On Music: In Super Overdrive Live a solid DVD offering from Billy Idol
By Jim Hagerty
When Billy Idol first hit MTV as a solo artist in the early ’80s, the industry wasn’t sure what to make of him. Stuck somewhere amid the sounds of rock, pop and punk, Idol’s swagger and sound blazed a unique trail that even some of his predecessors couldn’t dream of.
Now in his 50s, Idol has found himself with some of the same fans he mustered in ’82 when a self-titled debut spawned “White Wedding,” “Dancing with Myself” and “Hot in the City.” The former Generation X singer still basks in his punk roots, yet has managed to produce enough organic material that thwarts attempts to corner him as an ’80s act. Idol continues to prove he’s as contemporary as any new act out there.
A July 2009 show at Chicago’s Congress Theater set the stage for Billy Idol’s latest collection—a12-track piece of video history from, arguabley, one of the most identifiable acts in history. Shot for an episode of the PBS series Soundstage, the performance spawned In Super Overdrive Live, a DVD and Blu-ray collection is pure Idol—nothing added, and raw.
With just more than three months out, In Super Overdrive Live includes a longtime crack team Idol fans have come to know for delivering a solid live Billy Idol sound that rarely wavers from original recordings. The 70-minute disc features right-hand man Steve Stevens (guitar), Derek Sherinian (keyboards), Stephen McGrath (bass) and drummer Brian Tichy, who has worked with everyone from Ozzy Osbourne to Slash and is now touring with Foreigner.
The Eagle Vision recording was superbly done, capturing a sweat-filled energy in the famed theater as Idol works through ahead-of-their time classics like “Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face” and “Flesh for Fantasy.” In Super Overdrive includes new tracks and tunes Idol rarely performs live. “Super Overdive” and “Scream” are usually only dusted off for special shows, while “Cry” and “Touch My Love” were arranged for the project and could hint at a new Billy Idol studio album. While nothing has been officially announced, Idol is scheduled to join AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Aerosmith and others at the June 11-13 Download Festival at Donington Park (U.K.).
While a few tracks form the original Chicago show didn’t make the Overdrive Live project, the disc is a great buy, especially for those who own the 2001 Storytellers DVD.
From the Mar. 10-16, 2010 issue
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