Saturday night, I scored concert tickets to see Billy Idol and guitarist Steve Stevens. An acoustic, two-man show, the concert was the best of both worlds to highlight why Idol and Steve have deserved every accolade as songwriters and musicians.
A consummate storyteller dedicated to music, Idol drew out the crowd, often celebrating Stevens as his fingers blazed across his strings—and vice versa. A collaborative performance, the songs speak to 30+ years of friendship and music-making.
In an intimate setting, Idol and Steve were accessible and “wrapping-paper free”—and not just because we were sitting twenty feet away. The show gave off MTV’s Unplugged vibes in the best way possible. Before hits like “White Wedding” and new-to-me songs like “Bitter Taste”, Idol told stories about the inspiration and the memories surrounding those tunes.
There was one story, in particular, that emotionally resonated with me. He was describing May 2020, the month where the reality of the pandemic was sinking in, and he thought about what he could do to reach people. Acknowledging that shit is hard, the bad-to-worse times and people not doing well, he drew from his own, terrible experiences—an awful, life-changing bike accident—to help others.
“Bitter Taste” is Idol’s pandemic song, but it’s also a reminder the bad and the terrible are lessons inviting us to come face-to-face with who we truly are. The brutally honest song is not a testament to tragedy, but to the choices Idol made in spite of his scars and survivor’s guilt. The lesson for all of us: Do we keep living so hard or not?
The only bummer was that I didn’t get to meet them. Wound up thanking them on Insta instead. Technology! Why? Well, we missed the meet-and-greet before the show. (Didn’t know about it; we thought it’d be afterward!) If high-fiving (or elbow-bumping because friends, it’s still a pandemic) them is your jam, make sure you review your show’s details beforehand.
For tickets and availability, Idol and Stevens on Ticketmaster. Watch for a new album next year!