Straight to the Sweet Stuff

Idol performs at Sands BEC Review By: Alice Wanamaker   Straight out of the gate, you should know that I am a huge fan of 80’s music.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all music but put on some Duran Duran or Pat Benatar and I am in my glory!  So when I saw Billy Idol was coming to the Sands Event center, my ears perked!  Spring is a busy time and I didn’t get my act together to get tickets. Thankfully for me, a Facebook contest popped up the week before the show to win a pair of General Admission tickets. What better way to see a show, right? So I entered. I knew every song lyric that was posted and didn’t hesitate to share it with my friends.  Friday night I got a message from the Event Center that I won… woohoo!

Idol performs at Sands Bethlehem Event Center
I knew I wouldn’t have a hard time finding someone to go with me to the show and decided to invite my uncle who was celebrating his birthday the same week.  It was hard to believe that the Events Center wasn’t full at 6:45 when we arrived for the 7 p.m. show but by the time the lights went down just after 7 and Steve Stevenson played his first cord, the venue was packed. It wasn’t a sell out, but at $50+ for a ticket, the English rocker could have done worse.  With no opening act, it was straight to the sweet stuff. Prepped for a let down, as often happens when big stars hit a certain age, I was quite surprised by the energy Idol brought on stage. Billy idol didn’t sound old (or look old for that matter). His vocals held out for the entire show; provided, he took some backstage breaks that seemed to last ten minutes or more.  The breaks made for a not so fluid concert experience, but included instrument and wardrobe changes for the performer. They also allowed time for impressive solos from the very talented Stevenson. The show opened with an energy packed Ready, Steady, Go. Idol went on to sing some of my favorites, Sweet Sixteen, Eyes without a Face and Flesh for Fantasy. He also sang Rebel Yell, some new stuff from an upcoming album, and a cover or two. The encore included White Wedding and Mony, Mony. I can’t remember the sound or lyrics from the new songs, except for “ghost in my guitar” or something along those lines. I didn’t really see any promise for ground breaking new material, I’ll hold onto my favorites from the early 90’s instead. I keep flirting with the fact that yes, indeed, I had a big ol’ crush on Idol in his younger days.  And one thing is for sure, no one can pull off a pair of tight jeans complete with useless suspenders, a shirtless vest and bleach blonde spikes quite like Billy Idol. I wish I would have seen him twenty years ago, I think his energy level would have been higher and the show would have been a lot more fun with him in his prime and heyday. The crowd was filled with a mix of young punk-rocker wannabes, original Idol fans from the 80’s and everyone in between.  I consider myself to be a late comer as far as fan base is concerned, I probably belted my first Rebel Yell somewhere around 93’.  Speaking of which, I wish I would’ve heard more yelling and screaming from the artist during the show. I was also hoping to see a little more dancing and hip action on stage. Throughout the two hour set, there was a lot of fist pumping in classic Idol fashion. He threw out the occasional drumstick and guitar pick and even a few Frisbees with what appeared to be signatures from the artist and band mates. Billy Idol kept the show young, he used the acronym WTF during a story about the “real” Candy Castle and tweeted before and after the show! Complete with an eight-dollar beverage and a Whiplash Smile, it was a great night! Not familiar with Steve Stevenson? The man is absolutely amazing on guitar.  He played sideways and upside down and even played with his teeth for a bit.  Idol definitely has something special with the bandmate in the lineup.  He performed several solos throughout the night that were so amazing one could have forgotten they were at an Idol show.   All in all, this show gets a 7 out 10.  That’s pretty good in my book!  

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