Billy Idol and Steve Stevens brought their “turned on, tuned in and unplugged” tour to the Lincoln Theatre Monday night.
I had been waiting months to surprise my mom with meet and greet tickets, as Billy Idol has been her crush since she was 14. The smile on her face as she met him/ when we got our picture taken was priceless. I’m not normally one to splurge on meet and greets, but this the one exception for me. Billy and Steve were so cool, even if we only got to spend a second with them. They were true enigmas to me as a young musician and a huge fan.
The show itself was absolutely stellar.
My family had seen Billy Idol six years ago at Wolf Trap for a full band electric performance. The set was full of his best solo hits but also included several Generation X songs. It was stunning to see an artist who has been at it for years absolutely dominate the stage.
The Lincoln Theatre acoustic show proved to be very interesting and different, but ultimately Billy is a rocker and entertainer at heart.
Idol discussed his humble upbringings through fascinating stories that set the mood for each song he performed, whether it be an original or a cover of a song that influenced him.
Highlights for me were the incredibidly emotional renditions of the Gen X song “Kiss Me Deadly” and “Ghost In My Guitar” from Billy Idol’s latest album, “Kings and Queens of the Underground”. “Ghost in My Guitar” was preceded by an emotional recalling of the thoughts Idol’s dad had about him being a musician and how he came to accept it later in life. “Ghost in My Guitar” was the song playing as his father passed.
When Idol spoke of Gen X he said, “We just did punk rock – I didnt think I’d be standing here 43 years later”. Standing on stage he was, along with his trademark snarl and his loose personality, which lead to a lot of fun stories.
An acapella version of “Twent Flight Rock” by Eddie Cochran was fantastic. Two other covers happened throughout the night: “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” by The Kinks and “Shakin’ All Over” by Johnny Kidd and The Pirates.
Idol’s stage persona and natural charisma allow him to be able to do just about anything, even small movements, to energize the crowd and get them rowdy.
Steve Stevens had his shining moment with an incredible guitar solo and by telling the audience how he started playing guitar and met Billy. To people like my Dad and I, Steve is an integral part to Idol’s music. This was most noted by Idol and Stevens’ interactions and chemistry throughout the night.
Other highlights of the show included when Idol told the classic story of being at a birthday party for one of the Rolling Stones and seeing them all drinking bottles of Rebel Yell. He asked them if they would use that for a song title… when they said no he took it and ran straight to the charts. The crowd singalong for “Rebel Yell” was powerful.
Hit after hit was delivered and executed amazingly, including “Sweet Sixteen”, “Eyes Without a Face”, “Don’t Need a Gun”, “To Be a Lover” and “White Wedding”.
When all was said and done, I think everyone who was surprised by a Billy Idol “acoustic” show had their expectations blown away. Idol and Stevens are true rockers and know how to put on one hell of a show, especially in a magnificent small theatre like the Lincoln.