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Billy Idol at Hard Rock Live Hollywood, FL

Billy Idol at Hard Rock Live Hollywood, FL

By Ray Anton  |  Photos by Jay Skolnick

It’s been over 50 years since an unapproving science teacher labeled young William Albert Michael Broad as “idle.” William would later use that insult to fuel his rise to fame as Billy Idol. MTV helped launch the punk singer’s stardom with his quirky videos that seemed like they were on every few minutes. With help from venerable sideman and guitar hero Steve Stevens, Billy was unstoppable in the early to mid-80s. Idol is currently on tour supporting his latest EP The Cage with Steve Stevens. Lucky for us, the tour had a memorable stop at Seminole Hard Rock Live in Hollywood on April 18th.

The festivities began with Kelsy Karter and the Heroines. Their 35-minute set had many pop/punk original tunes. Her voice possesses a Janis Joplin meets Elle King vibe. Kelsy once said that the whole reason they got to open for Billy was Stevens’ discovery of her video covering Heart’s “Alone.” I expect that we will be seeing and hearing plenty more from Karter in the future.

Following the intermission, the lights went down as Billy Idol and his 6-piece band appeared during “Dancing with Myself.” Without missing a beat, they broke into their MTV smash hit “Cradle of Love” before “Flesh for Fantasy.” Billy greeted the packed house and introduced some newer songs, including the title track of his current release The Cage and the theme from the 1994 movie Speed. Billy then got reflective with “Bitter Taste,” a number about his motorcycle accident that paused his career. Slowing things down, the band went into another MTV era staple, “Eyes Without a Face.” The spotlight focused on guitar hero Steve Stevens, as he broke into a solo with his nylon string acoustic/electric and belted out some impressive Flamenco-style runs mixed in with hints of Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Away” and Van Halen’s “Eruption.”

Stevens is quite unique in that I cannot think of another hard rock guitar player that does his entire solo on a nylon string axe. As he finished the band came back on stage playing “Mony Mony.” Billy still has a very strong presence and his voice did not disappoint. The guys performed “Running from the Ghost” and “100 Punks” before we heard a snippet of theTop Gun theme, “Blue Highway.” The band closed the set with the crowd favorite “Rebel Yell.’

Billy and his mates were not done yet. They came back for an encore of “Hot in the City” and closed the night with his most popular number, “White Wedding.” When the show was said and done, Billy Idol and his band gave us an hour and a half musical rollercoaster with high energy hits, as well as soulful ballads. The band delivered a top-notch performance to suit any 80s rock fan.

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