We got the opportunity to see Billy Idol play last night at Count Basie in Red Bank aka Hackensack Meridian Health Theatre.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, longtime guitar player for Idol played together. Funny enough, the show we saw last night was the last stop of the tour, titled, “Turned On, Tuned In, and Unplugged Tour”.
He sounded so wonderful, I thought it was the beginning of the tour. Going in, I knew it was not a concert but a speaking event where Idol would describe the time and story behind the songs he was playing that night.
It turned out to be a really fun event. I have been to some shows at this venue before. I expect to sit for a play or musical. However, when there’s rock music playing, I want to be up dancing and singing. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go being Billy is 63. That would put the majority of the audience’s age range between 45 and 75. Older concertgoers tend to sit. I actually get upset if I have to stay in my seat for fear of blocking someone’s view. That may change as I get older, however, right now, I’m the low end of this age spectrum.
The audience did well as far as I was concerned. In the beginning, everyone was standing. Then, as Billy spoke between songs, people would sit to listen. Once he started playing, people would jump up to dance and sing. There were a lot of people moving around the room to get to the bar and bathroom, I assume. It felt very reminiscent of being in a club back in the day. People were watching him play and singing along, talking among one another and just enjoying the atmosphere.
The setlist included:
There were, of course, t-shirts for sale there so being in the business, we took a look at the Billy Idol merchandise. We may have bought a thing or two, lol.
The last time I saw Billy Idol perform was about 20 years ago at a night club called, The Tradewinds. During the day, TradeWinds was a beach club in Sea Bright, New Jersey. At night, however, it turned into one of Jersey’s most frequented clubs. Sometimes we would see local bands on stage but from time to time they booked names.
When I first started going to Tradewinds, it was an indoor club. It was pretty big with multiple bars and a stage. I guess, during the day, that was the cafeteria for the pool/beach club. I was never there during the day. Later, it got a facelift that included a huge outdoor space with seating in various nooks and a bridge over the main swimming pool leading to more bars and places to hang out. Eventually, the club was sold to a developer who built multi-million dollar mansions on the priceless, beachfront property. All of us displaced rockers had to find other places to hang out like Red Bank, Asbury Park and Long Branch.
Billy told a sad story during the show about his father dying. Given the age of the audience, I believe it was a strong part of the show for 2 reasons:
His raw, beautiful feelings were tangible as he described his relationship with his father. He would visit as often as possible and play golf with his dad. When his add turned ill, he asked Billy if he was disappointed that he didn’t always understand his choice to go into music. Billy responded that he wasn’t sure what he was doing either but somehow it worked out. These last words between them were an understanding between them. It came across as a forgiving moment that happened between them. He ended the story with something like, “That was it. That was our relationship.” It was so peaceful, adult and accepting it truly showed his humanness.
Secondly, most people in the audience have probably experienced the same awful loss and understanding with their mom and/or dad.
Billy Idol goes back on tour as Billy Idol. He’s touring the USA July-October 2019. Get your tickets!