy Idol. This iconic Rock Star who helped launch the Mtv generation, has come a long way in his battles with himself, and a near fatal motorcycle accident. These days, it seems like Billy is now having the time of his life. Idol may be a little older, but with that age comes the wisdom that has eluded many artists. Idol did what many strive to do, but rarely succeed in. He has surrounded himself with gifted musiscians that compliment his voice, and style.

BI12The bands lineup includes Stephen McGrath (bass), Derek Sherinian (keys) and Erik Eldenius (drums). On rhythm guitar, there’s Billy Morrison… who just happened to wear the coolest Sigue Sigue Sputnik T-Shirt during the show. Despite the many incarnations of Billy’s band, the one constant that has always branded that unique sound is guitarist extraordinaire, Steve Stevens.

As the band took the stage, the Concert Hall erupted with the sound of screaming fans. I have been covering bands for the greater part of two decades. Honestly, I have never seen grown women act so googlie-eyed and cartoon-crazy over an artist like they did for Billy. It was as if it was the second coming of Elvis, the Beatles and Nirvana all rolled into one.

Finally, Idol took his first step on the stage. He immediately took command of the crowd as he led them into a good mix of Gen X tunes along with his personal catalogue. He opened with Ready Steady Go, then the crowd lost their proverbial minds as he segwayed into Dancing With Myself, then Do Not Stand In The Shadows.

It seemed like everyone in the house was 16 again and transported back to 1980, as if we were in a John Hughes movie. With that smile, and abs that made him an 80’s poster child, one can say his presence transcends time. What stands out in his performance is that Idol brings an attitude that captures the fervor of early punk icons The Damned and Sex Pistols. Something you just can’t lip sync or fake in any way.

BI30The show was so ruckus that during Sweet 16, I saw a grown woman in tears while pounding on her chest as if she was Celine Dion, and she just saw Leonardo DiCaprio. Shortly after that, the band left the stage so Steven’s could do a guitar solo, which included Spanish style classical guitar riffs. No pun intended, but his performance was absolutely electric! It would have even been given the nod of approval by Guitar Hero’s Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine and Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction.

Concertgoers were mesmerized by the musicians that Idol has assembled. That, and his strong and distinguished voice which has now matured very well. The crowd got to hear the hits they came for. Songs like Eyes Without A Face, Flesh For Fantasy, Blue Highway, a very Ramones-esque and high energy performance of Rebel Yell and not to mention his cover of The Door’s classic L.A. Woman. If that wasn’t enough, the crowd was treated to a two song encore which featured uber-hit White Wedding and the Tommy James & The Shondells classic, Mony Mony.

BF2The crowd got what they came for, a kick-ass show! The only songs missing from his catalogue of hits were Prodigal Blues, Cradle of Love, and Hot In The City. Then again, the lights came up seconds after the encore. So Billy may not have had the chance to round out his complete arsenal of hits.

Billy proved one thing to everyone in the Concert Hall that night. That is, Rock Stars may come and go… but Idols live forever! Needless to say, it was a very good night for music in Temecula.

You can catch Billy on his US Summer Tour everywhere USA. Go to www.billyidol.net to see when he’ll be in your neck of the woods. You can also catch up on what he’s been up to by going to his social media pages on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

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