A summer solstice breeze whips around Birmingham this evening, keeping a rather sizeable queue cool. The longest day of the year brings with it Billy Idol to the city and fans snake for literally miles waiting patiently to get into the venue early.
The sold-out show is highly anticipated, seeing such a major draw in an intimate venue is not a regular occurrence and fans have snapped up the tickets quickly.
Opening the show are The Professionals, formed in 1979 by Steve Jones and Paul Cook following the demise of the Sex Pistols. Reformed in 2015, minus Jones, they are the perfect warm up for tonight’s main act. Punk roots with a rock and roll vibe has the crowd jumping along. In a show of energy, belying the bands age, the entertainment value is through the roof, Just Another Dream the highlight of an all too short set.
Billy Idol should need no introduction, but I’ll give home one anyway. The British punk rock legend who took
America by storm throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Despite a small side career in acting, Billy’s focus on his music has driven him through 40 years of stardom. The sold-out venue tonight testament to his longstanding popularity in the punk community.
Greeted by a cacophony of screams as he enters the stage, Idol has lost none of his swagger, jumping on the raised platform centre stage and kicking off with Shock to the System. He may not have the youthful vigour he once did, but he is no less the showman.
Older Generation-X song Dancing With Myself is on the setlist tonight, as Billy takes us through a full career spanning show. His cover of the Doors L.A. Woman is fantastic and demonstrates he still has the vocal range even after all this time.
It’s not just a one man band though as guitarists Steve Stevens and Billy Morrison both get their share of the limelight. Stevens the showman wields his axe behind his head as he solo’s centre stage.
Idol’s newer material slots into the set exquisitely with the old as Whiskey and Pills from his 2014 King and Queens of the Underground album nestles in between songs from 1986 and 1983. Idol’s style and song writing is unique and has helped define him as a musician.
The fans lap it up, but it’s the older material they wait with baited breath for Blue Highway is followed by Rebel Yell as the roof is blown, almost literally off the building before Billy departs for a break.
The encore, as you would expect, raises his game once more. Fan favourite White Wedding opening before Mony Mony, a Tommy James and the Shondells cover, closes it.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting any time has passed since the early 80’s tonight. Whilst Idol may not be as light on his feet as he once was, every ounce of his being is directed into a near perfect delivery of every note. Not a single person left the building disappointed tonight and long may his career continue.