Billy Idol – “BFI Live” – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

On November 25th, 2016, Black Friday or another Record Store Day, Billy Idol released a special edition 3 LP vinyl Live Album!!  The release were highlights from his 2014-2015 Kings & Queens of the Underground Tour.  I say it is highlights because the songs are from various different shows from around the world and not one full show.  I am sure he went and grabbed the best versions of each song.

The album was limited to only 2000 copies, each hand-numbered and exclusively on vinyl as the only physical release. The album is available digitally as well (which also comes with the Vinyl version.  It is a beautiful set and the sound is amazing.  Here’s the only problem.  I was unable to snag a copy during its initial release.  I am keeping a watchful eye on eBay and Discogs to find a reasonably priced one for sell and then I will grab it.  So, this review is really just a review of the digital release.

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BFI?  What does that stand for?  I think it is Billy “Fucking” Idol.  I also think BFI is the name of his label as well.  Whatever it stands for, BFI Live is fantastic.  The sound quality of each recording is crisp, clear and loud!  Was it cleaned up in the studio…probably, but who cares.  It is still live for the most part and that is all that matters.  It captures the essence fo a Billy performance and that is all you really want anyway.  Okay, I guess it is missing a little of the roughness that happens during live shows so that might be the only negative.

The release has 16 tracks from 10 different cities including Houston, Vienna, Munich, Atlanta and even Council Bluffs (wherever that is).  The setlist is greatest hits set live basically.  It is everything you would want to hear and expect to hear at a Billy show.

He does 3 songs off the latest album and they are “Postcards from the Past”, “Can’t Break Me Down” and “Save Me Now”.  Two of the first three songs are off the new album which is smart as people tend to go to the bathroom or get a beer (or both) when a song comes on they don’t really know.  When the show opens up, the crowd is so energized, that isn’t going to happen.

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It is a high energy show and Billy and Steve Steven show no signs of slowing down.  The songs are kept pretty much to their original format with the exception of a few lyric changes such as “LA Woman” (the Doors cover) being changed to “Portland Woman” and Billy asking “Nashville to Dance” on “Dancing With Myself”.  Billy and the crowd seem to be having a wonderful time.

Steve Stevens sounds really great with his guitar work especially on Flesh for Fantasy and the one song I didn’t know when looking at the track listing. It was “Dementia” which turned out to be a wonderful Steve Stevens guitar solo.  I didn’t know guitar solos actually had names other than “Guitar Solo”. Seriously though, the song is actually off Steve’s solo album “Flamenco a Go-Go” from 2000.  Kinda nice Billy let him highlight one of his own songs.

The songs cover most of Billy’s career with even a song from his Generation X days, “Ready Steady Go” which Billy seems to love to still play and Steve adds a whole new magic to it with his playing.  You also get the story behind the song “Sweet Sixteen” which Billy tells with such enthusiasm.  Before that story, a woman screams “I Love You!!!” and immediately Billy responds back “I Love Me Too!  That makes two of us”…it was a very funny moment I am glad they left in.

And let’s talk about how he ends this album.  The album ends with 3 of his most iconic songs and I could imagine the crowd going nuts and loving everything about it.  He ends with “Rebel Yell”, “White Wedding” and “Mony, Mony”…what an amazing way to go out.

All-in-all, this is a hell of a live set and since Billy has only released one other live album (VH1 Storytellers), I will take what I can get.  I loved this set and I am eager to go out and find the physical copy after listening to this.  With 16 songs and 1 hour and 40 minutes of music…it is simply wonderful.  I will give this a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars and only deducting because it is too clean…I mean I don’t think Billy misses too many notes and I don’t think that is possible (I have never seen him live so can’t say for sure).  If you are out and about and come across it (somehow), grab it.  You won’t be disappointed.

If you want to check out the other reviews I have done so far for the Billy Idol Series, click 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’
  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 – Vital Idol
  10. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  11. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  12. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  13. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  14. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  15. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  16. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  17. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  18. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  19. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  20. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  21. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
  22. Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

Up next will be Billy Idol’s ‘Revitalized’.

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Billy Idol – ‘Kings & Queens of the Underground’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After Billy’s last greatest hits album “Idolize Yourself”, things went quiet.  From 2010 – 2014, Billy worked on the next project.  Along that same timeframe, he was also working on a book that chronicle his life called “Dancing with MySelf”.  The album and book were both released in October 2014 and I guess you could say the album was a soundtrack to that new book.

For me, the album, called ‘King & Queens of the Underground’, should have been called ‘Postcards from the Past’ as the songs seem to have that retrospective feel and were snapshots of his life and career.  There is a lot of soul-searching going and it feels like a cathartic exercise in releasing his demons.  It was the perfect companion piece for the book.

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For the recording of the album, Billy worked mostly with Trevor Horn of the famed band, The Buggles.  Keith Forsey, who produced most of Billy’s album was not back for this one.  I don’t think there were any issues, I believe Billy was wanting to explore new ground.  Trevor brought Billy back to 80’s sound more so than the ‘Devil’s Playground’ did.  There were a little more synthesizers/keyboards than in the past and it was utilized perfectly.

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