Sunday, May 25, 2008

Concert Review: Billy Joel

Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
It takes a decent artist to please the crowd in a church basement, a great one to do so in a theater, and a legend to do it in an arena. Ignore the fact that, by that logic, Miley Cyrus is a legend. Focus instead on just how far Billy Joel's come from that cocktail pianist job that inspired "Piano Man".
Now he's playing his originals at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Crowds can't get much bigger than that, and the legend delivered. The packed house spent the show dancing, singing along, and throwing their fists in the air.
That's because Mr. Joel has many, many more talents than Miss Cyrus. He doesn't need a platinum blond wig to bring down the house - his opener, "Prelude/Angry Young Man" did that just fine. He kept the momentum going with hits like "My Life", "Zanzibar", and "Keeping the Faith".
The energy never died down all night, only reaching new heights with the biggest surprise of the night - a cover of "Highway to Hell", with a roadie named Chainsaw on lead vocals and Billy on guitar. After a few more piano-less songs, "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me", Billy and the band teased us with a short break before busting out the two heavy-hitters, "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" and "Piano Man", with "Only the Good Die Young" thrown in the middle to calm things down just a little. Just a little.
This master musician is worth seeing any day. He gives the people what they want - the best of his many compositions, with surprises, comedy, and "Highway to Hell" in between. Billy doesn't play in bars anymore, because that kind of room can't contain the explosion of entertainment he delivers.

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