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September 23, 2014

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At age 54, Billy Idol can still turn a venue into a cradle of love

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Denise Truscello/WireImage

Billy Idol at The Pearl in the Palms on Aug. 21, 2010.

With a rebel yell, she cried, “More! More! More!” That’s Billy Idol’s contention, his mantra for more than 25 years. More, more, more. But is that the case for 54-year-old Billy Idol in 2010? More, more, more? Of a stage act and punkish musical persona familiar for so long it might be derivative of itself? Yeah. “More, more, more!” was the chant last Saturday when the forever-snarling Idol and his crack backing band—featuring longtime guitar hero Steve Stevens—played to a packed house at the Pearl.

The Details

Billy Idol
Three and a half stars
August 21, The Pearl

Idol’s career is remarkable, not merely for its longevity—he fronted the punk band Generation X in the late ’70s—but for his utter refusal to bend his style. The Billy Idol who strutted onstage at the Palms, wearing a heavily zippered denim jacket, matching jeans and black T-shirt, was hardly unlike the Billy Idol I saw nearly dismantle Art Acker Gymnasium at Chico State University in 1982. “Back and forth, and back and forth and back and forth we go to Chico! We go to Chico!” he yelped that night, for no apparent reason.

Billy Idol at The Pearl in the Palms

Billy Idol at The Pearl in the Palms on Aug. 21, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Idol brought a more focused performance to Las Vegas, even as he allowed Stevens ample time and distance to perform lengthy solos, both on his electric and acoustic instruments. Stevens, too, seems uninterested in updating his stage look. His black hair, spiked atop and long all around, would have worked on a mid-’80s album cover. The fuchsia suit fit snugly, and Stevens is looking every bit the elder rocker. From a distance, he greatly resembles Alice Cooper—today and from the mid-’70s.

Idol paced the show exquisitely, working the audience like a politician. A profane politician, maybe, but he toggled effectively between such swirling acoustic numbers as “Sweet Sixteen” and full-throated rockers like his famous cover of “Mony Mony.” That song sent the audience into a frenzy, as Idol barked out the refrain demanding the audience to “Get laid, get fucked!” after the show. With the spiky-haired rocker as their pied piper, it’s likely most were only happy to oblige.

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