Billy Idol @ The Observatory – 02/22/2015
Rock superstar Billy Idol played the final night of his Kings & Queens of the Underground US Tour to a SOLD OUT crowd at The Observatory in Santa Ana on Sunday night February 22. Out in support of his October 2014 release Kings & Queens of the Underground, Idol also played two SOLD OUT shows in Los Angeles earlier in the week proving that the MTV icon is still the king of punk infused glam-rock. Idol and his bandmates delivered a powerful 2hr set complete with all the hits and a few surprises.
Oklahoma rockers Broncho opened the show and took the stage promptly at 8:00pm. The five piece, three guitar band delivered 30 minutes of punk based, guitar driven rock that had the standing room only crowd moving about and pumping fists. Shortly after 9:00pm the lights dimmed and the crowd got LOUD as the Billy Idol band took the stage and opened the show with a new song “Postcards from the Past” as Billy Idol appeared and took center stage with his platinum blond spiked hair and trademark snarl. Dressed in Black leather, Idol appeared ageless as he walked the small stage pumping his fist but more impressive than his looks was that his voice sounded flawless.
The band wasted no time in between songs and went into “Cradle of Love” as the energetic crowd never stopped moving from start to finish. It’s hard to mention the name Billy Idol without also mentioning lead guitarist Steve Stevens . . . Stevens and Idol together are one of rock n roll’s premier dynamic duos. Stevens with his big-hair, glam themed outfit and flamboyant guitars delivered a scorching display of guitar mastery song after song. Stevens’s axemate, rhythm guitarist Billy Morrison is no slouch on guitar himself as he gave his guitar strings a workout alongside Stevens. The rhythm section completed the band with long time Idol bass player Stephen McGrath and drummer Erik Eldenius.
Prior to the bands cover of Generation X’s “Ready Steady Go” Idol introduced Noodles (Kevin Wasserman) guitarist for The Offspring as he strapped on a six-string and jammed out with the band during this punk classic. From here on out it was pretty much hit after hit . . . The energy level of the crowd seemed to increase tremendously during “Eyes Without a Face” then Idol demonstrated his guitar skills during The Doors classic “LA Woman”. Stevens then took the spotlight for a 10 minute guitar solo that included everything from flamenco type riffs to Led Zeppelin riffs. A live Billy Idol show just wouldn’t be the same without Stevens on guitar!
Throughout the show Idol showed his dedication to his fans by reaching out to the front row and signing photos, records and even a leather jacket. The set ended with a shirtless Billy Idol (definitely not looking 60 yrs old) delivering his biggest hit “Rebel Yell” and the band left the stage only to return for “White Wedding” then a kickass drum solo and ending the night and the tour with and R-rated version of “Mony Mony”.
Billy Idol successfully architected a high energy set with every element of his legacy spot on with no signs of slowing down. There was surely not one member of the audience dancing with themselves as the entire Observatory was moving and fist pumping the entire night. Billy Idol heads to Australia in March then off to Europe for the summer festivals.
Billy Idol Set List:
Postcards from the Past | Cradle of Love | Can’t Break Me Down | Dancing With Myself | Flesh for Fantasy | Save Me Now | Ready Steady Go (Generation X song) | Sweet Sixteen | Eyes Without a Face | L.A. Woman (The Doors cover) | Interlude (Steve Stevens Guitar Solo) | King Rocker (Generation X song) | Whiskey and Pills | Blue Highway | Rebel Yell
Encore: White Wedding | Drum Solo | Mony Mony (Tommy James & the Shondells cover) | Band Introduction