at The First Direct Arena, Leeds, U.K. October 25, 2022

BILLY IDOL (Live at The First Direct Arena, Leeds, U.K. October 25, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

With a couple of rearrangements and changes to the supporting cast, it was finally time to welcome the King Rocker himself, Billy Idol, to Leeds for his first visit since appearing at the Fan Club back in 1978 with Generation X.

First up though was live-wire Toyah who managed to shoehorn no fewer than four Top 20 hits into her smash and grab, high energy seven song set including “Thunder In The Mountains” and “It’s A Mystery” alongside her vibrant cover of the classic Pop ditty “Echo Beach” and the foot-tapping “Space Dance” from her latest release Posh Pop. It was short, sweet and a lot of fun as her personality and enthusiasm really caught the imagination of the Leeds crowd.

As a late replacement for the veteran Television, Killing Joke were altogether darker as frontman Jaz Coleman’s manic grimace and Geordie’s hammer heavy riffs brought a real sense of foreboding menace to “Requiem” and “War Dance”.

“Eighties” elicited the best response of their set but much of the rest was possibly a little too leftfield for many although a hugely enthusiastic contingent piled down to the front to scream their support with “Pssyche” and “Pandemonium” sending them into delirium.

Billy Idol certainly needs no introduction after bursting onto the scene with Punk Rockers, Generation X in the late 70s before establishing himself as a solo artist during the 80s creating a couple of songs in particular that helped provide the soundtrack to that decade.

Making a dramatic entrance atop a platform in front of a huge video screen to “Dancing With Myself,” the old Generation X classic, later rerecorded and released as a solo single, kicked off the final night of his The Roadside Tour in ebullient fashion and was swiftly followed by “Cradle Of Love” and a hypnotic “Flesh For Fantasy.”

Decked in leather with his trademark spiked hair and snarling, turned up lip, Idol looked every inch the Rockstar with a voice that has retained its melodic, yet gritty edge despite the passage of time. His side-kick, the suitably coiffured guitar hero, Steve Stevens, all clad in black was outstanding, providing the metallic foil to Idol’s hook filled melodies. His mid-set Flamenco solo was jaw dropping and even paid homage to Van Halen’s “Eruption.”

It wasn’t all about 80s nostalgia though. His two recent EPs The Roadside and The Cage show an artist brimming with creativity with a musically stirring but lyrically dark, “Runnin’ From The Ghost” standing proudly alongside his classic songs. Even better was “Bitter Taste” where he channeled his inner Jim Morrison in a tale of anguish and fear following his motorcycle accident in the 90s. This may well be the best song he’s ever written.

Of course, “Mony Money” whipped the crowd up out of their seats and “One Hundred Punks” pleased 10,000 Punks in the crowd as Idol dipped back to his roots.

How could you possibly fail with a genuine cracker like “Rebel Yell”? Well, you can’t and Leeds went absolutely nuts as Idol brought the main set to a close.

Where could he possibly go after that? A suitably supercharged take on The Heartbreakers “Born To Lose” certainly helped but “White Wedding” meant that Idol’s first show in Leeds in over four decades will be remembered for four decades more.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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