Billy Idol @ Apollo

Dianne Bourne
31/ 7/2008

HOT in the city? You betcha when Billy Idol is providing the entertainment.

Within the roasting climes of the Apollo there was much fist pumping and arm waving as the rock icon made his Manchester return.

This new world tour, taking in just two UK dates before an extensive round of venues in Canada and the US, is a celebration of the Idol back catalogue after the release of his latest greatest hits package Idolize Yourself.

It made for a fantastic rock romp of a night out for all those Idol fans – pouring themselves into an almost universal uniform of favourite denims and black T-shirts for the occasion.

Mr Idol looked quite the punk dandy as he burst onto stage in pirate boots and tassled jacket to the words: “Manchester, all hells coming with me!” before a chest-beating opener of Cradle of Love.

The years have certainly been kind to our William. 


Now 52, there’s slightly less peroxide in the quiff, and slightly more furrows in the brow, but the intense glare and trademark snarl are as potent as ever.  And the voice is still as deep and prone to growls as ever.

He certainly pushes the temperature even higher with a pulsating Flesh For Fantasy. He then gets the crowd into a right old frenzy with an acoustic start to White Wedding, before a full on rock-out with his band.


Even the obligatory “new songs” go down a treat with the audience – his ode to John Wayne and a rocking New Future Weapon.

Billy is back touring with guitarist and former songwriting collaborator, the rock-god-tastic guyliner-wearing Steve Stevens (see gallery).

And like all good axemen, Steve does his very best to do the odd bit of scene-stealing in the show – not least with his inventive guitar playing from behind his head - and at one point even with his teeth.

The ensemble take the show to an almost inevitable climax of Billy’s 1984 hit Rebel Yell, with our blond maestro leading a mass singalong of “I feel alrights” to the pumping bassline.

The rocker returns for his encore showing off his super-toned chest and muscly biceps for a rather fitting acoustic version of Hot In The City, tailored to “Hot In Manchester, tonight”.

A bop-a-long Mony Mony rounds things off with Billy joining his axemen for a bit of a strum-off after a breathless two hour set.  There’s certainly nothing idle about this Idol.