The 80s rock icon lit up the Petrillo Music Shell stage at the 36th Annual Taste of Chicago.

09-July-2016: With summer in full swing, it was time for Chicago’s iconic Taste of Chicago festival. Five full days of food and music, with Saturday night’s main stage honors falling on Billy Idol, the former member of English punk band, Generation X, and the solo artist made famous in the 80s by MTV. Stepping out onto the stage donning his iconic blond spiky hair, Idol took the audience on a whirlwind trip down memory lane to the 80s. It wouldn’t be a Billy Idol show without covering the hits – “Rebel Yell,” “White Wedding,” and “Dancing With Myself” to name but a few.

The Brit had the audience on their feet, dancing along from the first to the last beat, punching their fists in the air along with the lead man.

Whilst it might be Idol’s name as the headliner, this was most definitely not a one-man show. Steve Stevens showed his guitar prowess off to its full capacity, making every guitar solo look totally effortless, even casually playing his guitar behind his head. Stevens even took the time to throw in a Led Zeppelin medley, as well as the Top Gun theme song, which many did not realize he had written. He is a talented and technical guitarist who demonstrated his versatility by playing some of his flamenco-influenced material.

The camaraderie between Idol and Stevens was fun to watch, and it was clear they were feeding off the energy of the crowd. Idol put on a performance with all the passion you would expect; he has not slowed him one bit. Judging by the audience reaction, they clearly agreed.

It was a short set for Idol, spanning just an hour and fifteen minutes, but it certainly packed a punch. They managed to include the majority of the big hits, along with a healthy dose of newer songs from his 2014, Kings & Queens of the Underground album. With so many hits and popular songs under his leather studded belt, you would be hard-pressed to fit them all. Fan favorites like “Sweet Sixteen,” “Hot in the City,” and “Mony Mony” unfortunately did not make the setlist.

Taste of Chicago is a free live music event. It is impressive to think of the numerous musicians that have performed throughout the five-day extravaganza, including headliners such as Billy Idol. As the festival crowd filtered out of Grant Park, it was clear that his larger-than-life persona had permeated the audience with fans adopting Idol’s punk swagger as they strutted their way home.

Billy Idol picks up with an extended stay in Las Vegas on August 31 with his Billy Idol: Forever at the House of Blues. Check his website for more details.

Billy Idol
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Taste of Chicago
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About The Author

Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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