I basically grew up listening to Billy Joel in my house. You grow up listening to what your parents like obviously. For some people it’s Bruce, some Metallica (I guess), but for me it was Bon Jovi but more Billy Joel. Billy Joel is to New York what Bruce (and JBJ) are to NJ. The guy is a legend. There’s home videos of me at like age 2 jamming out to In The Middle Of The Night. For years my dad has been trying to get my brothers and I to see Billy Joel live with him. He’s been essentially following the man around the country for like 35 years dating back to the 70s. Last night he got 1/3 of his wish as we teamed up at MSG. Never seen the Garden so packed in my life by the way. But it was a great time. I’ll be honest I knew maybe half of the songs he played, and I knew the words for like 3 songs.
– There were a lot of old white people, nothing unexpected (average age about 40).
– There was a lot of foot tapping, probably more than I’ve ever done in my life.
– There was a lot of finger snapping, surprisingly. I got over the hand clapping thing real fast.
– There was a lot of dancing in place. Space is limited, therefore options are limited. Had to adjust and succumb to the “step left, snap, step right, snap” move immediately.
– There was a lot of me pretending I know the words only to spit out the last 2 words correctly.
– There were a lot of opportunities for Step Brothers Catalina Wine Mixer quotes, but nobody would have understood (refer back to average age).
New York State of Mind, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, In The Middle Of The Night, Only The Good Die Young, Movin Out, She’s Always A Woman To Me, and of course Piano Man. I’ve heard stories about hearing Piano Man live, but it’s tough to put into words. 20,000 people singing the last chorus together, no music, no Billy Joel, just the fans singing the ever so popular lyrics. Big time chills when I first heard the harmonica at the beginning of the song too. Powerful stuff.
I was very impressed with Michael Hammer’s performance. He was telling me stories about previous shows, what song was from what album and what year, whether or not it was a popular song or not. For the first hour he was a real team player, sitting, not being overly crazy. His singing didn’t bother me the least bit. But I could tell it was killing him to sit down the whole time until he finally broke out the air piano during Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, which continued throughout the remainder of the concert. Anyone can do the air guitar, but it takes a special breed to kill it on air piano. Sadly I have no video evidence, only memories. All in all, awesome show. Billy Joel live concert is now officially highly recommended. For an old man, he can jam.
PS. Mike Hammer looks like Billy Joel.