I know Billy Idol from a collection of hits he released in the 80’s. Songs such as “Rebel Yell”, “Dancing With Myself”, “White Wedding”, a collection of hits that separated himself from any other musician at the time. His style unique, I always considered him a little more complex than your average punk rock musician. Thursday night at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap Billy Idol “Rebel Yelled” all through the night.
There was an opening act, which is a good thing. This gives you the opportunity to carouse the grounds. The act was Cat Power. Not that they weren’t interesting but I’m going to be giving Billy Idol my full attention so why not take the opportunity to scale the vast grounds of Wolf Trap and see what type of mischief I can get into. Maybe check out the various bars. I wasn’t familiar with Cat Power. There was a steady beat, perfect for walking and enjoying the night. I would be lying if I didn’t admit they sounded a little mundane. But it’s different strokes for different folks. I mean their rhythm was like a metronome accompanied with vocals that sounded like a banshee. Not particularly my cup of tea. That’s why I took the opportunity to explore and socialize.
I was really excited at the on set of Billy Idol. That’s always the best part of a concert; the anticipation! It’s like a slingshot the more you pull and hold the tension of the rubber band the more power is released. Well, Billy Idol created a lot of tension and released a lot of power. From the second he stepped onto the stage it was like a soccer match. Everybody stood up and they remained standing for the entirety of the show. You had to stand if you wanted to get any view of the concert. Else wise you were just sitting down getting a silhouetted image of the fans dancing in the row in front you. It was cool I didn’t have a problem with it, I was just a little tired from all the walking and exploring I did during the Cat Power set.
Billy Idol performed magnificently. He engages frequently with his band and the audience. It wasn’t just the Billy Idol show, long time guitarist Steve Stevens also was in the house. Steve Stevens is what separates Billy Idol from a lot of other bands labeled as punk rock. The dude is insanely talented; he doesn’t just play power chords. He played a 5/6 minute long flamenco style guitar solo that was incredible. They also did a cover of The Doors “LA Woman” and a Led Zeppelin cover “Over the Hills and Far Away” Steve even started playing “Stairway to Heaven” just as a joke. It’s funny for a punk rock band they sure did a lot of classic rock, which is fine by me. They played all the hits “Rebel Yell” for instance, was a really rocked out version of the song. Heavy on the guitar with the synth parts not as prominent.
He opened “White Wedding” as a solo acoustic which was interesting. All in all a great show! Not a legendary performance that made me ream with emotion like The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times but good stuff. Billy looked happy to be on stage, he even recited poetry stating that even though he’s older he still isn’t too tired to rock n’ roll. Billy Idol is a good solid act. Steve Stevens guitar playing is worth the price of admission alone. Check him out if you get the chance; that is if it already isn’t sold out due to every woman in the tri-state area buying a ticket.
TRR Concert Revue & Photography by Alan Duckworh