Billy Idol photo by Mark Hundertmark

Live Review: Billy Idol at Wembley Arena

Live Review: Billy Idol at Wembley Arena

Billy Idol brings old-school rock to Wembley Arena for a night of classic hits and some new songs. Review by Adam Davidson

After the original scheduled show in June was cancelled due to health concerns, a rejuvenated Billy Idol finally took to the stage at OVO Wembley Arena. The show opened with one of his earliest hits as part of punk rock band Generation X, ‘Dancing With Myself’. It is a guaranteed party starter and it set the tone for a night of predominantly throwback hits.

Idol took his shirt off and put his leather jacket back on before launching into solo hits like ‘Cradle of Love’. As the artist is now 66, his voice has matured into a sort of Rockabilly swing at times which suits certain songs really well. He also has the raw punk rock voice and can dominate the stage, although he is unable to maintain notes for as long as he used to which was evident in his earlier hits like ‘Mony Mony.’

The highlights of the show, or at least vocally, came from performances of songs from his latest EP Cage. The project which was released last month was born out of frustration over the ‘dirty, stinking, rotten, lousy pandemic’ which stopped him from attending his own mother’s funeral and other personal topics such as his 1990 motorcycle crash and battles with drug addiction.

Idol talked about drug addiction battles in the 70s, 80s and 90s before an atmospheric and exciting performance of his new song ‘Running From the Ghost’ which perfectly matched his more mature voice.

He said: “I want to put drug addiction in the rearview mirror. With addiction, you have no control and you don’t know if you’re going to go off the diving board, go AWOL or f**k up completely but I’ve tried to get a bit of discipline. It’s worth being alive and having these experiences.”

Idol was accompanied by a brilliant band, which included the extremely talented guitarist Steve Stevens who captivated the audience with long and complex guitar solos whilst the lead singer changed outfits.

During one of the interludes, Stevens played the Top Gun Anthem that he won a Grammy for in 1987 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

Next came one of Idol’s biggest hits, ‘Rebel Yell’. It was the perfect song to close out the main section of the show as it got everyone out of their seats singing along but raised the energy up to get people excited for the encore.

Idol, who was born in NW London on Edgware Road, dedicated the final song of the encore ‘White Wedding’ to his sister who was in the crowd. The rockstar was a bit off-pace vocally for his older classics but it was still a performance full of energy, charisma and rock and roll.

Photo by Mark Hundertmark