Aside from my love of barbershop music, I am also a HUGE nerd for Billy Idol. I’m not even sure I can recall what prompted my love for him. All I know is his music makes me happy, and he’s not bad to look at either.
Last Thursday, my friend and I went to see him in concert. But to fully understand how awesome this concert is for us, I have to tell you another story first.
Jennyfer and I are Billy Idol concert buddies. By 2006, we had already seen him in concert together twice. That year, JackFM was hosting a huge concert with a lot of my favorite bands: Cheap Trick, Violent Femmes, Def Leppard, Journey and…you guessed it, Billy Idol. A whole group of us bought tickets.
When the date got closer, Jennyfer found out she had to work that day, and sold her ticket to another friend of ours. Naturally, she was pretty bummed. When we arrive at the concert, there was a JackFM booth where you can enter into a raffle to meet one of the bands from the day’s lineup. I thought “Why not? What could possibly be the harm in signing up?” About 15 minutes into the Violent Femmes’ set, my cell phone rings, and it’s someone from the event telling me my name was drawn to go backstage and meet Billy Idol. I could bring one person with me.
Yaaaayyyy!! But, dang. Why couldn’t Jennyfer be here?! So I chose another friend, and told her “Jennyfer must never know about this. Seriously. She’ll kill me.” We got to go backstage, and I blathered on and on about how big a fan I am until he turned and started signing my arm. It was FANtastic.
We get back to our seats, and the first thing my friend does is text Jennyfer and tell her what just happened. Ugh. The reply came back:
“No way! I could have gone after all, my boss sent us home earlier this morning.” Double ugh. She missed out!
Which brings us to the fall of 2014. I find out tickets for Billy Idol concerts are going on sale, and I know I must go. Then I find out they’re offering VIP packages where you get to meet and take a photo with Billy Idol and his guitarist Steve Stevens. This is it! I can right this wrong and give Jennyfer another chance!
The months went by pretty quickly, and Thursday night we got all dolled up and ready to go. This picture is a tradition for us. Since my license plates actually say Billy Idol, we generally take my car.
Upon arriving at the Wiltern in LA, we parked ($20? Holy crap!), and got in line for our VIP meet & greet with Billy Idol and his guitarist Steve Stevens. The crowd was pretty varied. There were a lot of people in black, that’s for sure. The style of the outfits was amusing, though. Some people were in 80’s style studs and chains with black skinny jeans, others were in skin tight black mini dresses and skirts, and still others were in black t-shirts and/or leather jackets. We saw a few kids under 15, but for the most part it seemed like everyone was 30 and up.
While we were in line to take our picture, Jennyfer and I made friends with the couple standing in front of us. They seemed pretty cool. We chatted about other bands we’d seen and other times we had seen Billy perform. When they got to the front of the line, instead of taking their picture together, the wife wanted to take hers by herself. It was pretty hilarious.
Here we are, with Billy and Steve. A-mazing. Sure they’re not as young as they used to be, and Steve uses more aquanet than some women I know, but it was a really fun experience.
Now for even more fun, the concert! The opener was Broncho, a sort of indie-alt band with four guitars and a drummer. I might like them, but it’s hard to tell when the sound is so distorted and you can’t understand a word they’re singing. They knew we just needed something upbeat to get us going for Billy and didn’t seem put off that we didn’t know who they were.
Billy took the stage in his first of several outfits that night, and the crowd went wild! Throughout the set, there were several different incidents with drunk people in the pit, one man even had to be escorted out. The woman behind me offered me some weed…uh, thanks but no thanks. There was also a screaming fan behind yelling “Seventeen! Seventeen!” I think she wanted him to play Sweet Sixteen…but, you know, alcohol.
For the most part, though, everyone was there to have a good time. Except the woman in front of me. She’s 2 people back from the stage, not dancing, singing along or having any fun at all. Her poor friend kept checking in to see if she wanted to leave…I mean, geez.
Anyway, Billy included all the fan favorites: Rebel Yell, Eyes Without a Face, Mony Mony (with the traditional “added” lyrics) , Flesh for Fantasy, LA Woman. He also played a few songs from his new album, which sounded pretty awesome. I must confess I haven’t bought that album yet, but I’ll be remedying that soon.
Billy changed 3-4 times, always ending each set shirtless, to the complaint of absolutely no one. I mean, look at him. He looks pretty darn good for turning 60 later this year. Maybe I’m biased…
At the end of the show, Billy introduced all the band members, saving himself for last: “I’m Billy F*%#in’ Idol!” which everyone loved. Also, if you haven’t seen Steve Stevens play the guitar, you should really look him up. He is a god. I don’t know how anyone’s fingers move that fast, sometimes with the guitar behind his back!
As we’re walking back to the car, Jennyfer remembers that we were supposed to pick up some swag on the way out. Oops! So we run back inside and get ourselves a Billy Idol dog tag, tote bag, leather cuff, poster, and then we get to keep the VIP passes we were wearing during the concert.
This makes the 7th time I’ve seen him in concert. I added the ticket stub to my concert ticket album, and I already can’t wait for the next one!