Idol turns ‘Hot in the City’ in Bucharest concert

The Roman Arenas in Bucharest on Monday evening were host to one of the most incendiary concerts of the year.

published in issue 3720 page 12 at 2006-07-12

At the age of 50, and after a Rock’n’Roll career spanning on several decades, British artist Billy Idol gave his first performance on a Romanian stage, and turned an otherwise numb audience in a bundle of joy. After a rather boring opening by Romanian band Zob, the artist made his entrance on stage at nine o’clock sharp, with British precision.

Billy Idol’s secret is the ability to take a pop base and disguise it with layers of other genres, most notably hard rock. His adaptability is on display throughout his songs, and just by listening to them live you will find it amazing how well the former Generation X frontman’s hits have aged. Songs such as the disco-punk hit “Dancing with Myself,” “White Wedding,” and “Scream” are as appealing as ever, as is even “Shock to the System.” There was no actual moment of bore during the almost two hour concert, and Idol proved to a packed audience of more than 5000 people, that he is still in his prime as far as energy and artistic possibilities.

Combining with success rock energy with sexual appeal, the artist aimed firstly at conquering his female audience, and so he succeeded, especially after a couple of hot- in the city striptease numbers. However the artist’s coup de grace addressed to his female fans was the moment when he began singing the Doors’ immortal L.A. Woman, which he adapted on the spot as Bucharest Woman. For more than 100 minutes, the audience was nothing more but a mass of joyful hands in the air, beating the drum rhythm, screaming and singing with the artist.

Besides Idol’s charismatic persona, the stage was also taken by one of the best contemporary guitarists, New York based Steve Stevens, who has been Idol’s stage partner since 1978. Stevens’ solo moments were a real joy for the real Rock’n’Roll fans.

Billy Idol is one of those atypical musicians, combining music genres and cultivating an enticing artistic persona that has made him unique in music history.

He was born in 1955 in Middlesex, England.

Idol lived in Worthing before attending Sussex University for only a year before joining the Bromley Contingent of keen Sex Pistols fans. During this period, Idol decided to become a musician and originally was suppose to play guitar with Siouxsie & The Banshees but instead joined a punk rock band Chelsea in 1977, soon leaving it to form Generation X. Generation X signed to Chrysalis Records and released three somewhat successful albums before breaking up. Idol moved to New York City and began working as a solo artist and working with Steve Stevens, soon becoming MTV staples with “White Wedding” and “Dancing with Myself,” the latter of which had originally been recorded with Generation X. Idol’s second LP, Rebel Yell (1984) was a blockbuster success, and established Idol’s superstar status in the United States with singles like “Eyes Without A Face,” “Flesh For Fantasy,” and the title cut. Idol did not release a new album until 1986; Whiplash Smile sold very well and proved to be a smash, including the hits “To Be A Lover,” “Don’t Need A Gun,” and the Country-flavored “Sweet Sixteen. Just before the release of Charmed Life in 1990, Idol was in a motorcycle accident in which he almost lost his leg. The album sold extremely well (led by “Cradle Of Love,” from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane film), but Idol decided to take a break and acted in The Doors, directed by Oliver Stone. The follow-up to Charmed Life was 1993’s Cyberpunk, which was a flop in the States, and Idol sank into drug addiction, nearly dying of a GHB overdose in 1994. He returned to the popular eye in 1998, when he played himself in The Wedding Singer, an Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore romantic comedy, where “White Wedding” was used as the title track. Idol appeared on VH1 Storytellers and issued a successful Greatest Hits CD in 2001.

Devil’s Playground, which came out March 22, 2005, is his first new studio album in nearly 12 years.

And as everyone who came to Monday’s concert could see, this so happens that a great artist will be great even after he has passed the 40 years barrier. Idol proved he is made of the same material big rock names such as Rolling Stones or Aerosmyth are made of and we can be sure he will have the same energy and lust for life ten years from now.

by Anna Bello