Billy Idol still has his trademark spikey blond hair and signature snarl. On Thursday night, the 65-year-old rocked a 90-minute set at Northern Quest Resort & Casino with a mix of his hits, songs from his Generation X days and a couple new tunes.
Idol kicked off the evening with “Cradle of Love.” He was up on the speakers at the front of the stage in all black, including what looked to be a leather jacket, despite temperatures being in the mid-80s (plus wildfire smoke). Next up was “Dancing With Myself,” which had most of the people on the floor dancing. The crowd screamed as Idol added “Airway Heights” into the lyrics a few times.
“We’re going to keep it rocking with some ‘Flesh,’ ” Idol said, and while the focus was on his longtime guitarist and co-writer Steve Stevens, Idol slipped into the darkness by the drums for the first of several wardrobe changes – bare chested and a different (mostly) black jacket for “Flesh for Fantasy.” (While Idol’s face betrays his age, his chest doesn’t – at least not from where I was sitting.)
Two new songs – the catchy “Rita Hayworth” and more contemplative “Bitter Taste” – were among the highlights of the night. Both are on his new EP, “The Roadside,” set for release Sept. 17. The video for “Bitter Taste” was released Wednesday. In a statement on his website, Idol says the song is about his near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1990, written during a time of reflection brought on by the pandemic.
“A little bit of me got left on that roadside. But it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing in the end; it was a wake-up call,” he said on his website. “Maybe on that roadside, I left behind the irreverent youthful Billy and opened the door for a more attentive father and a more sensitive musician.”
Another highlight was Stevens’ solos. At one point, he had the stage to himself and delighted the crowded with a mix of flamenco-style finger work, hard rock riffs and quotes from classics like “Stairway to Heaven.” Later, he played his Grammy-winning “Top Gun Anthem.” (That’s among my dad’s favorite movies, and it gave me chills – my husband thought it was cheesy. “You are your father’s daughter,” he told me.)
But it wasn’t just Stevens who got a chance in the spotlight. All of the band members – bassist Stephen McGrath, guitarist Billy Morrison, drummer Erik Eldenius and keyboardist Paul Trudeau – had opportunities to shine throughout the evening.
Idol performed all his major hits, including “Eyes Without a Face” and “Mony Mony,” during which he sometimes joined in on the not-so-family-friendly crowd chant. With “Rebel Yell,” the crowd was its noisiest yet.
Idol left the stage after “Rebel Yell,” coming back quickly for an encore with a cover of the Heartbreakers’ “Born to Lose.” Before launching into the final song of the night – “White Wedding” – Idol told the crowd, “I just want to say thanks for making my life so (expletive) great. Thank you!” He ended the night up on the speakers again, this time flanked by the guitarists.
Idol’s tour has two more stops in the state: Sunday at Tulalip Amphitheatre in Tulalip and Tuesday at Deep Water Amphitheater in Manson. Both had a few tickets available as of Friday morning; go to ticketmaster.com for details.