Billy Joel…Yesterday & Today

It was over 50-years ago (1973) that we first heard Billy Joel and “Piano Man”.  Joel then became one of the world’s most successful singer/songwriters, with 20-years of hit singles and hit albums.

He even outsold Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson in the U.S.  But that was yesterday, and yesterday’s gone.

“Today” (2024), Billy Joel released his first original Rock/Pop song in over 30-years, “Turn The Lights Back On”.  On March 28th, 2024 he performed his 100th sold out show at the 20,000-seat Madison Square Garden in New York City.  Except for a time during COVID, Joel performed at M.S.G. every month since 2014.

After month’s of promotion, CBS televised an edited version (14 of 25 songs) from that 100th concert on April 14th, 2024.

The concert was beautifully filmed and edited.  Billy Joel was in very good voice (for a 75 year old), and the band was top notch.  TV viewers in the Eastern & Central Time Zones had the concert start a half-hour late, because of a golf broadcast overrun.  Then near the conclusion of the show, Joel’s signature song “Piano Man” was cut off mid-song as the network went to local news.  The outcry was such that CBS scheduled a rebroadcast.  They should have aired it commercial free.  The original broadcast had so many commercial breaks that four individual songs had breaks on both sides of them!

By the way, “You May Be Right” mixed in some of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll” to great effect.  Here’s the running order of the original 25 songs from the March 28th concert, as shown on the setlist website.  Of the songs left out of the TV concert, “The Longest Time” deserved to be included…in place of one of those commercial breaks.

It’s been exactly 40 years (April of 1984) since my wife and I saw Billy Joel live in concert.  It was his Innocent Man tour.   He was really excellent, and he looked like this.

It was a pleasure to see him in the new television concert, along with saxophonist Mark Rivera who was also at the 1984 show.  Billy Joel may not look the same…

…but he has the same sense of humor, and still delivers a great show.  Here are some screenshots from the broadcast (click to enlarge).

While Billy Joel has been prominent in New York during his decade-long concert series at The Garden, he was mostly out of the national picture for decades.  However he’s been doing short tours recently, including with Stevie Nicks and with Sting.

If you watched the TV concert, you saw that the audience was loving it, and were enthusiastically singing along.  Joel charted 33 Top 40 hits and has a bunch of famous album tracks.  So he could have played for a lot longer…except CBS would have cut him off!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *