Review: Billy Idol has some Hot Fun in Cincy, at the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend: Sold Out

By on June 29, 2023

In his signature outfit of black leather and chains, Idol tore through 14 songs (plus an extended guitar solo from Steve Stevens) in a 90-minute set that spanned his 40 year career. The 67-year-old punk rocker’s vocals were strong, but at 67, he didn’t quite have the energy he once had, but he commanded the stage through the sold out concert at PNC Pavilion at Riverbend in Cincinnati last Saturday night.

Photo of Billy Idol in concert in Cincinnati, 2023. Photo Credit: Larry Philpot of

Attendees knew they were in for a treat just looking at the crowd of scantilly clad women, some bikers, and a few women in bride outfits.

When the band started into Billy’s classic “Dancing With Myself,” before Billy sang the first line, the crowd rose to its feet and stayed there the rest of the night. “Cradle of Love” roared and wen’t right into “Flesh For Fantasy.”

Idol tossed in a couple tunes from his most recent EPs, and — something I absolutely love — became a storyteller, discussing the meaning behind those songs. “Bitter Taste” is about a motorcycle accident that nearly cost him his leg in 1990. I thought the song was called “A million ways to die”, and it was a hightlight of the night.

“Running from the Ghost,” a song about addiction, was dedicated to his grandchildren’s godfather, who recently died of an overdose. He added “This is a lesson to you younger people.”

Photo of Steve Stevens of Billy Idol’s band in concert, 2023 (Photo Credit: Larry Philpot of

Besides Billy’s hits, which were obviously highlights from the night, Steve Stevens (who’s birthday was the day before) was showcasted for a guitar solo near the mid-point of the set. Steven is a virtuoso among guitartists, and I’ve heard them all. His purple glitter guitar sounded like an electric flamenco session. Steve included a bit of Zeppelin’s “In the Evening” along with the opening bars of “Stairway” within his solo. He ended it with the excerpt from the movie “Top Gun” when the planes are returning to the aircraft carrier, and it was absolutely amazing.

Stevens would alternate taking the front of the stage between the Idol classics and gave Billy a slight breather.

Idol also talked at length about releasing a nine-song album, or EP that would be coming soon, but I really couldn’t hear the details as he revved the crowd.


Dancing With Myself
(Generation X song)

Cradle of Love

Flesh for Fantasy



Bitter Taste

Eyes Without a Face

Steve Stevens Guitar Solo / Over the Hills and Far Away / Stairway to Heaven
(Led Zeppelin cover)

Mony Mony
(Tommy James & the Shondells cover)

Running From the Ghost

One Hundred Punks
(Generation X song)

Blue Highway
(With “Top Gun Anthem” snippet)

Rebel Yell

Hot in the City

White Wedding
(Followed by Band introductions)

This was my first concert of the year, as things in the music business seem to be returning to normal after what we’ve been through the past couple years. I guess you can say that “It’s a nice day to … start again.”

The highlight of this show!

All photos copyrighted, Larry Philpot of