Marking the first stop of the UK leg of The Roadside Tour 2022, tonight sees Billy Idol take to the stage in Manchester ably supported by Toyah and Killing Joke. This run of arena dates is the first time Billy Idol will have performed in the UK since 2018, with tickets for the remaining shows available here.
Opening the evenings proceedings was the four times Brit award nominated Toyah whose career has spanned more than 4 decades with ventures not only in music performance, but also in acting, songwriting and producing amongst many other accolades. It’s a short 30 minute set for Toyah but she delivers an upbeat pop performance, dancing throughout the set. Killing Joke were a relatively late addition to the tour, stepping in when previous support Television withdrew due to illness. With their industrial post-punk rock, the band almost do a complete 180 from the bubbly Toyah, creating a much heavier darker sound accompanied by moody lighting and whilst some fans may have whiplash from the change in sound, nevertheless they were well received.
Let’s be honest, Billy Idol has not changed his style much since he burst onto the scene in the late 70s and when you can still rock that style aged 66 like Billy can, then why change something if it’s not broken? With his synonymous blonde spiky hair and trademark sneers, Billy is instantly recognisable to many – whether they are fans of his music or not.
Opening with Dancing With Myself from the ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ album when he was in Generation X, Billy begins the night at the top of the steps as his band play the opening notes. The touring band includes guitarist, Steve Stevens, as well as Stephen McGrath (Bass/Backing Vocals), Billy Morrison (Guitar/Backing Vocals), Paul Trudeau (Keyboards/Backing Vocals) and Erik Eldenius (Drums).
Powering through both ‘Cradle Of Love’ and ‘Flesh For Fantasy’, we are introduced to Billy’s newer material in the form of ‘Cage’, his latest release which was inspired by his Mum. Due to Covid restrictions, Billy was unable to attend his Mum’s funeral and understandably there is still some frustration there as he declares ‘This f**king virus is really p**sing me off!
Long time guitarist Steve Stevens who has worked with Billy for much of his career, performs a solo mid way through including snippets of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and a later one featuring the Top Gun Anthem, showcasing his impressive guitar skills.
There’s a theme of taking a contemplative look back through his life and career with the newer tracks and ‘Bitter Taste’ touches on the motorcycle crash back in 1990 and Billy opens up honestly about his previous addictions in ‘Runnin From A Ghost’.
But the show isn’t just focused on the harder parts in life, it’s a celebration of all things punk and rock. Fan favourites such as ‘One Hundred Punks’ and ‘Rebel Yell’ lift the mood and as Billy cheekily says to guitarist Steve there’s a song that’s missing, the crowd roar as the night closes with Billy’s most successful song to date ‘White Wedding’.
For someone who has been on the music scene for the best part of 5 decades, Billy shows no vocal or performance rust and is as enigmatic and charismatic as he was back in the 80s. Whether it’s his signature look, stage mannerisms (or let’s face it his sheer bloody talent), he is without doubt Billy Fucking Idol!
Dancing With Myself
Cradle Of Love
Flesh for Fantasy
Eyes Without a Face
Runnin’ From the Ghost
One Hundred Punks
Rebel Like You
Born to Lose