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Friday night was chock full of fist pumping, side sneers and swagger as rock and roll demi god Billy Idol graced the stage at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, CA

Opening with "Dancing With Myself", the highly energetic crowd immediately matched Billy Idol's stage antics in the aisles, from their seats, and anywhere they could get their groove on as his classic song ripped through the Thunder Valley P.A. system. The 2023 Hollywood Walk Of Fame Star recipient, three time Grammy nominee, and winner of countless MTV awards kicked off what would turn out to be a stellar performance in front of a sold out crowd, focusing his efforts on a 40+ year discography along side his longtime band mates.

For those not in the 'know', Billy Idol emerged from the gritty underground London punk scene back in the 1970’s with his band Generation X. A few years later (1981 to be exact), his first solo release Billy Idol dropped and there was no turning back. It's hard to think of the successes of Billy Idol without mentioning his longtime songwriting partner and collaborator, Steve Stevens. This guys is a legend in his own right and has always been Billy's Right Hand Man or as some have candidly said, 'He's the Robin to Billy's Batman'. Regardless, this dynamic duo is still one of the best in the business and let it all hand out during an impressive 14-song setlist.

After Idol's second solo release, Rebel Yell in 1982, he was catapulted to super stardom and has remained rock and roll royalty (and still does to this day). Throughout Billy's amazing performance, songs like “Eyes Without A Face” and “Flesh for Fantasy” sounded just as good as they did when they were a permanent fixture (and on heavy rotation) on MTV. Additional classics “Cradle Of Love” and “Flesh For Fantasy” followed and were absolutely perfect. While a bit skeptical at first, Billy Idol’s vocal ability was still tops in class, and I was amazed at the ease in which he belted out these classics. Fans also rejoiced during a brilliant guitar solo by Steve Stevens graced us with a guitar solo. It began with flamenco style intro, then ripped into a medley of Led Zeppelin tunes that showcased his obvious love for his favorite guitar player, Jimmy Page.

More intense fist pumping followed during “Mony Mony” (a Tommy James & The Shondells cover) and “Running From The Ghost” (a song that was special to Idol, dedicated to a fallen friend lost to drug addiction). It was a somber moment indeed, but only for a brief moment as it was then back to business with “Blue Highway” and "Rebel Yell" Outside of Steve Stevens, Idol's long time band members were super impressive including Billy Morrison on guitar, Stephen McGrath on Bass, Paul Trudeau on keys, and drummer Erik Eldenius behind the skins. Just wow!

Overall, Idol's overall production was tight and stage set up looked like a magnificent city (which was perfect as the night closed out with an encore reminiscent of the 1980's). This one featured “Hot In The City” and of course one of Bill's most recognized songs, “White Wedding”. Before the concert began, a young man standing next to me said “I’m shocked there are no people my age here”. I laughed, explaining to him that "we may all look old to you, but we feel the same way inside that you do!" Billy Idol takes us to that nostalgic place when MTV played actual music videos that we watched all night long, and you could tell by looking around that the room was filled with people feeling the same feelings I was. Idol and his band really delivered ,leaving the whole venue all danced out and completely satisfied. Rumor has it that there will be a new album release from Idol in 2025. I hope its true and look forward to hearing that.

Bottom line, this concert was a perfect '10' in my book. If Billy Idol comes through to your town, I highly suggest you don’t miss him live! I know that I won’t.

Lisa Holt

Photojournalist - Reno / Lake Tahoe

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