Billy Idol / Myrtle Beach, SC / 04-18-2005

On the heels of his first release in over a decade, Billy Idol brought his Devil’s Playground tour to a packed House of Blues.  His 90 plus minute set was filled with all of the standard 80’s MTV hits that you’d expect plus the surprisingly strong new material.  In fact, songs like “Rat Race” and “World Coming Down” stood tall against the classics “Eyes without a Face” and “White Wedding.”

Despite years of well publicized hard living, Idol still looks great.  He looks more punk now at 49 than he did in the early 80’s.  He still maintains his peroxide blonde hair and signature snarl.  Idol looks like a guy that’s relishing his return to form.  He jokes around with the crowd, invites them to get rowdy and jumps around, all with a smile on his face.  The mixed crowd of punks, frat boys and “cool” people couldn’t help themselves.  They had a good time.  It was a sea of fist pumping during “Rebel Yell” which evolved into a massive sing along.  Idol spent a lot of the time touching the flesh of fans in the front row.  He also autographed almost anything people would hand up to him.  He gave out more drumsticks than most drummers do.

The final encore of “Mony Mony,” while anticlimactic after “Rebel Yell,” featured a massive 4 guitar assault which culminated in trade off solos that displayed just how awesome guitarist Steve Stevens really is.  He ripped it up on the Generation X track “Ready Steady Go” and delighted the crowd with the signature “Dancin’ With Myself” lick.  He ran around the stage doing his best Pete Townshend windmill impressions.  He played behind his neck and with his teeth.  There was just enough cheese to excite and entice the crowd.

It’s obvious that Billy Idol appreciates his audience.  After all, who’d have thought that someone so synonymous with the 80’s, would be able to make a triumphant return and actually still seem relevant?  Not only does he seem relevant, after all the years, Billy Idol is still vital.