Billy Idol

By Clare McCabe  

Artist:  Billy Idol

Date / Venue:  Wednesday April 1st, Vector Arena, Auckland

Last night I learned something new. Apparently I know all the words to most of Cheap Trick's songs. Who knew? And who knew how amazing they would be live - why have I not seen them before? A lot of questions...

Vector Arena was pretty packed out with seating on the lower floor, as a lot of the concerts seem to be lately here. Not a problem. For most of Billy Idol, everyone was standing anyway.

First up was Cheap Trick with Robin, Rick and chums. And they certainly went down a treat. There were many guitar changes from Rick, ending in the fabulous 5-headed guitar. Yes you heard me. Tom handled his 12-string bass admirably to the left of stage in his wonderful red jacket. And Robin's trademark voice bellowed out all the anthems we wanted to hear - Surrender, I Want You to Want Me, Dream Police, If You Want My Love... I love how Robin has just that little bit of Rocky Horror theatre going on in his show. He brings out his electric acoustic for The Flame and you can imagine seeing these guys in the 80s and holding up your lighters to this one. Paul (from Idol's band) joins them on keys for a version of Magical Mystery Tour. It's all so very 80s - even down to the way the fans are dancing. Rick throws more picks and changes to another guitar. Robin dons a fabulous sparkly jacket and then they finish up with Surrender and Good Night. Indeed it was Robin. Come back soon - we want more.

Sing it: If you want my love, you got it, when you need my love you got it...

A short break and Idol, Stevens, Morrison and the guys take the stage. The spotlight appears on Billy and his blonde spiky hair. Oh yes. Jesus it is a long time since I have seen Billy and Steve on stage together. A. Long. Time.

Billy screams out Postcards From the Past and then they're straight into Cradle of Love. The sneer is there. And plenty of fist pumps. These guys are super tight together tonight. Steve plays his guitar behind his head while his wife Josie watches from side of stage and takes photos of the band (for instagram?) and Billy Morrison hammers on his various guitars to the right and makes encouraging faces to the audience - he is having a GOOD time tonight. We also have Stephen (the long-haired one) on bass, Erik on drums and Paul on keyboards. Oh and Mr Idol grabs his guitar every now and then to join in (you only need three chords, he says, well maybe four...).

Dancing With Myself and Ready Steady Go were my highlights, both Generation X songs from way back. Outfits are changed. For Sweet Sixteen we get a little banter from Billy and he brings out his guitar for this one. Steve does a little finger picking and then we swing into Eyes Without A Face. Suddenly we hit a more loungey vibe, which calms the crowd down somewhat. A couple more numbers including a great LA Woman - then a spot of dry ice (with Steve centre stage completing another guitar solo). Off comes the shirt and Billy launches into Rebel Yell - in the midnight hour babe, more, more, more... Everyone knows the words to this one and they are certainly joining in.

A little banter between Steve and Billy (they are so cute) and they start off a little acoustic version of White Wedding together before the rest of the band return mid-song and up the tempo considerably. Damn it, we're almost out of time. But we get one more and of course it is Mony Mony. All the guys are up together playing in a tight bunch, even Mr Idol. And the enjoyment of playing together is certainly evident by now. Billy introduces the band one by one so we can all give them a cheer and then off they trot. Yes, it is over.

Oh what a night. My ears are still ringing today as I write this. As I said before (and Steve mentioned last night) it has been WAY too long between visits. Keep touring guys. So everyone gets a chance to remember how good those 80s tunes can be live. I will certainly be in attendance again next time. Thanks so much for coming.