Seattle man gets Billy Idol to play his dream birthday

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Michael Henrichsen poses for a photo, Sept. 19, 2012 in his bedroom at his home in Seattle. Henrichsen created a website and enlisted friends and celebrities around the world in a two-year effort to convince Idol to come play a concert on Oct. 26, 2012 at a Seattle music venue to raise money for charity and celebrate Henrichsen's birthday. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE -- Michael Henrichsen has ideas about how he might celebrate his 26th birthday this week.

First, Billy Idol rolls up in a limo and tells him to hop in. There are women everywhere. Later, the British rock icon takes the stage and rips into "Rebel Yell" as 1,800 of his closest friends go wild.

Far-fetched? Maybe not.

After a two-year campaign to get far-flung friends together for a great time, the irrepressible Seattle man has persuaded Idol to play his birthday party Friday.

"This is surreal," Henrichsen says. "It should not be happening."

In October 2010, Henrichsen had just turned 24 and friends were getting married and moving away. He was working three jobs and making little progress paying off $40,000 in college loans.

Salvation came over the stereo at the clothing store where he worked. It was "White Wedding." Henrichsen turned to a co-worker and mused: "Wouldn't it be cool if we got Billy Idol to play at my birthday party?"

First, he and a friend built a website and filled it with endorsements from celebrities like Kevin Nealon, Rick Springfield and former Seattle Mariner Jay Buhner.

Local media began to notice. Google news alerts made their way to Idol's people, who called Henrichsen and told him the campaign was cool, but that they couldn't promise anything.

"When we first became aware of Michael's project we were inclined to see it as just another extreme idea from a well-meaning fan," said Idol's manager, Tony Dimitriades. "But as Michael's campaign continued, his persistence and resourcefulness won Billy over."

Finally, last August, Idol's people called from Japan, where he was touring, and said Idol was in.

"It's going to be pretty much the coolest night ever," says Henrichsen, whose birthday was Monday. "

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