Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

June 5, 2013

Billy Idol opens Artpark's Tuesday series with serious swagger

Night & Day — Billy Idol set the bar high for this year’s Tuesday in the Park series. The ‘80s punk rocker showed off his swagger during a two-hour set filled with his hits and a couple deep cuts from his Generation X days.

Idol came out of the gate strong with a solid version of “Ready Steady Go.” Idol looked every bit as young as he did during his MTV days, changing shirts and going shirtless at various points throughout the evening. There was no shortage of fist pumps and Idol’s devious, toothy, grin.

What made Idol’s music stand out in the ‘80s was his unique blend of pop and punk music. While punk music purists might argue that pop is the antithesis of punk, Idol managed to avoid looking cheesy and somehow reached the masses while maintaining a bad boy anti-establishment image.

Of course Idol’s music is anything but inaccessible to the masses, as was evidenced by the well-behaved crowd, very few of whom were holding onto the Goth look that his fans sported during his heyday.

In fact some of the evening’s highlight were anything but punk, including a wonderful nylon stringed guitar solo from Idol’ longtime musical partner Steve Stevens.

In spite of Idol’s larger-than-life stage presence, he left enough room for the aforementioned Stevens to shine on the guitar at various points of the evening. The tandem of Stevens and Idol was quite a spectacle, and if anyone began the evening not realizing just how great of a guitarist Stevens is, they certainly didn’t leave the venue without a deep appreciation for his prowess on guitar.

Idol aptly described his and Steven’s relationship by noting, “he’s sublime and I am ridiculous.” Idol is still ridiculously good. His voice has not lost any power, and in some ways his phrasing is superior to what is on the original versions of his classic hits.

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