Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Waltz’ (Live Bootleg) – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

A few weeks back, Lunchbox records posted on Facebook that they got in a bunch of bootlegs from Duran Duran and Billy Idol.  I will be honest, I don’t care about the Duran Duran bootlegs, but the Billy Idol peaked my interest.  It was around 6:30pm on a Saturday night and I mentioned to my kids we should go to Lunchbox, but we didn’t go.  We did go the next day on Sunday.  We left a little after 12pm and arrived just before 1pm and they were closed (Duh Duh Duh – dramatic music insert).

We forgot to check if they would be open and with the virus going around, I wasn’t sure now if they would open at all.  Lo and behold, they were going to open and that was going to be at 1pm which was in a couple minutes.  We were the first ones in and those Billy Idol bootlegs were still there.  Apparently, there are not of ton of crazies out there buying Billy Idol bootlegs…Who knew!!!


This is a typical bootleg from the 80’s.  The vinyl jacket is a basic all white cardboard with two print outs…one for the front and one for the back slid in to the clear plastic sleeve holding it all together.  The front cover says: “Billy Idol in New York City: A Hardcore hero comes home.”  Here’s the thing…the show is in Houston, Texas…not New York. Definitely not high quality work here ladies and gentlemen.  However, that is the beauty of these releases.  As you will see below, the actual vinyl doesn’t even have a label. There might have been one at one time, but after 35 years or so, there isn’t anymore.



The concert states that it was in December 1984 in Houston, Texas.  I can’t find a show in Houston at that time for Billy anywhere on the internet. The closest was one in September 1984 in L.A. and the set list was the same, but in a slightly different order.  Now that means the set list checks out for that time period. Maybe someone can confirm a show in Houston at that time for me.  Let me know if you were there.

Now discogs has this listed on their site with all the same info.  The price is on the low end $22 and high end of $60. And ebay has it for $47.  I got mine for $25.  Super excited at that price especially for the shape this thing is in which I think is pretty darn great.

The Track Listing…


Right out of the gate, there are a couple screw-ups on the track listing.  “Punk Rock” song is actually a song called “Baby Talk” from his debut E.P. ‘Don’t Stop’ and “Flash for Fantasy” is really “Flesh for Fantasy.  First two songs…WRONG!!  I really love those little mistakes on bootlegs.  It happens all the time as these people generally no nothing about the artist they are bootlegging.

How about the music?  Well, it is a soundboard recording and it is quite fantastic.  It is a quality release and Billy and the band sound amazing.  If this was ever going to be an official release,  I don’t think much would need to be done.

Side One:

The album kicks off with “Baby Talk” and it is fun dance song and has this whole old time 50’s rockabilly feel to it except here it is sped up even faster than the original.  The lyrics are silly, a little cheesy and yet this song works.  It will definitely get you moving.  We then slow things down a little with “Flesh For Fantasy”.  Of course, you can’t capture all the magic of that song live in the vocal delivery, but it is still a blast to hear this one live.  Billy does what he can with it as it is a hard one to sing.  There is a little blip in the recording during one of Steven’s guitar parts.

Then comes the title track to the album at the time, “Rebel Yell”.  I will admit the song doesn’t come across with as much gusto as you would expect.  Billy seems a little flat at first, but by the end he is in the groove. It wasn’t all Billy, musically a little dull to, but by the end of the first chorus, all is forgiven. And then suddenly it is over and the crowd goes crazy.  Wow, that was a short song.  I don’t remember it being that short.  The crowd screaming I feel lasted longer than the song.

This side ends with “Dancing with Myself” and this one they get right.  When Steve’s guitar riff kicks in, you get just as excited as the crowd.  Nothing new added to the song, played it the way it the way it should be as it is such a good track that will get the crowd jumping and dancing.  Nice way to go out on this side.

Side Two: 

The side opens with one of my favorite deep cuts “Do Not (Stand in the Shadows)” and after that song, Steve Stevens blast out a guitar solo right before “Blue Highway” kicks in.  It is short, but killer sweet.  And “Blue Highway” has more great guitar work and even sounds better than the original recording. Steve freaking kills it.

There is a slight pause and then they go in to “Eyes Without a Face” and you swear you were listening to the album. Okay, not really, but is still that good. Billy sounds a little crazy with this one on delivering the verses and it is…crazy good!

The set ends with “White Wedding” and what a way to go out.  The tempo seems a little faster than the normal song which gives it that much more energy and the crowd goes nuts.  There is some heavy keyboard near the end and of course, Steve goes berserk on the guitar.  Some really cool effects.  Steve sounded better in the mix on the second half than the first, but still great either way.

The great thing about this being ’84, is Billy was in his prime and Steve Stevens never sounded better.  The two together are magic and you can’t really have one without the other.  When it comes to bootlegs you don’t get much better than this.  This is easily a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars recording.  And to get one from the ‘Rebel Yell’ era is extra sweet.  This one will get played a lot!

Now, if you want to check out the full reviews and the entire Billy Idol Series, click on any and all of the links below…

  1. Generation X – ‘Generation X’
  2. Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
  3. Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
  4. Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’ (Bootleg)
  5. Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
  6. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  7. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  8. Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
  9. Billy Idol – To Be A Lover – Single Review
  10. Billy Idol – Vital Idol
  11. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  12. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  13. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  14. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  15. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  16. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  17. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  18. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  19. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  20. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  21. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  22. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
  23. Generation X – Generation X Deluxe Edition
  24. Billy Idol – Rebel Waltz: Live (Bootleg)
  25. Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

23 thoughts on “Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Waltz’ (Live Bootleg) – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

  1. This is cool especially its a soundboard recording. As well getting it at 25 bucks. That was worth the drive in to get it John.
    Blue Highway is a great track. Perhaps my fav off of Rebel Yell.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by!! This is a cool one to have as it did sound great and was a lot of fun. I never set out to collect Idol bootlegs, but I couldn’t pass them up. The next one is coming up in a couple weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I bought one of these new back in the 1980s. It cost me literally six times more than a regular chart LP. The experience of buying bootlegs back then was real under-the-counter stuff (or in this case, in a small dimly-lit and curtained off back-room behind the counter!). Sellers could name their price. And certainly did.

    My copy came without a label too, so it looks like that’s how they were originally pressed.

    Oddly for such a great recording (and fantastic performance) this show only recently seems to have appeared on CD. This time it claims to be from Poplar Creek Theatre in Illinois, June 1984….so the truth about the recording venue remains anyone’s guess!


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