What’s better than the sound of rock and roll music and catchy familiar lyrics? Rock and roll music with a British accent, of course! Last night at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, Billy Idol proved to an almost full house that he is the Peter Pan of rock and roll. With his iconic platinum blonde spiked hair, rock solid abs, ripped arms, and unlimited energy, he looked barely a day passed 25, and definitely didn’t look or sound like he is 57! Starting off the show with “Ready Steady Go” and “Dancing with Myself” from his punk rock days with Generation X, he had everyone in the audience—young and old—on their feet, dancing, and signing along with him. It was a great start to an amazing, fist pumping, shrill-cat-whistling-in-approval, night!
The night started off to not such a good start though, with opener Cat Power. Her set was a big disappointment. I was psyched and ready to hear her amazing voice and range live for the first time, but her entire set was just agonizing. Power and her band mates spent the first six songs trying to get the audio on her mic at a correct level and their amps functioning. Although I could hear the amazing range in her voice that is evident in her recorded music, I couldn’t make out any of the words she sang and couldn’t understand anything she said to introduce the songs. She also limped around on the stage as if she was injured. She spent the majority of her set staring at the lights, or the side of the stage, and didn’t make eye contact with the audience at all. I have to say though that she seemed like she was really sick, coughing and nursing a cup of tea, so maybe that was the problem?
Thank goodness her performance was not a foreshadowing of the rest of the night! Billy Idol’s performance was so amazing, so fantastic, so thrill inducing that 2 minutes after he appeared on stage, the previous painful set was a distant memory. He kept the crowd on their feet, clapping, and cheering with popular favorites like “Sweet Sixteen,” “Eyes Without a Face,” “Flesh for Fantasy,” and for those true fans, the less familiar “Pumping on Steel,” and “Blue Highway.” He played several new songs, “Ghosts” and “Love and Glory.” I’m hoping that Love and Glory will make it into his recently confirmed, upcoming new album—his first new album in eight years!
Billy showed off the range of his voice that can go from wild rock yell, a snarl, to a smooth ballad with a drop of a dime! He worked the crowd like the pro that he is, throwing out drum sticks and Frisbees and guitar picks into the audience, and driving the woman wild with that boyish grin of his. The band included drummer Eric Eldenius, rhythm guitarist Billy Morrison, bass guitarist Stephen McGrath, keyboardist Derek Sherinian, and guitarist Steve Stevens, who gave a stellar performance with an almost 5 minute long guitar solo that just had me mesmerized with each chord.
Billy ended the 2 hour show with a bang—belting out “Rebel Yell” and getting the crowd fist pumping and signing along. Then he came back for the encore, and finished up with his iconic “White Wedding” and “Mony Mony.” My only disappointment for the night was that he didn’t play “To Be a Lover” and “Hot in the City.”
Billy’s performance last night still has me pumped up, and my voice is hoarse from the yelling, cheering, and singing, but I can’t wait for the new album to come out because that means not only new music, but most likely another tour and another chance for me to rock out with this legendary performer.
Billy Idol with Cat Power played one night only on June 20, 2013 at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and Information: Call (877) 965-3872, or check their calendar of events.