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Billy Idol Köln 2018Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, Germany
17th June 2018
Billy Idol & Kaiser Franz Josef

The shocking-blonde Rock rebel returned to Germany for several concerts, one of them at the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne. BILLY IDOL has built musical bridges between Punk and Hard Rock and fascinated the music world with ‘Rebel Yell’, ‘Dancing With Myself’, ‘Flesh For Fantasy’ or ‘Cradle Of Love’. He made an amazing comeback in 2006 with the CD ‘Devil's Playground’. After more than a decade, the Punk provocateur returned to the stages, which he captured with shrill songs, aggressive attitudes and the charm of the middle finger. Now, BILLY IDOL finally came back to Germany!

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Born in England, BILLY IDOL met with like-minded SEX PISTOLS, THE CLASH and GENERATION X, whose vocalist he eventually became. In the early 80s he moved to New York and then to Los Angeles, where he still lives today. The international breakthrough came with ‘Rebel Yell’ (1984), which reached #2 in the charts in Germany. The single ‘Sweet Sixteen’ from the third album ‘Whiplash Smile’ developed in this country to his most successful hit single. A serious motorcycle accident, in which he barely escaped death, overshadowed the release of the CD ‘Charmed Life’ (1990), which nevertheless caused a sensation. Unbridled drug use led him to the brink of existence. The reflection came only with the total retreat into private.

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BILLY IDOL has left the excesses behind, but in his music and live on stage he has remained uncompromising. With ‘Devil’s Playground’ “he zoomed the listener back to the time when, after hard nights, there was no headache and a lot of things were really fucking shitty” (Stern). In October 2014, BILLY IDOL returned with a double strike: Almost at the same time as the release of his album ‘Kings & Queens Of The Underground’, he released his autobiography titled ‘Dancing With Myself’, making for plenty of conversation. Despite his over 30 years of music career, BILLY IDOL is still a Rock rebel par excellence. /

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Music & Performance
Blonde hair, an upper lip and a fist, all pointing to the sky! That has been the Rock icon BILLY IDOL since the early 1980s and it still works today. You do not notice the phases of excess as much as the decade of absence. At his side, there is always guitarist Steve Stevens! BILLY IDOL gave a concert at the Tanzbrunnen in Cologne that was not only fun for the fans. The London-born musician celebrated his life’s work and nearly eleven thousand spectators celebrated their hero. It was a journey back to old times when many of the present spectators enjoyed their rebellious phase, the love and the long nights.

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Before Billy and his band entered the stage, the Austrian band KAISER FRANZ JOSEF opened the evening in a rainy Cologne. Luckily, just for the start of Billy’s show, the short rain showers were over. At 8 pm, a visibly happy BILLY IDOL entered the stage and stepped in front of an audience that covered all possible social groups - fans of the first hour, rebels of modern times and families with their children. Songs like ‘Rebel Yell’ or ‘White Wedding’ seemed to connect not only different age groups… As the sun broke through the clouds, the evening opened with the song ‘Shock to the System’ and it immediately caught everyone in the audience. The lips were moving, the fist was racing, the sombre and rough voice was chasing the ears and it was as if he never has been away.

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There was full energy from the first moment! During the opening song exceptional guitarist Steve Stevens impressed with the first interlude and he showed that he has lost none of his charm and his skills. The interaction of Stevens and Idol as equal partners on stage completes the show perfectly. Everyone was already singing on the second song, ‘Dancing with myself’. In the 25°C sweltering night, there was no break to get to take a breath. Idol stood on stage after this song with bare belly and leather jacket. ‘Scream’ following short after, got a hands-on intro: when asked if they want to scream, the audience cheered of course! During the show, the crowd sang familiar songs, like ‘Cradle of Love’, ‘Eyes without a Face’, ‘Dancing with myself’ or ‘Rebel Yell’ in unison.

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In the middle of the set, it was time to give the guitar more space in the show again. The next solo of Stevens ended after about eight minutes with Spanish-style and Classical sounds in thunderous applause. Stevens still remains one of the best of his guild! The overall song range reached from Hard Rock classics to more relaxed hymns. But still, not all classics of Idol’s back catalogue were part of the set that was played in one and a half hour. But even the newer pieces did not leave anybody disappointed. BILLY IDOL thanked fans and musicians and the outdoor stage was called to life for the last song with ‘Rebel Yell’. The following encore was starting with ‘White Wedding’, followed by a drum solo and of course the TOMMY JAMES & THE SHONDELLS cover ‘Mony Mony’ before the fans were released into the night.

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

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