There was a crotch thrusting, fist clenching, lip twitching sweaty night of passion in Italy this week. Don’t worry, it’s not how it might sound. But it was just as exciting.
Always fond of a jaunt to Italy, and with Springsteen’s touring schedule up in the air for the foreseeable future, I booked tickets to Padova, and eagerly headed off to this northern Italian city to see another of my “childhood favourite” artists perform for the first time.
“Billy Idol?!” One friend exclaimed. “Isn’t he dead??”
Nope. Still rocking…still thrusting.
Feeling the need to defend the latest, slightly obscure, Italian concert pilgrimage, I took to telling people I was heading there “for the craic”.
“I’m going to see Billy Idol in Padova.” I told their puzzled faces. “It’s for the craic!” I nodded unconvincingly.
And some craic it was. You’ll often find me harping on about Italy being an essential destination for a concert, and this was no exception. The venue, a very hot tent-like giant balloon, was crammed full of excitable aging tattooed punks. And me.
I watched the show undress (literally) from the third row (with no queuing!) and for the next two hours I saw songs I’d sung along to so innocently as a child, shamelessly performed by a sweaty, gyrating 58 year old 80s rocker – chunky thighs and crotch wodged into leather trousers so tight I was half baffled. But mostly impressed.
|You can just about see my open mouth – from @BillyIdol|
It wasn’t just those tight trousers leaving me awe-struck. Within 15 minutes the band had belted out some of my all-time favourite “Billy Idol Classics” – Cradle of Love, followed by Generation X’s Dancing With Myself before Billy took his package pushing and fist clenching up a notch for a shirtless Flesh For Fantasy.
“Do you like good music, do you like to dance?” Idol asked us, seducing us by song. That night I liked both, and so did the crowd – men and women whooping as he stripped off his jacket, disrobing to reveal enviable abs and a body slick with sweat.
The thrusting paused for a brief minute or two during Sweet Sixteen – one of Idol’s slower paced songs – in which he swapped his tambourine and “arm out/fist clench” signature move for an acoustic guitar. Hidden among the faster paced masterpieces, it felt bizarrely intense and emotional. A guitar solo from Steve Stevens followed soon after, slim legs jeweled in sparkly flares, leopard print shirt exposing a bare chest, face damp with sweat causing smudged black eye make-up, and hair – well the hair was something I can only hope to achieve one day.
Managing more outfit changes than Britney Spears (I counted 10 in total), Billy “Fucking” Idol (as he fondly refers to himself) then took to the stage in a three quarter length suit jacket – the kind I beg my dad not to wear – confirming this really was an 80s extravaganza. At the beginning I’d felt like a bit of an outsider, a conman. Sporting just one very well hidden and seriously shit tattoo from my teens, I wasn’t sure I was as hard-core as the bicep inked fans surrounding me. By this point though, I was embracing it, and by the next song – Rebel Yell – I was hollering “MORE MORE MORE” with the rest of the crowd. “YOU MAKE ME FEEL GOOD,” Billy cried. The feeling was mutual.
On to White Wedding, the Dancing In the Dark of Billy Idol’s catalogue, given a spin with an acoustic start before the band went for it after the first verse. By Mony Mony, the final song, the crowd were wild with enthusiasm. Drenched in sweat, together we chorused “Ride The Pony, Ride The Pony” – not the most thoughtful lyric I’ll ever sing, but undoubtedly one of the most fun. So. Much. Fun.
So, that’s what happens when you travel to Italy for a Billy Idol concert.
You may not sing the most profound lyrics, or experience the raw emotion of a Springsteen concert, but oh my, Billy Idol is worth seeing live.
Do it for the craic.
Head to www.billyidol.net – he’s still touring!