Billy Idol wants more
Billy Idol ended the final date of his House of Blues Las Vegas residency with fist pumps and a Tarzan yell during longtime set closer “Mony, Mony,” but by the time of that Oct. 22 show, fans knew that Billy Idol: Forever would be back for another round of concerts in March and May. “One year in Las Vegas just isn’t enough,” he said in an announcement posted to his YouTube channel days before the latest chapter of his life as a Mandalay Bay headliner came to a close. Idol is hooked on Vegas Strip success and unlike some of the more self-destructive habits he’s managed to overcome, success is a habit he’s never been keen to let go of.
Idol has mainly occupied his schedule with playing live as of late, 2014’s release of memoir Dancing with Myself and Trevor Horn-produced album Kings and Queens of the Underground. It was Idol’s first recording under his own imprint BFI Records, which last year released BFI Live, a limited-edition, three-album vinyl set culled from his 2014-’15 tour. In February, a post to his Twitter account revealed he’s been remastering “Idol music” and planned to remaster Generation X albums for iTunes as well.
His residency kicked off in March of last year, allowing him and his band to enjoy respites of stability when they weren’t traveling to play outside of Vegas. After a summer tour, Idol joined former Sex Pistol Steve Jones for a few acoustic songs, including “Dancing with Myself,” at the Sept. 16 opening of the new Ramones exhibit at L.A.’s Grammy Museum. A week later, Miley Cyrus joined his band onstage at T-Mobile Arena during the first night of the 2016 iHeartRadio Festival, where she and Idol strutted onstage together during their duet of “Rebel Yell.” By October he was back at the House of Blues, demonstrating that titling his residency Forever wasn’t wishful thinking on his part.
Idol’s career has always been marked by a blend of self-creation and serendipity. He had already cut his hair and segued from acid rock to underground sounds when a call from a friend about London’s fledgling punk scene led him to discontinue his education and join the action. He and his bandmates in Generation X accomplished going from rehearsals in August 1976 to being featured on BBC music program Top of the Pops in 1977 through sheer will, which Idol relied on as he forged a solo career in the early ’80s with his self-titled debut and 1983 breakthrough smash Rebel Yell.
Things could have been very different for Idol if drinking bourbon with the Rolling Stones hadn’t inspired the career-defining title cut from Rebel Yell, if he hadn’t been introduced to iconoclastic guitar wizard Steve Stevens, if his friend hadn’t called him at school. Idol worked all of those happenstances to his advantage, much as he continues to do with Billy Idol: Forever. The man who brought punk-inspired rock to the masses will keep fist-pumping as long as crowds continue to respond with choruses of “More, more, more.”
House Of Blues At Mandalay Bay, 7 p.m. March 8, 10-11, 15, 17-18, 22 & 24-25, starting at $79.50 plus tax and fee, 18+. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster