Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

June 2, 2013

A little Idol worship at Artpark as Tuesday in the Park shows kick off

Niagara Gazette — This Tuesday marks the beginning of Artpark’s Tuesday in the Park series. The series will feature more improvements, including an additional Jumbotron video screen, enhanced sound and additional non-smoking areas.

Those improvements are nice, but what really counts is what’s happening onstage and the series opener literally packs a punch, the fist-pumping punk rocker that dominated MTV in the 1980s, Billy Idol.

As if that was not enough, the opening act Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown are well worth arriving early to catch. Bryant was featured in one of my favorite music documentaries of all time, “Rock Prophecies.” Bryant is a future guitar god; I am thrilled that he is the bill.

Inasmuch as I am eager to see Bryant, the evenings feature performer is one everybody should be excited to see. Billy Idol helped define MTV’s heyday ( the era when the station was an outlet for new music promotion and not a cesspool of crappy reality shows) with songs like “White Wedding,” Rebel Yell” and “Eyes Without a Face.”

Idol began his music career in the 1970s with the English punk rock band Generation X, a group that released three albums during their short tenure together, and were the first punk band to appear on the legendary UK music program "Top of the Pops." Idol opens many of his shows with the Generation X song “Ready Steady Go.”

After Generation X disbanded, Idol moved to New York City and hooked up with his longtime musical partner, guitarist Steve Stevens, who still performs with Idol. The duo recorded Idol’s eponymous debut, which was released in July of 1982. The album contained three of Idol’s most recognizable songs including “White Wedding,”” Mony Mony” and “Dancing With Myself.”

Idol’s version of the Tommy James hit “Mony Mony” was heard in dance clubs for many years, and there is a famous call and response during the instrumental that is not suitable for print (there should be a few fans that scream it out during the show if he plays the song). A live version of the song released two years after the studio version hit number one in the U.S. “Dancing with Myself” was a remake of a song Idol originally recorded with Generation X.

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