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article imageReview: Billy Joel celebrates 70th birthday at Madison Square Garden show Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 10, 2019 in Music
New York - On May 9, Billy Joel celebrated his 70th birthday at Madison Square Garden as part of his monthly residency. The "Piano Man" proved that he only gets better with age.
This marked Billy Joel's 110th career lifetime show at the "World's Most Famous Arena," Madison Square Garden. He kicked off his show with "Big Shot" and he picked up the pace with "My Life." He took time to interact with his audience as he welcomed them to The Garden for his birthday show and showcased his witty personality.
Joel was surprised by Pink who sent a video greeting to him, where she sang an a cappella song from his catalog and praised him for being the best. He also polled the audience as to whether they want to hear "Just The Way You Are" or "Vienna," and the crowd chose the latter tune. With the help of modern technology and video graphics, he was able to take his fans on a virtual journey to "Vienna."
After "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," he honored Dion with "Runaround Sue" and threw some doo-wop in his set with "The Longest Time," where his talented band members joined him on background vocals. Equally superb was his rousing rendition of "The Downeaster 'Alexa'," which he sang with maximum soul.
"The Entertainer" was a synth and keyboard masterclass thanks to Billy Joel's musical director, David Rosenthal. Country king Garth Brooks took some time from his schedule to wish Joel a "Happy Birthday" via a video message and he sang "Don't Ask Me Why" for his daughter Della Rose, who joined him onstage with Alexa Joel Ray and his wife, Alexis.
It was followed by "Keeping the Faith," which was the quintessential crowd singalong and his oldest daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, joined him onstage for a remarkable duet of "New York State of Mind," which featured her rich, husky vocals. Veteran band member Mark Rivera was sensational on saxophone.
The piano-driven ballad "She's Always a Woman" was poignant, and no Billy Joel concert is complete without a trip to "Allentown." Peter Frampton was his second musical guest of the evening, who joined him for two vivacious songs "Show Me the Way" and "Baby, I Love Your Way," where he accompanied himself on acoustic guitar.
He continued with a few other fan-favorites such as "Movin' Out," which featured visually striking scenery on the video board and "I Go to Extremes." Don Henley of The Eagles also took some time to wish Joel a "Happy Birthday" via the giant televised video screen.
It was followed by the mid-tempo and sassy "Sometimes a Fantasy" and "Only the Good Die Young" was another gem. Paul McCartney of The Beatles also expressed his birthday wishes to Joel.
Crystal Taliefero helped deliver a glorious rendition of "The River of Dreams," while Michael DelGuidice left his fans breathless after a riveting version of "Nessun Dorma," which earned a tremendous round of applause and rightfully so. He closed with two ultimate standards: "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" and "Piano Man," prior to returning for an encore of four additional classics. Peter Frampton joined them on "You May Be Right," which was sheer bliss.
The Verdict
Overall, Billy Joel proved that he is still young at heart at his headlining concert at Madison Square Garden. His love and zest for his craft is infectious.
One of the highlight moments of the evening was when his wife and daughters joined him onstage to sing with him. Compliments to a job well done to his gifted band members. These include Tommy Byrnes from South Shore, Long Island, on lead guitar, Chuck Burgi on drums, musical director David Rosenthal on keyboards, Mark Rivera on saxophone, Crystal Taliefero on percussion and saxophone, Andy Cichon on bass, Carl Fisher on trumpet and trombone, and Michael DelGuidice on rhythm guitar and backup vocals.
This "Piano Man" is a timeless "Entertainer," to quote two popular song titles of his, and Joel's music will be around forever. His live birthday show at The Garden garnered five out of five stars.
To learn more about Billy Joel and his music, check out his official website.
More about Billy joel, Birthday, Madison square garden, piano man, New york
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