There isn’t much that can be said about punk rock legend Billy Idol that hasn’t been said before. Every time we are treated to a tour, Sydney erupts into an intense party of lost inhibitions and steamy Rock’n’Roll indulgence. Idol brings an event that is like no other and the long, hard 5 year wait has been worth it. What makes this tour even more special is knowing that Idol is donating the proceeds from his merchandise stand to our current and traumatic bushfire situation.
Sydney’s fun and adventurous side is on display as the crowd waits patiently in 35’C heat for the Hordern doors to open, desperate to get a coveted spot in front of the stage. There are quite a few peroxide hairdo’s, some lace, leather and even some ‘White Wedding’ dress ups. Many devotees have followed this tour across Australia. As the air fills with unabashed hedonism, security and the medics readied themselves, knowing the potential for cheek and craziness was very high.
We had a cracking support act with punk rockers ‘The Kids’ and then some awesome ‘The Delta Riggs’ tearing up the stage, providing some great music and theatrics, preparing the crowd for the feast of songs that were yet to come. Then came the moment, looking fit and fantastic, the sexy band make it on stage to rapturous applause and whistles. It’s time to let loose and I can see there will be much swooning from the frisky audience as Idol, himself, struts across the stage like a living aphrodisiac, looking as sensual and fetching as ever.
With that famous sneer, ‘Cradle Of Love’ kicks off our evening and whips us into a frenzy. ‘Dancing With Myself’ elevates the madness and a surge of excitement can be felt as the fans from behind attempt to get closer. As we pack within the first few metres of the stage, the throng is crammed with just as many men, as it is women. Where else would you rather be on a hot Saturday night than carousing with the ever delectable Idol, who is already flashing some skin before the seductive live version of ‘Flesh For Fantasy’ continues to titillate. Lord, am I having hot flashes or is this just a side effect of this saucy tune’s arrangement? I do enjoy hearing this live. As the sweat slowly runs down our backs, we are thankful a friend brought a fan to cool us down throughout the night.
Idol and Stevens are superb, their performance enhanced by the talents of Billy Morrison, Stephen McGrath, Paul Trudeau and Eric Eldenius. Having played together for years, they have perfected the Idol/Stevens sound. Smooth and polished, I cannot pick any faults.
We get ‘Can’t Break Me Down’ next and then the racy ‘Scream (All Night Long)’, which causes much flustering from the fans. I notice security having to get involved in some overly enthusiastic altercations throughout the night. I would hate to be turfed out and miss out on what was still yet to come at a gig like this!
The lovely ‘Ghosts In My Guitar’, dedicated to Idol’s dearly departed father, William, makes the set list tonight, as does another favourite ‘Eyes Without A Face’ which is quite stunning live. These songs are just given so many more layers and shine in concert. They are timeless and I love the way newer songs seamlessly blend with the classics.
I also love Idol’s various costume changes. We are even treated to a change on stage, as some eagle eyed worshippers record the moment as a permanent memo on their phones. But what do you expect? Skin and sweat, crossed with Rock’n’Roll, is de rigueur, and that is one thing that will never change.
Idol and band then step out for a quick break as guitar maestro, Steve Stevens, regales us with a brilliant guitar solo which includes ‘Over The Hills’. It’s always a delight to see Stevens in his domain as he is such a remarkable talent, having gifted us with some of the most memorable and instantly recognisable guitar riffs in music history. His mastery being recorded not just by fans but also by his lovely wife, Josie, who appeared totally smitten by her hubby’s solo efforts.
We catch our breath before ‘Soul Standing By’ and some Generation X songs ‘Your Generation’ and ‘Ready Steady Go’ thrill and set the tone for more mayhem. It’s all building with ‘Blue Highway’ until anthem ‘Rebel Yell’ begins with yet another familiar intro. The Hordern just loses it and it really is bedlam everywhere you look. Dancing, chanting and slamming, Sydney is jumping and fist pumping ‘more, more, more’, and, for those of us who still have it, much hair is flying in all directions! Oh boy, what a way to finish our main set! As noise and applause fills the venue, this crowd is not moving, begging Idol and band to give us whatever they have left in this upcoming encore.
Being the last night of this Australian tour, we are spoiled. Stevens teases with the beginnings of another rock anthem ‘White Wedding’ until he and Idol launch into full effect, that seductive bass riff kicking in and once again it’s on… steam is rising and we are all covered in total body sweat. Then Eldenius surprises us with an unexpected drum solo and we are gifted another song, the very popular cover of ‘Mony, Mony’ finishing us off for this raucous Saturday night. This is life right here, music and great company, with Idol and Sydney fusing together like long lost friends. Nights like these create life long memories.
Far from ready to go home, beaming fans scattered out of the Hordern into the various pubs and restaurants that could be heard playing Idol songs in the background. As we cool down with a cold drink, we reflect on how fortunate we are to have grown up in the Idol era. Since the glory days of Countdown, MTV, and some years before, he has always been there, dominating the charts, oozing natural sex appeal and giving us exactly what we needed: pure unadulterated Rock’n’Roll pleasure! As long as there are artists like Billy Idol out there, keeping the Rock’n’Roll spirit alive, we will keep supporting them and chanting more, more, more!
© MARINA KNEZEVIC 2020. All rights reserved.
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