Review: Billy Idol – OVO Hydro, Glasgow

After the stop-start-stop-again-start-with-restrictions of the last few years, Billy Idol was finally able to recently launch his long-awaited World Tour, and with South America, and Europe crossed off the list, it was, at last, time for a whistle-stop tour of Blighty for the man formerly known as William Michael Albert Broad. Now known of course as Billy Idol, or as he prefers himself: Billy “Fucking” Idol.

Whereas the last time Billy Idol was in town it was at the much smaller O2 Academy with very little production, tonight it’s at the Enormo-dome and he has indeed brought quite a show. Any doubts about who is performing tonight quickly evaporate once the digital old-style Odeon-like curtains open and the name IDOL is emblazoned in huge letters across the impressive screen which runs the length of the stage. Idol’s incredible drummer Erik Eldenius counts the band in for opening number, the Generation X nugget ‘Dancing With Myself’, and after a few seconds the man himself appears at the top of a flight of stairs and all the old punks in the audience are crying tears of joy.

Despite a few months on the road already, Idol sounds and looks amazing, and when he launches into ‘Cradle Of Love’ not many in the crowd are using the ghastly seats in the arena for what they are intended for and instead are busting moves left right and centre. A sultry version of ‘Flesh For Fantasy’ sees the trademark leather jacket and t-shirt coming off as Billy goes Taps Aff for a brief moment before the jacket is back on minus the shirt, damn he looks good.

Lockdown was especially unkind to Billy as sadly his mother passed away during the pandemic, and due to flying restrictions, he was unable to make the journey back to England for the funeral. The darkness of the last few years has been a fertile time in a musical sense for the King Rocker, with two EPs of new material released in quickfire succession, which means that in amongst all the karaoke-bangers – of how many decades now? – Billy has some new music to air and the title track of latest EP ‘Cage’ is spat out with the same venom that inspired it, and ‘Bitter Taste’ from the earlier EP ‘The Roadside’ is preceded by Billy talking about how it was inspired by his near-fatal motorbike accident in the 90s and when he talks you can tell it’s from the heart and how genuinely happy (and surprised) that he is about still being around to tell the tale.

Alongside Billy is a kick-ass band led by his musical partner of many years now Steve Stevens, and whether it’s some thick chugging riffs on ‘Speed’ (from the Keanu movie naturally), a bit of acoustic guitar leading into a gorgeous version of ‘Eyes Without A Face’; teasing the crowd with snippets of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and ‘Eruption’ during his solo (that leads into a massive singalong version of ‘Mony Mony’) or launching into the Grammy-winning instrumental theme to Top Gun, Mr. Stevens is playing a blinder. The perfect partner, and way, way, way more than merely a sideman.

There’s a touch of nostalgia when Billy introduces another Generation X classic, ‘One Hundred Punks’, by recalling the time that Gen X were banned from playing Glasgow City centre itself and had to play on the outskirts, and all the punks were pogoing as they got off the bus at the gig. Certain there are more than a few in the audience playing the “I was there” card. Even though you know how the evening is going to end, it’s still a thrill when both ‘Rebel Yell’ and ‘White Wedding’ land, and both are turned into mass joyous celebrations of life, and of survival, because that is exactly what William Michael Albert Broad is, a survivor, and you would have to possess a cold dead heart not to be swept away by the mass euphoria displayed during both of these iconic moments from the days when MTV actually gave a shit about music.

Billy Idol’s ‘The Roadside Tour’ concludes in Leeds on Tuesday, October 25th, more information here. And bring your dancing shoes, you might just need them.

Words and pictures – Callum Scott

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  1. Thank you for your wonderful review on Mr Idol’s show.
    He gives you everything you want…everytime.
    God’s not done with him. He’s just getter better and better♡

  2. Thank you for your wonderful review on Mr Idol’s show.
    He gives you everything you want…everytime.
    God’s not done with him. He’s just getting better and better♡

  3. Amazingly written review and extremely accurate of a musician who should absolutely be considered for the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame! If anyone could get this started I believe it would be Callum Scott.

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