Through a door painted with nude women, Billy Idol arrived on the stage at Capital Centre Sunday night like a rock god, fists raised, platinum hair puffed up. He ran through his recent hit "Cradle of Love" and earlier faves such as "White Wedding" and "Flesh for Fantasy" with workmanlike efficiency. The crowd's screams sometimes drowned out the band, especially when Idol showed his torso. But their Idol-mania couldn't cover the star's obvious fatigue.
The effects of his motorcycle accident earlier this year were apparent as he limped bravely around stage, dancing as best he could. At one point he pulled up his pants leg to show the scars. While his "rebel" yells were frequent and on the mark, the energy level often fell.
It was the quieter moments that stood out, such as "Sweet Sixteen," which began as a country tune with Idol on acoustic guitar and ended in a mild reggae groove. "Eyes Without a Face" also allowed the focus to fall on his striking vocals: He treats syllables as separate words and bends them with his resonant British baritone.
When the focus shifted to the stage props (a huge prostrate naked woman, wormlike tubes spewing smoke, strange beasts with tails and skulls aplenty) it detracted from what was otherwise a lesson in rock showmanship.