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article imageReview: Billy Joel celebrates 50th consecutive residency show at MSG Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 29, 2018 in Music
New York - On March 28, veteran singer-songwriter Billy Joel performed his record-breaking 50th consecutive show at Madison Square Garden, for a sold-out arena.
Joel kicked off his note with the infectious "Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)," where neat images of the New York City skyline graced from the giant televised screen. Joel and his incredible live band picked up the pace with "My Life,"
and former professional ice hockey star Mark Messier came out to congratulate Joel for 50 consecutive shows, and raised a special banner for this milestone moment (for the most consecutive concerts at Madison Square Garden by any performer). "Baseball season starts tomorrow," Joel said, and expressed his gratitude for this recognition.
"Cool evening, New York City. Spring is here," Joel said, and immediately broke into "Zanzibar," which featured Carl Fisher (from South Shore Long Island) on trumpet.
For the following songs, he gave his audience a choice of which songs to sing, where the second choices reigned supreme. These included the gorgeous piano-driven ballad "Vienna," and "She's Got A Way," where he introduced his gifted musical director, David Rosenthal, on keyboards. "Then, we got divorced, and I learned how to live without her," he said, referring to the latter tune. "Shit happens," Joel admitted, and shared that he writes songs about what he knows.
After a sip of hot tea, Joel sang "All About Soul" and the melodically-stunning "The Entertainer." The iconic musician revealed that during the snowstorm (which felt like the "North Pole" for New Yorkers), he was away in Florida.
It was followed by "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," where orange lights dimmed from the stage. "This is our 50th consecutive show at The Garden. I want to thank you guys for buying the tickets," he told his dedicated fans. "It's not like I'm the most glamorous rock-star. It's not like I need more money."
He threw some doo-wop in the mix, where he and his band members joined him on "The Longest Time," with a sold-out venue of fans, serving as his background vocalists, during this fun singalong tune.
Joel took his fans back to 1973 to his Piano Man album with "Stop in Nevada," and it was followed by a trip to "Allentown," the latter of which was a breath of fresh air.
His acclaimed saxophone player, Mark Rivera, showcased his impressive talent on saxophone on "New York State of Mine," and then Joel made a lot of fans happy when he performed "The Downeaster Alexa." Equally fun was "Don't Ask Me Why" and he introduced bassist Andy Cichon from Adelaide, Australia.
Comedian Jim Breuer was his special musical guest, who joined him on stage for a distinct cover of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long," which was an added treat.
He noted that at the time, "Sometimes a Fantasy," was "too dirty" so a lot of radio stations did not play that song, yet by today's standards that would have not been the case. Joel and his band delivered a refreshing rendition.
"She's Always a Woman" was a song that resonated well with his Manhattan audience, and Mike DelGuidice showcased his mellifluous harmonies.
"The River of Dreams" was an instrumental masterpiece, and he introduced his multi-faceted multi-instrumentalist Crystal Taliefero on percussion. "You name it, she plays it," he said.
One of the best moments of the night was when background vocalist was given the spotlight to display his dynamic range on the Italian opera, "Nessun Dorma," which was controlled, emotional, resonant and powerful. This performance earned Joel and DelGuidice a standing ovation, and rightfully so. "That's Michael DelGuidice on vocals and guitar," Joel said.
Equally captivating was the lengthy yet timeless "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant," and he closed with his signature song, "Piano Man," and both of the latter two songs earned him and his band standing ovations.
After a few minutes, Joel returned for his encore, where Joel strapped on his electric guitar and played "We Didn't Start the Fire," where he and lead guitar player Tommy Byrnes were able to give the World's Most Famous Arena a valuable history lesson.
Mike DelGuidice and Joel rocked on "Uptown Girl," and it was cool to see Joel flip the microphone stand on stage at the end of "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me." After "Big Shot," he closed with the powerhouse anthem "Only the Good Die Young" and the remarkable "You May Be Right."
"The last time I saw Billy Joel was with Elton John at Yankee Stadium back in 1990," said Eric Hafker, Saint Francis Prep High School English teacher and published poet. "I can honestly say he performed at The Garden last night with the same joy, spirit, commitment and energy with his band-mates. Thank God it's all contagious with his audience. What an amazing show. New Jersey may have 'The Boss,' but New York has the 'Piano Man.' I am so proud to be a New Yorker."
The Verdict
Overall, Billy Joel and his entire band (under the exceptional musical direction of David Rosenthal) were superb for their 50th consecutive residency show at Madison Square Garden, which brings his total lifetime shows to 96 at this historic venue. He is perhaps the greatest "Entertainer" to grace that hallowed stage in the venue's history. Comedian Jim Breuer and ice hockey veteran player Mark Messier made this landmark show even more memorable. The amount of talent on that stage was tremendous, and it earned five out of five stars.
More about Billy joel, Rock, Piano, Madison square garden
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