Face Value

A hero needs a weapon, and Billy Idols face is his

And that message? "You could be king/I could be king," he sings on "Shock to the System," echoing not just Bowie's relatively timid "We could be heroes," but quoting one of the oldest, boldest anti-authoritarian mantras extant in Western culture, stretching back through the Situationists all the way to the Guild of Assassins that skulked through the Byzantine shadows. Really, it's nothing less than a dismantling of the traditional concept of hero, a snarled re-definition designed to imbue every listener with the power and instructions they need to remake the world as their own—"[to] be a king." In Idol's sneer: revolution, centuries in the making. In Idol's peroxided hair: untapped heroic potential. And in Idol's face? Nothing less than the future—for those who can recognize it.

Billy Idol performs at the House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583. Wed.-Thurs., Dec. 27, 9 p.m. $42.50. All ages.
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