Events and Reports - Billy Idol - Live at Train, Aarhus, Denmark - November 23. 2005
It’s been more than a decade since Billy Idol blessed Denmark with a visit - when Billy Idol finally returned to Denmark he did it with style. Idol had 2 shows booked for Denmark and brought back his old sidekick Steve Stevens on guitar. Stevens was an essential reason for me to be attending.
I do enjoy Billy Idol’s music and even though I was harsh on his latest record “Devil’s Playground” I certainly was anxious and excited several days ahead of the show.
Steve Stevens went on stage with the coolest rock star appearance wearing sunglasses and a cigarette stuck in his mouth. The band started off with an energetic version of Superoverdrive from the new album.
I had a feeling that this would be a special night since the band was on fire and Billy Idol was over the top. Steve Stevens stood on top of his monitor (Stevens is almost a dwarf) and looked around the audience who weren’t aware of what about to come until Stevens played the riff from Dancing to Myself and the crowd saluted him with a huge roar.
Billy seemed happy about the great applause from the crowd and told us that this was going to be an evening full of new and old stuff. Some song we would probably know by the first chord and Flesh For Fantasy started. The mix of dance friendly pop and Rock was certainly perfected live on this song. Drummer Brian Tichy had a cool show by throwing the sticks in the air each time after hitting the floor drum. He had a roadie sitting next to him during the whole set with a full time job of collecting the sticks Brian didn’t catch again
The forever classic White Wedding was up next. The show off Steve Stevens played the solo behind his back on top of the monitor. There was no doubt this was the real Rock N’ Roll circus coming to town.
Billy Idol was in great spirit and wanted someone to scream as introduction to the next song – the single off his latest album. He finally got to a pretty good looking woman and her voice was so deep that Billy just concluded “chicks with dicks – all right” Scream is certainly the best track off “Devil’s Playground” and it was rocking live.
Steve Stevens grabbed the acoustic and played a long flamengo alike intro leading to the smash hit Eyes Without A Face. The version sounded a bit off key in the beginning and that might explain that the song didn’t get the massive response, which it deserves. Stevens switched to electric and came running on stage for “classic” electric piece that ends the song.
Billy Idol grabbed the acoustic and started to tell a story about what inspired him to write Sweet Sixteen. Billy was all smiling and laughing and really enjoying himself.
After such a massive bombardment of great hits it was obvious that either the show was about to end or it was going to loose a bit pace. Thankfully it wasn’t the first mentioned. However, Billy took time a played a couple of new ones. Rat Race worked great live and was among the highlights of the evening. Billy was throwing out flying saucers - he was shaking hands and even signing stuff for fans in the front row. A true entertainer.
The band took a short break while Billy performed a Randy Newman song which he re-wrote some lyrics for. The song was a about the flood that hit the US and called Louisiana. Billy was only accompanied by keyboarder Derek Sherinian. Billy pretended that he just wrote the song for tonight and found a piece of paper in his pocket with the lyrics. No wonder the dude also wanted to be an actor because he was a real character to watch and loved being in spotlight.
Next up was the traditional based Rock ‘n’ Roller Sherri and yet another new song Body Snatcher, which was driven by a great modern “Red Hot Chili Peppers” alike bass riff from Stephen McGrath.
Steve Stevens glowed on the Doors’s classic L. A. Woman and also on Blue Highway, which was MUCH more rocking live than on record - Another live favorite of the evening.
World Coming Down was the last off “Devil’s Playground” The songs from the new album was great live and overall a very positive surprise. Billy also played a song from his past called Ready Steady Go
Both Billy Idol and Steve Stevens jumped up on the monitors and Stevens started the riff to the classic above Idol classics; Rebel Yell. We got a fantastic version with Steve Stevens using cool effects like a flash gun for the solo.
After 1 hour and 45 minutes of the most fantastic Rock N’ roll experience everyone in the crowd surely had a mind blowing experience and wanted more. Idol returned with Hot In The City, where he and Stephen McGrath, who provided some solid background vocals, tried to sing “Hot in the house tonight” on the second chorus line. However, the crowd was loud and wanted it to be true to the original where after Idol changed it a few times like “hot in the pussy tonight”.
The old Generation X tune Kiss Me Deadly was a great fuse to the final encore of the evening: Mony Mony. Brian Tichy played guitar on this one, while a roadie took over the drums. The band jammed a lot and Tichy proved to a skilled guitarist. Tichy and Stevens traded solos for a long time. At last Stevens proved who was the master and played some tasty scales whereas Tichy couldn’t follow and obeyed. After that Billy Idol got a guitar and played a short solo. Idol proved to be worse than I on the six string so after Tichy and Stevens great soloing I had nothing but a big smile for Idol’s solo, since he was aware of his lack of skills. At last Derek Sherinian also got a guitar and the show ended with the whole band on guitar.
This was a fantastic Rock N’ Roll concert that I will always remember. I was blown away by the performances, the energy and the charisma – these guys were the real deal.
The venue had a capacity of 800 people and was sold out months ahead. Idol was on fire and he praised everyone for being there and delivered a performance that was superior to 99 percent of my favorite bands. Idol loves this and is a stellar performer. It works since it’s honest and comes from the heart
2 hours and 15 minutes IN GREAT COMPANY with Billy Idol and band. If you get the chance then spoil yourself with a memorable experience – go see this Rock ‘n’ Roll show
Written by Michael