The sneer is still there -- along with the voice, the ripped physique, the hair, and the energy. That's right, Billy Idol, at age 57, still rocks. Hard. Idol proved he's still got his mojo Tuesday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall. In front of more than 2,000 screaming fans -- including some graying followers from the 1980s along with some relative youngsters -- Idol opened with a smoking rendition of "Ready, Steady, Go" and followed with "Dancing With Myself." After that the crowd never sat down and screamed like crazy when Idol stripped off his shirt to reveal his chiseled abs just before he rocked "Flesh For Fantasy."
In one stretch between lyrics, he autographed a few T-shirts, passed out drumsticks to throngs of out-stretched arms and made a show of toweling off his glistening torso. After the wipe down, he threw the sweaty towel in the cheering crowd, strutted to the stage's front row and, well, let's just say got personal with a dancing woman. The white-headed fan cheered and then so did her date, and then - so did the entire hall!
Between the fun in the two-hour set, Idol and his five-piece band were energized and tight, particularly lead guitarist Steve Stevens, who still sports a thick, sprawling head of black hair. Stevens tore off a few dynamic solos between the bands anthems "Rebel Yell," "Cradle of Love" and "Eyes Without a Face," and a particularly rousing cover of the Doors' "L.A. Woman." Idol wrapped up in the encore with "White Wedding" and "Mony, Mony" - and yes, everyone in the place chanted the naughty version. All in all, the most impressive part might be that Tuesday's performance is the 15th stop on 22 city tour that included the massive Bannaroo Music and Arts Festival last weekend in Manchester, Tenn. If Tuesday is any indication, Idol will rock hard to the end.