Veteran rocker Billy Idol talks up his new Las Vegas residency

Billy Idol gives good “Yeah!”

The veteran rocker/curled-lip-incarnate carpet-bombs conversations with exclamatory affirmatives, which roar out of him like backfire from an exhaust pipe.

It’s both a gauge of and an accelerant for Idol’s already enviable enthusiasm levels, undiminished 63 years in.

What’s gotten Idol particularly stoked at this particular moment is the set list for his 10-show stint at The Pearl at the Palms, which launches this weekend.

“The great thing about doing the Vegas show is that we do some songs that we don’t normally play,” Idol says. “There are some deep cuts or B-sides or Generation X stuff that we don’t always do. So, if you’re a fan and you’ve seen multiple shows, you do get something different that you haven’t seen before. And we do change the sets up from night to night so that if you do come to a couple of shows, you will see a slightly different selection.”

Idol, who just officially became a U.S. citizen in November (“It’s fantastic”), returns to Vegas after a lengthy residency at the House of Blues that wrapped in October 2017.

This time, a bigger venue equates to a bigger show.

“We’re going to have some interesting staging, an interesting light show,” he says. “We didn’t really have much staging at the House of Blues. There’s a little bit more of a production going on in terms of what they’ll be seeing as well as hearing. It’s a nice change-up.”

Rock ’n’ roll is dead?

Idol’s return to Vegas is a timely one, in a way.

Much has been made about the diminishing chart presence of rock ’n’ roll.

In 2017, hip-hop surpassed rock as the most-consumed genre of music for the first time, according to Nielsen Music’s year-end report.

Twelve months later, none of Nielsen’s Top 10 Albums of 2018 were rock records.

inline-smallBilly Idol promises heightened production values for his new show at The Pearl. (Rob Fenn)

But Idol is a rock ’n’ roll lifer who took the music to the pop charts in the early ’80s, a somewhat unlikely crossover star.

With his trademark cat-that-ate-the-canary sneer, porcupine-prickly peroxide blond hair and vacuum-sealed, studded leather wardrobe, he was one of the first punk rockers to leer his way into the mainstream upon going solo from London’s Generation X in 1981.

While Idol had the punk look and background and he remains adept at singing with a snarl, he was weaned on classic ’60s British pop. His songbook has always reflected as much, heavier on the hooks than the hardcore hellfire.

As such, Idol became an MTV fixture upon the release of his second record, 1983’s “Rebel Yell,” his telegenic ’tude making him a bona fide superstar.

And so he’s as qualified as any to comment upon rock ’n’ roll’s slip in popularity.

There’s just one issue: He’s doesn’t see any such slip.

According to Idol, rock’s relative vitality is largely a reflection of geography, with Middle America — and Las Vegas by extension — remaining strongholds for bands that still wield guitars.

“When we play, there are slightly different audiences on the coasts as opposed to the center of the country,” he says. “In the center of the country, it’s still very much a rock ’n’ roll world. They’re die-hard rock fans, and I think you get a lot of those people coming to Vegas to holiday. That’s another reason to be doing a residency in Vegas, because you are reaching those people who really do truly love rock ’n’ roll.”

‘We’re not just playing by the numbers’

Idol says that his show is balanced between catering to the die-hards who want to hear the aforementioned, seldom-aired album cuts and newbies primarily drawn to the hits.

But it’s not just what songs the band plays, it’s how they play them.

“For instance, take a song like ‘Prodigal Blues’; it was on the ‘Charmed Life’ album,” Idol says. “That was the one album that (guitarist) Steve Stevens wasn’t on. So what’s really exciting is playing some of the ‘Charmed Life’ stuff and you get to hear what Steve Stevens would have done if he’d recorded these songs. They’ve been Steve Stevens-ized, if you know what I mean.

“There are things like that going on,” he continues. “We’re not just playing by the numbers. There’s no phoning it in in our world.”

Or Las Vegas.

“(People) come there expecting the best entertainment,” Idol says. “They’re going to get the best entertainment. And I’m going to be one of the people providing it.”

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Entertainment
Meow Wolf opening "otherworldly" art experience in Las Vegas
Meow Wolf opening "otherworldly" art experience in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Yard House margarita changes color in the glass
The cocktail, as made by lead bartender Taylor Cole at Town Square in Las Vegas, changes from deep blue to magenta because of a chemical reaction between its butterfly pea flowers and citrus agave. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Black History Month Festival
Las Vegas residents gathered on Saturday, February 16, 2019, at Springs Preserve, 333 S. Valley View Blvd, to celebrate Black History Month. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
You Can Design With 3D Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum
You Can Design With 3d Printers, Laser Cutters And Ceramics At Discovery Children's Museum (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Champagne vending machine at Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas
One of only a few in the country, the Moët & Chandon machine at the Waldorf Astoria in Las Vegas is stocked with Imperial Rose for Valentine’s Day. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas Valentine’s Day desserts
Mio Ogasawara of Sweets Raku and Rebecca Bills of Gen3 Hospitality in Las Vegas create elaborate Valentine’s Day desserts. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
One Night For One Drop
Cirque du Soleil cast and crew donate their time and talent to this year's "One Night For One Drop" performance at the "O" Theatre in the Bellagio. The event takes place March 8, 2019, and benefits the One Drop organization. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Chinese New Year Parade
Chinese New Year parade takes place on Fremont Street. (Bill Hughes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Manzo restaurant a key part of Eataly
Nicole Brisson, executive chef of Eataly, at Park MGM in Las Vegas, talks about new restaurant.
Designer Makes Festival-style Crowns
Designer at MAGIC trade show Makes Festival-style Crowns (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Excalibur Raises tent that will house "Fuerza Bruta" show
Workers at Excalibur raised a tent, which will be the home of "Fuerza Bruta," a temporary show that will run from March 7 to September 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Roc Boots Make For Glittery Festival Wear
With 3-inch-tall chunky heels, cleated platforms, and sparkly glitter, you’ll want to wear these to dance the night away. Sally Cull, product and development for Roc Boots Australia, assures you that you can. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get A Custom-painted Jacket At Las Vegas Fashion Event
On the first of the two-night Commotion event, clothing brands connected with consumers, offering shopping, giveaways and customization opportunities. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Venetian Celebrates The "Year Of The Pig"
The Venetian hosted dancers to celebrate the Chinese New Year and "Year of the Pig." The dancers performed a traditional eye-dotting ceremony and lion dance. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pepe the truffle-hunting dog
Jose Andres knows that quality black truffles can also be found in his native Spain. He’ll be sharing some with the world for a week, starting Monday. From Feb. 11-17, his Cosmopolitan restaurant Jaleo will be showcasing four special dishes made with Spanish truffles discovered by the truffle-hunting dogs of his friend Nacho Ramírez Monfort. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tony Abou-Ganim mixes drink at Libertine Social
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, helped change the cocktail culture in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Masaharu Morimoto talks ramen in Las Vegas
Masaharu Morimoto talks about bringing a ramen restaurant to Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morimoto considering full-time Las Vegas ramen spot
Morimoto talks about a full-time ramen spot in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new home at Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign is working it's way to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to Neon Museum Boneyard
The famous and newly restored, Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has been moved to its permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign moves to new Las Vegas home
The famous and newly restored Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign has moved to a permanent home at the Neon Museum Boneyard in downtown Las Vegas. It will be moved in six pieces and take five days for reconstruction. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas band Otherwise release song and video in tribute to slain cousin
Adrian and Ryan Patrick, brothers in the band Otherwise with drummer Brian Medeiros, talk about the release of a tribute song to their deceased cousin Ivan. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Las Vegas residency
Artist Joshua Vides created a "White Wedding" chapel for Billy Idol's Vegas residency (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas
Try the Burning History cocktail at Zuma In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
ad-infeed_1x2_1
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing