Built in the shadow of Truist Park (home to the Atlanta Braves), the Coca-Cola Roxy played host to legendary rocker Billy Idol on a drizzly and unusually cold Wednesday evening in the South. Opened as recently as 2017, this venue is a cornerstone destination within The Battery Atlanta, a mixed-used development of restaurants and condominiums adjacent to the ballpark. Inconveniently, early concert goers who lined up hours before doors were scheduled to open had to navigate additional evening traffic and crowds, as the Miami Marlins were also in town to face the Braves.
Out on the road in support of Idol was New Zealand singer-songwriter Kelsy Karter, perhaps best known for her viral moment back in 2019 when she supposedly tattooed a picture of Harry Styles on her face to promote her single, “Harry.” Dressed in a knotted white t-shirt and black leather pants, Karter, along with her bandmates Sebastian Boyse (drums), Tommy Gent (bass), and Matt Peach (guitar) – otherwise known as The Heroines – kicked off the night at 8pm in front of a capacity crowd.
Karter’s stage charisma immediately captivated the audience for the next 30 minutes, with the band delivering a condensed 8-song performance that included four tracks from her 2020 release, Missing Person. While I certainly enjoyed her originals and the band’s talented musicianship, the highlight for me was Karter’s vocally amazing rendition of the ’80s hit “Alone,” the i-Ten song that reached number one on the charts thanks to Heart‘s 1987 cover version of the same song.
As the story apparently goes, Karter and The Heroines were handpicked by Idol guitarist Steve Stevens to join the tour after he came across “Alone” on social media. Karter and team have a bright future ahead of them, so do yourself a favor and arrive early to take them in if you are planning on catching this tour when it winds through your town.
Following a 30-minute stage prep, the venue lights dimmed across the sold out crowd at 9pm to the audience’s screaming delight. Under the cover of blue lights and smoke, Stevens, along with Stephen McGrath (bass), Billy Morrison (guitar), Erik Eldenius (drums), and Paul Trudeau (keyboards), took their spots prior to the iconic Idol commanding the spotlight to lead the band into the opening tune of the night, “Dancing with Myself.”
As the show started, my immediate observation was that the band’s production was not anchored in large video screens, pyrotechnics or other visual distractions, instead leaving Idol’s adoring fans the ability to just focus in on enjoying his trademark sneers and punk rock poses. As the band rolled early into fan-favorites “Cradle of Love” and “Flesh for Fantasy,” Idol strutted back and forth across the stage, engaging the floor and balcony multi-generational attendees with smiles, finger-pointing and fist pumping. Even at 67-years-old, Idol still oozed rock-n-roll rebelliousness.
Idol wouldn’t be Idol without longtime partner Stevens, who in my opinion is one of the most underappreciated rock guitarists of this generation. His distinctive style and tone are the secret sauce behind the band’s biggest hits, and he, like Idol, has a unique flair that draws you in. That was never more evident Wednesday night when Stevens dropped the “Top Gun” movie anthem on the crowd, followed by a military salute.
While Idol did perform a selection of tunes from his more recent EPs, The Roadside (2021) and The Cage (2022), the majority of the night delivered upon classic radio tracks including “Eyes Without a Face” and “Mony Mony,” with the high-powered hit, “Rebel Yell,” closing out the opening set. These songs were definitely a trip down nostalgia lane for the heavily over-50 crowd, and while Idol generally left the high notes to the fans, the walls echoed with elevated audience participation when called upon.
After a brief break, the band retook the stage to perform a two-song encore, which first included the immediately-recognizable tune “Hot in the City,” followed by a rousing performance of quintessential Idol, “White Wedding,” to cap off the night.
Idol will be out on tour through the end of May, wrapping up this set of dates on Saturday, May 20, at the Cruel World Festival in Pasadena, California.
Billy Idol Band
Billy Idol – lead vocals
Steve Stevens – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Stephen McGrath – bass, backing vocals
Billy Morrison – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals
Erik Eldenius – drums
Paul Trudeau – keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals
1.) Dancing With Myself (Generation X song)
2.) Cradle of Love
3.) Flesh for Fantasy
6.) Bitter Taste
7.) Eyes Without a Face
8.) Steve Stevens Guitar Solo
9.) Mony Mony (Tommy James & the Shondells cover)
10.) Running From the Ghost
11.) One Hundred Punks (Generation X song)
12.) Blue Highway
13.) Rebel Yell
14.) Hot in the City
15.) White Wedding
Follow Kelsy Karter Online:
Follow Billy Idol Online:
Elliott is a music photographer covering shows in Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding area. The highlight of his photography career was back in the early ’90s, when he sold Neil Diamond the rights to his negatives from a show and then purchased a set of tires for his 1979 280ZX during college with the money.