Saturday 23 June 2018

like a shock to the system: billy idol at manchester apollo

it's no secret that i've been disappointed with the current state of pop music recently - though ironically i have a new music friday post in the works for next week - so when it came time for my mother and i to see billy idol at manchester apollo on wednesday, i couldn't have been more excited. like matt healy says in this clash interview, 80s music is the place i "naturally arrive". when modern music isn't cutting it, i put on spotify's all out 80s playlist and yell along to never gonna give you up or take on me and my problems melt away, even if just for those three minutes. 

i'll admit i didn't know a lot of billy idol songs when we booked the tickets, but after attending three gigs in the space of a week this past april, the rest of the year was looking pretty empty concert-wise, and i couldn't pass up the chance to see him sing one of my all time favourite songs, eyes without a face. i needn't have worried about that though, as he put on an incredible show and despite being double my age, the crowd were one of the rowdiest i've ever seen (special shout out to the unbelievably drunk guy next to me who insisted on jumping up and down to every single song and shoving me so hard i'm surprised i don't have bruises littering my upper arms). despite this i did have a pretty good view for most of the show and it has to be said that for someone who is 62 (62!!) years old, he doesn't look - or sound - a day over 30.

unlike some artists, he avoided playing some of his more obscure album tracks and treated fans to his biggest hits, from opener shock to the system to dancing with myself - a nod to his days as front man of punk rock group generation x - and rebel yell. one track that took me by surprise was catch my fall, with its roxy-esque saxophone and synths, and i've had it on repeat ever since. an honourable mention should also be given to his guitarist steve stevens, who stunned the crowd with his spanish inspired solo and rendition of the top gun theme song. 

my personal highlight was of course the melodramatic eyes without a face, and after a dramatic synth-led build up i felt tears prick my eyes as the opening chords rang out. unlike bryan ferry and his acoustic rendition of more than this, he performed the track in its original glory and i belted out every word, though was surprised to see that nobody else around me was doing the same. i also loved blue highwayanother track from his breakout album, 1983's (excellent) rebel yell, which propelled him into super stardom when various singles received heavy rotation on MTV throughout the decade - and can't break me down, from 2014's kings and queens of the underground, which i've since started listening to and am suitably impressed.

his biggest hit white wedding closed the show as part of his encore, and this time the crowd were word perfect, and as we left the venue i concluded that it was £50 (!!) well spent.  

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