I was fifteen when I saw Billy Idol in concert in Dallas. It was the first real rock concert of my somewhat grown-up life. I had seen concerts when I was younger, living in Akron...the most memorable being the Cleveland Philharmonic doing a performance of the 1812 Overture, in which they fired off forty or so cannons. That was impressive. But I was only 8 or 9 years old then. I also saw Barry Manilow and Sha-Na-Na around that time, but those don't count, either.
My friend Chris Freezzo's brother took us. My friend from Akron, John Shalowitz, was visiting in Texas that summer. John taught us the secret words to yell back during, "Mony, Mony." It felt pretty damn cool at fifteen to be at a rock concert yelling, "Hey, get laid, get f%^$ed!"
It was a great show. This was in the old days, you know, when MTV played music videos. Well, maybe you don't know. Let me tell you: a long, long time ago, MTV played music videos. All the time. Stupid reality shows hadn't even been invented yet. Music videos were like really short shows with one song playing in the background.
It's a lost art these days, but back then, music videos were quite popular, and Billy Idol put out a lot of them, so I was quite familiar with his songs and the complexities that make a concert worth going to. I mentioned the callback for "Mony, Mony" but there were more, ever so complex and subtle crowd-participation cues, that I was happy to participate in:
During "Rebel Yell" we cried, "More, More More"
During "Dancing With Myself" we sang, "Oh-oh-oh-oh"
During "Flesh for Fantasy" we yelled, "Flesh!"
And, for the most complex bit, during "White Wedding" we all screamed, "Start again!"
There were also lights and fire, which took the awesomness up to eleven. And at fifteen, there were no sex or drugs (although I did have a pack of cigarettes...but I was too scared to smoke one in front of Mark Frezzo, because I didn't know if he would tell on me). It was just pure rock and roll.