So as I mentioned in a recent blog post, last Thursday I saw Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden and then on Friday I saw Billy Idol at Pier 97 on Manhattan’s west side.
I am a much bigger Billy Joel fan, I have all of his music, 95% of his lyrics memorized, he’s a NY legend, I’ve already seen him 8 times in concert… I’ve never seen Billy Idol before, I only really know about 7 of his songs, maybe all of the lyrics to only three of them… and I enjoyed that concert so much more.
The difference was the energy for a number of reasons.
Obviously the music styles are completely different, Joel a balladeer/soft rocker with occasionally flashes of spunk; Idol a punk rocker. Heck, even his slow songs have edge, one is even called “Flesh for Fantasy”.
A big factor was where I was where I was sitting. I wasn’t so high in the garden, but I was at the long end across from Billy Joel.
Billy sounded great still, even hit the high notes that he had once given to someone in his band. Sure we still sang along, but at that distance we sat through everything and only stood for the ending applause and the encores. Plus, quite often, he stops in between songs to talk to the crowd. And he also doesn’t move around the stage a whole lot anymore. Yes, the piano is a stationary object, but in the 80s and early 90s he’d have keyboards in other locations and would play to different sides. I understand… He’s 66.
He brought out The Young Rascals’ Felix Cavaliere and they did their hit Good Lovin’:
And I was with one friend who’s another Billy disciple, and another friend barely knew his music.
For Billy Idol, my view was this:
Idol is not the draw that Joel is (especially in New York City) so it was a much smaller venue. Outdoors. It was general admission, standing room only. The friend I brought is a former rocker, heck he’s played keyboard for a band that once opened for Motörhead in Germany. He’s even had blue hair with earrings on both ears.
We got there early so we were pretty close. So we screamed and yelled the lyrics and general craziness. Even for the songs I didn’t know, I always know where to place Idol’s trademarked “yeeOOOOOOOW!”
Although his voice is not what it once was… Idol, 59, has found the fountain of youth, still looks relatively the same and very punk. In great shape enough to eventually take off his shirt
Not that it particularly turned me on, but it’s a noticeable difference from Joel’s noticeable age and buttoned up shirt with a tie.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a big Billy Joel fan, but I’ll never see him again in this type of concert venue unless I’m on the floor.
PS Billy Idol closed with Mony Mony. To my chagrin, not that many people sang along with GET LAID, GET FUCKED as I’ve blogged about.
PPS On last night’s date, as we walked to the main road where the bars were, we heard a band at a bar playing Mony Mony… and yes, people responded GET LAID, GET FUCKED!
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