Armed with all the black leather in his closet, signature snarl and trademark bleached punk-hair, Idol rocked Rama on Wednesday night. 2016 marked the “White Wedding” singer’s return to Casino Rama stage for the first time in three years.
Idol showed no signs of slowing down at age 60, only pausing briefly for wardrobe changes and to take off his shirt.
The band opened with “Shock to the System”, a bold choice, before launching into a string of songs from all eras of his career ranging from new tunes such as the fist-pumper “Can’t Bring Me Down” (off Idol’s 2014 effort Kings & Queens of the Underground) right down to classic Generation X-era crowd-pleaser “Dancing With Myself”.
Idol, the man, is possessed on stage. With facial expressions that would make Linda Blair circa The Exorcist blush, he proved himself once more to be quite the ringleader. Even when the paces slows down and during weaker songs he remains in complete control, with his every move captivating the audience. His voice today is not quite what it was during it’s peak as Billy struggled with some of the higher notes but gave a commendable performance nonetheless. Idol’s energy and charisma more than made up for vocal limitations.
Idol, the band, worked as a tight and well-oiled cohesive unit after wearing decades of touring on their collective sleeves, and it shows. For far too long guitarist Steve Stevens has been an unsung hero of rock’n’roll, behind Billy Idol’s world-famous face. The raven-haired guitarist had the chance to show off his talents on multiple occasion with intimate solos spots as well as bits and pieces of Top Gun and Led Zeppelin to the delight of the crowd.
To the untrained ear, the catalogue selection would consist of somewhat obscure songs until the concert staples (save the best for last of course, of course) : “Rebel Yell”, “White Wedding”—performed acoustically in it’s first half with only Idol and Stevens before an electric finish with the full band— “Eyes Without a Face” and “Mony Mony” arrived much later in the set. The devoted fan knows that Billy played selections from new material, classic hits, and middle-day era Idol, effectively covering his entire recording career. Kicking off the show with “Shock to the System” from the underrated Cyber Punk album was pleasantly unexpected , well done Billy.
On this night two obvious favourites in the Billy Idol cannon —“Hot In The City” and “Flesh For Fantasy”— went missing from the setlist, nowhere to be seen (although the band did play Flesh the very next night in Ottawa).
The man with the perpetual sneer even found time between and during songs to sign the occasional records, book and piece of memorabilia for a some lucky fans in the first few rows.
Next time, I only ask Billy ldol to rightfully put “Flesh for Fantasy” in the setlist.
Shock to the System
Dancing With Myself (Generation X song)
Pumping on Steel
Can’t Break Me Down
Eyes Without a Face
Steve Stevens Guitar Solo – Zeppelin Solos
Don’t Need a Gun
Cradle of Love
Steve Stevens Guitar Solo
Mony Mony (Tommy James & the Shondells cover)