It was vintage Billy Idol during his high-energy performance Friday night, July 19, on the Chumash Grandstand Arena at the California Mid-State Fair. Idol, with his signature spiked white hair, fist pumps and lip snarls, performed many of his memorable classics including "Rebel Yell," "Flesh for Fantasy," and concluded the night with an encore of "White Wedding."
Idol was the featured performer of the Fair’s Evening of Rhythm and Brews. Tables were spread out on the floor of the grandstand arena, but no one was sitting when Idol took the stage and they continued to stand for the duration of his nearly 90-minute show.
Idol, 63, got the evening started on the right foot and had fans singing along to one of his biggest US hits “Cradle of Love.” It reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. The song was on Idol’s fourth studio album “Charmed Life” and remains his first, and so far only No. 1 hit on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the United States.
He continued his opening with two more of his top 40 hits — “Dancing With Myself” and “Flesh for Fantasy.”
Idol was an early architect of the sound, style, and fury of punk rock. His lip-curling sneer and fist-pumping persona vaulted him into the mainstream as one of MTV’s first megastars, making him one of the most recognizable faces in pop music, while selling out arenas everywhere he played. He has sold 40 million albums while scoring numerous platinum albums worldwide, nine top 40 singles in the US and 10 in the U.K.
Idol hasn’t stopped making music. He returned to the spotlight in the fall of 2014 with two high profile releases that marked the latest chapter in the long and remarkable story of a musician, an inventor, a survivor, a father, a son, a man who returned from the brink, and a rebel whose yells made the mainstream sit up and pay attention.
“Kings & Queens of the Underground” released in 2014 was Billy’s first album of new material in nearly a decade. The album’s palette includes incredible contributions from Idol’s longtime collaborator and lead guitarist Steve Stevens. It was produced by Trevor Horn with two tracks co-written and produced by 2017 Grammy Producer of The Year winner Greg Kurstin. It’s been described as full of thumping, cinematic songs about sin, redemption and the love of rock’n’roll.
Sandwiched between “LA Woman” and “Eyes Without a Face,” Idol performed the single “Ghosts in My Guitar” from “Kings & Queens of the Underground.”
Idol, together with his band featuring Stevens, have been touring heavily during the past five years. He has more than 20 shows scheduled for the remainder of 2019.
As he exited the stage, Idol thanked the crowd in true Idol fashion by dropping an F-bomb.
The 2019 California Mid-State Fair runs July 17-28 and this year’s theme is “Let’s Have S’More Fun!” Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.