Pearl Theater, Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada US 6.3.20
This is the first of a six night residency at The Pearl Theater (yup er) in the Palms Casino Resort, about a mile off the strip, out from Caesar’s Palace.
Nice day for… my Wedding
How the hell did I end up at Billy Idol gig in Vegas in 2020? Earlier on this afternoon I married my partner Sally and we timed it to take in a gig or two, so this is special one. We arrived at The Palms in our wedding gear for a pre-gig wine in one of the casino bars. Turning up to a Billy Idol gig in a white wedding dress is one way to make new friends.
Before gaining entry some excited security staff took us off to take some photos in the makeshift Idol wedding chapel. Then it was in to The Pearl Theater, in the main standing area in this modern theatre with several tiers of seating behind and to the side. Capacity is 2,500 but no top tier in use tonight. The standing area is comfortable and open seats are full.
The ticket arrangements were a new one on me but having done it now it seems a really good anti-tout and anti-crooked resale measure. With ‘Will Call’ I was able to buy the tickets on the USA Ticketmaster site and then the only way you can get your tickets is by picking them up from the box office, with photo ID, after 3pm on the day of the gig. There is an official fansite resale channel if required. I was relieved to get the tickets in my hands after some other difficulties with a mobile ticket for another gig out here this weekend.
No support band. Guitar hero Steve Stevens is the last to emerge before Billy takes to the stage. There is another guitarist, keyboardist, bassist and a drummer in his perspex sound pen. Viva Las Vegas to open – what else.
A few songs from the ‘Kings and Queens’ album early on and Billy talked about how his dad would listen to that album when he was ill and dying, despite not really getting what he did. He dedicated The Ghost in my Guitar to him, from that album and images of his dad appeared on the backdrop. Touching.
Ghost in my Guitar: https://youtu.be/k7CacBiOB7Q
Eyes Without a Face was a favourite of mine – still have the gate fold sleeve single. Great song. That and Dancing with Myself were the more predictable highlights of the main body of the set but Generation X song Your Generation was the rare inclusion, so said one of our new buddies from Pittsburgh who had seen Billy Idol loads of times.
I never saw Billy Idol or Generation X back in late 70s early 80s. After he went to LA and played massive venues, I was less interested or he was less accessible I guess. It wasn’t until 2018 I saw him live at the Birmingham O2 Academy as part of an 8 gigs in 8 days adventure with gig buddy Dave (DPi). Great night with The Professionals supporting.
Early that day we were down at the venue advising the sign man of the correct spelling of Idol as he juggled letters on his step ladders.
I remember the days of staring up at the Generation X singles on the wall and in the window of Sunbury Cross Record Scene – coloured vinyls and multiple picture covers of one single. Forty odd years later and here I am in Vegas listening to Ready Steady Go and a rare airing of Your Generation. Dynamite. Couldn’t make this up. Special day.
The signed paper plate frisbies came out – of course Sally grabbed one – no one dare wrestle that from her…in her wedding dress.
All through there is guitar legend Steve Stevens as another focal point, occasionally wandering in solo mode – playing over and behind his head. Tops.
Time for Rebel Yell and onward towards the gloriously inevitable White Wedding (can you imagine if he hadn’t played it). It started with an acoustic intro and as Billy introduced Steve Stevens ..someone booed. “Show that c*nt what a hit single sounds like” rasps Billy and we get a two staged version, escalating from the acoustic opening.
Final encore was Mony Mony. Great night. Great day.
On to Chicago
On the Saturday 70s soft rock band Chicago were playing in The Venetian Hotel Theater where we were staying and so I’d bought tickets. Mobile tickets but bought through a US website which made for some difficulties which were eventually overcome. App trouble.
A ten piece band of excellent musicians. Three original members on drums, trombone and keyboards/ vocals, but all band members were excellent individually and able to fully flaunt it.
If you Leave me Now got played in the first 45mins. There are other soft rock ballads I remembered later in the second half like
Hard Habit to Break and You’re the Inspiration – a high note.
Some odd backdrop pictures later in the set – cheesy 70s photos that looked like dated advertising material – and an astonishing drum and percussion solo which saw drummer and percussionist swapping over roles during it.
25 or 6 to 4 to finish and everyone’s happy.
And finally… Big Elvis
The day before returning home we went in search of the Piano Bar in Hurrah’s Casino for an afternoon performance of Big Elvis. This was a recommendation by a Vegas cab driver – a free gig. He plays three times a day on three days here.
Great voice and entertainment for an hour. Something of a local legend. Check him out if you’re there.