Billy Idol ready to start Las Vegas residency

Billy Idol is launching his first Las Vegas residency Wednesday and he seems relieved to be here instead of touring Europe as it struggles with humanitarian, political and European Union crises.

“There’s a lot of disruption going on in some of the countries we play in — Germany and Austria. So I think just for this summer maybe, while it’s being sorted out, it’s not bad for us” to play Vegas, he tells me.

Idol inaugurates “Billy Idol: Forever” at the House of Blues in Mandalay Bay at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Doors open at 7 p.m. and there’s no opening act.

Idol and his band have been very frequent fliers not just to Europe, but also to Russia and Romania during the past 16 years, he says.

“We started to get to a lot of the (former Communist) countries that, when punk and Billy Idol first started, you just couldn’t go to a lot of those places,” he says.

All that traveling forestalled Idol’s group from making a Vegas residency happen.

“This was always in the cards, that we would do this. A few years ago, I came and saw Def Leppard doing a residency,” he says, “and it just seemed like a lot of fun.”

At age 60, Idol plans to keep getting shirtless at some point on stage. His Vegas shows traditionally have attracted many happy females.

“You never know when the time comes when you can’t do that anymore. Hopefully, I’m still in good shape to pull that off. That’s the fun of it!” he says with a laugh.

His musical legacy is considerable. “White Wedding,” “Rebel Yell,” “Flesh for Fantasy,” “Dancing with Myself,” “Hot in the City,” “Eyes Without A Face,” “Mony Mony,” “Cradle of Love” and “Sweet Sixteen” come to mind.

Idol says he’ll be doing “a lot of our usual hits,” in addition to fan-favorite deep cuts of his ’80s pop superstardom with guitarist Steve Stevens, and his days in one of the first punk bands, Generation X.

“We don’t always play songs like ‘Shock to the System’ from ‘Cyberpunk,’ or ‘Daytime Drama’ from ‘Rebel Yell,’ or even ‘The Untouchables,’ a Generation X song,” he says.

“That’ll be fun, and hopefully fun for the audience.”

Show dates: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday; March 23, 25, 26; May 4, 6, 7; May 11, 13, 14; Aug. 31; Sept. 2, 3, 7, 9, 10; Oct. 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 22. Tickets: $80-$150.

MONSTER TRUCKS, MONSTER TRUCKS, MONSTER TRUCKS

One of the biggest family-friendly events of the year is plowing its way to Sam Boyd Stadium on Friday and Saturday ($43-$315).

Legendary Illinois driver Tom Meents has a huge stunt to pull off. He recently ramp-jumped his Max-D Monster Truck over three other trucks. In Vegas, he’ll jump five Monster Trucks.

Meents, typically fueled by Mountain Dew and Ho Hos, tells me he won’t employ an engineer or physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to help figure out the calculus of ramp degrees.

“There really won’t be much practice. There’s going to be a lot of speed. It’s gonna be a leap of faith,” he says. “I’m going to rely on my 23 years of experience.”

Meents was the first Monster Truck driver to do a backflip with his truck, but he’s also done a front flip and a double back flip.

“Doing never-before-seen stunts is what really lights my fire these days,” he says. “It’s just amazing when you see a vehicle that’s well over 10,000 pounds and can fly high and move that fast.”

If he had his way, Meents would work with the Strip to let him jump one of those pedestrian bridges. Although that would take so many legal releases it might be called “Lawyer Jam.”

Also heading to Monster Jam in the Max-D truck is Meents’ son (legally his stepson, but Meents hates that word) Colton Eichelberger, an Illinois State University student who competed at Monster Jam last year for his first time at the not-so-tender age of 18.

“We’re gonna go out, and we’re gonna go big,” Eichelberger says.

Eichelberger was born to be a Monster Truck driver.

“A lot of kids play Xbox and PlayStation. I never had one of those. I was always the kid who was outside,” he says. “I was 6 or 7 when I was building ramps and putting cars out in the street — and watching cars run them over.”

Eichelberger moved into Meents’ house when he was 9, when he was learning to ride a Yamaha 90 dirtbike during motocross freestyling in Meents’ yard.

Aren’t these guys worried about anything?

“You’ve gotta throw fear out the window,” the son said. “If you think about it too much, that makes people nervous. Some of the crazier and best things happen when you don’t think about it.”

Like what?

Like the time Meents drove his truck over his own house, and then smashed the house to death.

“It’s called ‘The Big Stunt,’ right?” Meents says.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here with my PlayStation 4.

A MODEL AND HER BOYFRIEND

Sports Illustrated cover model Hailey Clauson was all over the Wynn-Encore properties this weekend, celebrating her 21st birthday like a hostess with her boyfriend and nine friends in tow.

They ate at Jardin, drank Grey Goose and Jack Daniels in a bungalow at Encore Beach Club, dined at Andrea’s, partied at Encore Players Club, and returned to Grey Goose at Surrender nightclub.

So who’s the boyfriend? His name is Julian Herrera. He’s a model. Don’t be a hater. She’s a 21-year-old model. Who’d you think she’d be with?

Photos on his Instagram show him holding a bottle of Jack while crashed out in a Vegas bubble bath, as if Vegas wrecked them, but you know, who believes photos anymore?

NEWS & NOTES

French artist Georges Rousse on Monday witnessed the first permanent public installation of his colorful-amid-industrial art, in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Since famous art is almost always commercial art on some level, this makes sense: His work has been blended into the architecture of a Starbucks. Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, which serves dishes such as cast-iron Idaho trout and “Juniper lemonade” in Downtown Summerlin, will open another restaurant in Town Square come fall.

And since some of you complain about how Vegas doesn’t have enough culture: Local poetry wrangler Lee Mallory has announced one of the original beat poets,Michael McClure, will deliver a lecture and writer’s workshop April 30-May 1. Details of when and where to follow. And if you can’t relate to poetry, McClure wrote the lyrics to Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz,” and partied, I mean, worked, with the Doors.

SIGHTINGS

Los Angeles Ram (and former UGA running back) Todd Gurley ate boat scallops and crispy lobster tails at STK with friends on Saturday. How’s that for specific? We know what he put in his mouth.

Pop singer Cassie took friends to Tao Asian Bistro in The Venetian on Sunday, sharing miso soup, chilean sea bass, spring mountain roll and spicy tuna tartare on crispy rice.

“Manzo’d with Children” co-stars Albie Manzo, Chris Manzo and Greg Bennett also dined at Tao on Sunday, munching chilean sea bass, Buddha chicken, sausage fried rice, five spice short rib and lobster wontons.

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. He can be reached at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman. On Twitter: @VegasAnonymous

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