As with my 2012, 2013, and 2014 Year in Review features, this feature looks back on a year of music with a summary of the highlights. This year, I attended about 50 shows, with hundreds of different sets of incredible talent and music to make sense of, not to mention trying to keep up with all of the studio releases from artists, new and old. This is my attempt to (subjectively) share my favorites of the year, from live shows to new songs and albums. You can also check out my Top 100 Concert Photos of 2015 in that separate article.
“Two words to introduce this next song! Two words! Two words to introduce this next song! Two words to introduce this next song!” Billy Idol getting the sold out crowd of nearly 3,000 screaming, fist pumping fans shouting “Rebel Yell” at the opening night of Grand Sierra Resort’s new Grand Theatre. I can’t imagine a better way to launch a high end new concert venue than having none other than Billy Idol kicking off a new tour of his own on the vast stage built on the $10 million dollar renovation of the live music space. Billy Idol has been building on his own career and accomplishments of late, with 2014’s awesome new album Kings & Queens of the Underground (the first in nine years) and bestselling Dancing With Myself autobiography. In the midst of a resurgent mainstream interest in all things Billy Idol, he seems to be as popular as ever. Alongside his incredible band, they’ve put together probably their best live show ever with this tour. It also clocked in as the longest show I’ve seen, at around two hours. I’ve always noted this band as one of my all-time favorite live shows, and I’d have to say that this was the best I’d ever seen them. I’ve always complimented Idol on his boundless and limitless energy and he seems to have reached a new high with this show and tour. He is at once an icon and an enigma, as he continues to evolve his style while retraining his trademark lip curl and tongue in cheek uncensored gestures, looks, and poses. And one can’t neglect to mention Mr. Steve Stevens on lead guitar, who could put the audience in a trance even if he stood alone on the stage – one of the best guitarists performing today, if not the very best. If you haven’t been to a Billy Idol concert lately, you haven’t seen him and his band at all, as they are better than they’ve ever been, and that is saying a lot.
2014 and 2015 are shaping up to be epic for fans of Billy Idol, starting with the Dancing With Myself autobiography, hitting stores and online retailers tomorrow. Today is the last day to pre-order for an entry into the Dancing With Myself Sweepstakes, and today is the first day of a limited number of book signings in the United States and the United Kingdom throughout October. In just a few weeks, on October 21st, the first new Billy Idol studio album in some time, Kings & Queens Of The Underground, will drop. The new single, “Can’t Break Me Down”, is already available. While UK and European concert dates were announced for November some time ago, today North American dates were announced for January and February 2015, including special meet and greet tickets. [Read more…]
The Mountain Winery has announced this year’s Summer Concert Series, in conjunction with AXS, all kicking off May 24th with Juanes and running through October 6th with Bonnie Raitt closing out the season. With a few pre-sales having happened this week, the general sale of tickets starts April 22nd on AXS.com.
This is the second and last of my 2012 “Year In Review” articles, though this one is mostly a pictorial. I went through the pictures I took at shows throughout 2012 and pulled out 100 of my favorites to republish here, in celebration of an amazing year for concerts and a fun year for me with photography. You can also check out my other Year in Review article with my Top 10 Live Music Concerts and Top 10 Studio Albums & Songs. [Read more…]
2012 was an amazing year for both new music and live concert events, and although writing this “year in review” proved to be a monumental task, it was fun for me to do it to relive some special moments and appreciate the opportunities I had over the past 12 months to find new music and attend so many awesome live shows. It’s funny because many concerts and tours are announced with little notice, so at the start of any given year, you don’t really know what to expect, and 2012 definitely held a lot of surprises. When all was said and done, I ended up going to 58 concerts in 2012, each of which featured anywhere from one to seven artists, so that is a lot of live performances.
“Thank you, Eugene, Oregon, for making my life so fucking great!” That’s Billy Idol for you. Billy Idol connects with people, and appreciates his fans. He connects with people via his music, of course, but in a live performance, he does more than that… and just as his language is uncensored, so are his connections with people. As soon as he comes out onto the stage, his eyes dart about the audience, and you see him make these connections. He seems to have an innate ability to connect with fans, and give them something back that suits them – a grin, a smile, a point with his finger and nod, a wry look, wide open eyes, the famous lip curl… [Read more…]
The world needs Billy Idol. The world needs cool, and it needs a bit of a rebel yell. But it also needs dreamers. And, sometimes, a crazy, impossible, outlandish dream can lead to great things. And all of this was proven on an epic night in Seattle, as a young man with hope, ambition, persistence, and ingenuity leveraged the Internet in a way that lead to rock music legend and icon Billy Idol playing his 26th birthday party at the Showbox SoDo in Seattle last night. I’ve seen Billy Idol many, many times over the years, but I can say without a doubt that last night’s special show featured the best audience I’ve ever been a part of at one of his concerts. And in these challenging times we live in, it felt like everyone left their struggles and frustrations and all other negativity at the door, and embraced the awesome music and amazing live performance of Billy Idol and his band, as the put on a scorching show. As just the second (by my count) U.S. date this year (with a third in Eugene tomorrow night), I believe it serves as evidence of the significant demand for fans to see Billy Idol play live. He is one of my all-time favorite artist, has such a fantastic catalog of songs, and is one of the best live acts performing today accompanied by a peerless band and the incomparable Steve Stevens on lead guitar. Cheers to Michael Henrichsen for having a dream and putting such effort into something that brings joy not just to himself, but everyone who loves Billy Idol who came to take part in it. Michael certainly knows how to party, and he brought it to Seattle last night, in the form of the legendary Billy Idol.
On May 31st, MusiCares held their eighth annual MAP Fund benefit in Los Angeles at Club Nokia, which honored Jerry Cantrell and Neil Lasher with the Stevie Ray Vaughan award. The award is given to those who help fellow musicians through addiction recovery. As part of the celebration, a number of artists performed the Steve-O MC’d and Moby DJ’d event, including Billy Idol, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Duff McKagan, Mark Lanegan, and Alice in Chains. [Read more…]
On October 12th, I had an opportunity to see Billy Idol perform at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA for the second consecutive year. My favorite (relatively) local venue, I was fortunate enough to have front row center seats, literally standing right in front of Idol’s front center position for the entire show (as you will see from the photos below). [Read more…]