Concert Review: Billy JoelBy Satwiksai Seshasai
He opened by saying, "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
And from there, Billy Joel gave, as would be expected, a first class performance perhaps for one of the last times.
Illness had forced rescheduling and many cancellations of concerts on what could be Joel's last national tour, leaving fans anticipating any concert that the famed musician actually performed. A sold out Hartford Civic Center crowd spanning at least three generations was on their feet the entire night in late December, appreciating their chance to see the great rock legend perform some of his greatest hits.
Joel set the stage by telling the audience his performance would be "a mix of some of the old shit, and some of the new shit." While he hastened to apologize for "not having any new shit," his sensational mix of songs spanning three decades demonstrated why Billy Joel is one of the greatest rock musicians of our time.
The classically-trained pianist began his success with the song "Captain Jack" which led to the production of his breakthrough "Piano Man" album. Throughout his career Joel has been known for refusing to compromise his artistic integrity for commercial success, waiting until his fourth album "The Stranger" for financial fortune.
Joel kicked things off with the old favorite, "Allentown." As the concert rolled on, Joel went on to please the fans with "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," "My Life," "Longest Time," "River of Dreams" and many of his other brilliant tunes. Joel displayed his ability to liven up the crowd when he demanded that they recite the words to "We Didn't Start the Fire" because he was feeling "a little rusty."
The most moving part of the concert was the performance of "Goodnight Saigon." Huge spotlights and sounds simulating a helicopter landing in the arena began the song about Vietnam which brought some audience members to tears.
The concert was complimented by Joel's ability to have fun while he performs. In addition to the many witty remarks he interjected between songs, Joel performed quite an impressive baton twirling act with his microphone stand.
A revolving stage, with three different pianos at different levels allowed Joel to perform for every section of the crowd. Although this may be his last concert tour, Joel demonstrated that he still had the energy and talent that made him a legend.
A double encore ended the concert, with the fans not allowing Joel to leave without bringing out his harmonica and playing "Piano Man." His performance lived up to the legendary status his albums have given him.
Last year, Billy Joel announced that he would no longer be writing any pop songs and would concentrate on his classical scores. Fans can still catch his music at locations along the east coast this spring. If this is his last concert tour of his rock and roll career, Billy Joel will surely be missed.