It was a totally unexpected pleasure to be invited along to the Billy Joel concert by Liz and Darcy. When the ushers were escorting us to our seats I couldn't believe how close we were getting... Even more unexpected when we ended up 5 rows from the stage, front and centre.
Great music, and the songs cued memories right through the 70s-90s. Although I don't think I'll ever hear his music again without remembering this particular concert, and this particular night. Liz knew all the lyrics.
The audience held a fairly young crowd, considering the time frame, but on the other hand, the tunes really do stand the test of time. I never really appreciated how much of a storyteller Joel was until this concert, hearing all the songs back-to-back. My favourites all seem to have a touch of melancholy. Or maybe it is just the brass section, wailing away.
It comes down to reality, and it's fine with me cause I've let it slide.His New York accent and tough tone are part of his stage persona, but a self-deprecating sense of humour also shone through the night. At the opening, gazing up at himself on the giant video screen, he said he was Billy Joel's dad, standing in because Billy wasn't able to make it himself. He joked about coming on to 65 and still working.
I don't care if it's Chinatown or on Riverside.
I don't have any reasons.
I left them all behind.
I'm in a New York state of mind.
Later he stopped singing We Didn't Start the Fire mid-song when he muffed up the lyrics and then confessed he never liked the melody much, and thought it was one of his worst songs. He wanted to skip it entirely until shouts from the audience convinced him otherwise.
Joel was spritzing his throat frequently to help keep his voice in top performance mode. Occasionally he would take a break and seemed genuinely moved when the gathered fans sang the choruses of their most beloved tunes, like Piano Man.
Sing us a song you're the piano manDid he even know when he wrote that song in 1973 that he'd still be singing it at 65? Lucky for us.
Sing us a song tonight
Well we're all in the mood for a melody
And you got us feeling alright
Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)
And So It Goes
The Downeaster Alexa
New York State of Mind
Sometimes a Fantasy
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
She’s Always a Woman
Don’t Ask Me Why
River Of Dreams/Hard Days Night
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
We Didn’t Start The Fire
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
You May Be Right
Only the Good Die Young
set list courtesy of review by Jane Stevenson