Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, The Ace Hotel, March 15, 2019
Friday nights in Los Angeles are always my favorite. A long work week has come to an end, and now it’s time to play! Most Friday nights end as a blurred memory over time, but this Friday night was one for the books that I will never forget. Music is the one thing my family and I could bond over, and punk rock legend Billy Idol was always one of the favorites when growing up. I always had a few of his vinyl within close reach.
I arrived at one of the most beautiful venues I have had the opportunity to be in, The Ace Hotel. As I assembled my gear, I looked around in awe of the detail in the room. We’re not here to talk about that though, you want to know about the show! Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, names that everyone knows, even if you’re somehow not a fan. The show was sold out of course, but as I waited for the show to begin I heard people complaining. When I listened closer the attendees were upset that it was an acoustic show and not the full band. For one, I was baffled that people were unaware of this detail, and secondly, it’s Billy fucking Idol and Steve Stevens! How can you be at all displeased?!
The lights dimmed, the cheering erupted, and Idol and Stevens took the stage with a Generation X song, Dancing with Myself. The crowd stood up from their seats and began dancing. It is odd hearing toned down versions of punk rock songs, but Idol and Stevens did it. I grinned ear to ear hearing favorites Whiskey and Pills, Eyes Without a Face, Flesh for Fantasy, the list goes on. What made the show though was Idol’s charisma. I had no clue! It was an absolute treat! He had his fans engaged, laughing, on the edge of their seats, and at one point crying. Idol told the story of his father’s passing and how it leads into the next song Ghosts In My Guitar. I promise you that if he tells this story, you will cry as well. Hit me hard in the feels…
The tears don’t last long though as Idol and Stevens kick things right back up with more fan favorites and a solo by Stevens that will turn your brain off in the best way. Hearing only Steven’s guitar, no thoughts are magical. Idol returns to tell more stories, one of my favorites was a party with the Rolling Stones that Idol attended, and where the song title Rebel Yell originated from, leading into a fan favorite that had fans leaving their seats to get closer to the stage to dance and sing, Idol turning the microphone out to the crowd to sing the parts of ‘More, more, more“. Idol and Stevens closed out their long set with what other song than White Wedding. Anyone who was somehow still sitting down was now standing and singing as loud as they could, the excitement from the crowd was deafening.
Idol and Stevens expressed extreme gratitude to their fans and said goodnight. The auditorium emptied, and I kept my ears open for any unsatisfied fans. Not a single complaint! I only heard excitement and people telling one another how amazing the show was, even strangers bonding that had been in seats next to one another saying let’s grab a drink. This is what all shows should be. Appreciation to the fans, and from the fans. Strangers bonding over the universal language that is music. I will never forget my night at Ace Hotel with Idol and Stevens, or Idol’s stories. These two prove that even if it’s an acoustic show, it can still be punk rock.
(Review and Photos by Erica Vincent)
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