The Birmingham Mail said, “Idol lacks Cliff Richard’s ability to communicate as one with an audience”.
Well if that ain’t just the most ludicrous fucking thing you’ve heard all year.
I guess that’s just Birmingham for you.
Bursting from the darkness like an Elvis from hell, the booted, buckled, zipped and leather clad larger-than-life Idol erupted into the spotlight to deafening cheers and thunderous applause.
With his peroxide barnet primped to perfection, he postured himself at the very edge of the stage to soak up the adulation with open and beckoning arms. You could see old father time has been miraculously good to him considering all the booze, drugs and fucking this man has been embroiled in (read his fabulous new autobiography, Dancing With Myself). If you were one of the lucky fans in the front row you could’ve almost licked his boots, and there were many there who would’ve gladly done just that.
Appropriately sold-out for this long awaited show, the swollen sea of people packed into the Apollo to witness Idol live seemed to represent every walk of life. People from their young teens to over-seventies were absolutely lapping it up. Billy Idol, in true showboating overdrive, gave his all to satisfy his adoring crowd.
Costume changes, trademark sneers, defiant fist clenches are what the people wanted and it’s exactly what he gave them, and then some.
From the image on the new album sleeve to the fresh-faced young punk in Generation X, every ‘era’ of Idol’s career seemed to be represented on a t shirt somewhere in this historic venue and he did his damnedest to slake the audience’s thirst with a blistering mixed set.
Idol once said, “If I want to slide any day, I could do it” and slide he did with a look back at some Generation X rockers. Idol classics such as ‘Eyes Without A Face’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ peppered the show like shotgun spray. Tracks from the new album, Kings and Queens of the Underground stitched old and new together seamlessly.
Did the crowd go wild? Yes the crowd went f’ing wild, especially when Steve Stevens began teasing the intro to ‘White Wedding’. The place erupted, with the entire house singing along.
With long time guitar cohorts Steve Stevens to his right and Billy Morrison to his left, Idol couldn’t have put a foot wrong. Stephen McGrath on bass, Erik Eldenius on drums and Paul Trudeau on keyboard brought up the rear whilst Billy bounced between them like a pinball in hyperdrive.
Amidst the applause and the whoops and the cries for more, I could be wrong, but I’m sure I heard Idol say:
“See you next year!”
Photos by Carl Byron Batson. Not to be reproduced without express prior permisson.
Photographer, published poet, former party animal, body builder, grave robber
to the stars and renowned chainsaw juggler, Carl can often be spotted on his
Harley Davidson pretending to be in Terminator 2. He is also frequently seen in
the press pits of old London town, camera in hand, avoiding being hit by bottles
of wee and crippling his opposition with secret Kung Fu moves.