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Review: Billy Joel headlines Madison Square Garden just in time for Thanksgiving 2022

On November 23, Billy Joel headlined Madison Square Garden in New York just in time for the American Thanksgiving holiday.

Billy Joel
Billy Joel. Photo Courtesy of Myrna Suarez
Billy Joel. Photo Courtesy of Myrna Suarez

On November 23, Billy Joel headlined Madison Square Garden in New York just in time for the American Thanksgiving holiday. He played for a sold-out venue.

Joel began his show promptly at 8:20 p.m. and he kicked off his set with “A Matter of Trust,” and immediately followed it up with “Pressure” and “The Entertainer,” which he shared was from his “Streetlife Serenade” album from 1974.

He revealed that “The Entertainer” was the “one song” that the record company decided to release as a single. “I don’t pick the singles, they do,” he admitted.

“Thank you very much,” he said, welcoming the audience at the “World’s Most Famous Arena.” “Good evening, welcome to Madison Square Garden. We are the house band, and I want to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m glad we’re not playing Thanksgiving Day because I’ve done that, and the audience really stinks. I’m serious you get this turkey and stuffing smell and it’s not fun,” he said jokingly.

After this moving ballad “Just the Way You Are,” he performed “Zanzibar,” and he noted that it came out in 1978 and was featured on his “52nd Street” album.

He tipped his hat to Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones with “Start Me Up” and immediately broke into “An Innocent Man,” which he performed standing up and displayed his ability to belt the high notes.

A neat moment was when he brought out his daughters, Della and Remy, on stage with him to perform their favorite song “Don’t Ask Me Why.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer went on to sing “Modern Woman” from his 1986 album “The Bridge,” and continued with the fan-favorite “The Downeaster Alexa,” where everybody was singing along with him.

After “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song), he took his audience on a visual trip to “Vienna” thanks to the impressive scenery on the giant video board. Equally glorious was “Allentown” prior to placing his audience in a “New York State of Mind” where he was accompanied by Mark Rivera on the saxophone.

Other noteworthy songs were “I Go to Extremes,” “My Life,” and “All for Leyna.”

Equally fun was “Sometimes a Fantasy,” and he picked up the pace with the catchy “Only the Good Die Young,” which was the quintessential singalong. “The River of Dreams” was an instrumental and vocal masterclass courtesy of Crystal Taliefero and Joel.

DelGuidice showcased his tremendous voice and range in “Nessun Dorma,” and Joel closed out with his signature hits “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” and “Piano Man,” both of which earned huge standing ovations.

For his encore, he stood up and switched over the electric guitar and gave everybody a history lesson with “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” It was followed by the upbeat and catchy “Uptown Girl,” as well as “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.” After “Big Shot,” he closed with “You May Be Right,” which was juxtaposed as a medley with Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” which was sung by Mike DelGuidice (who ironically enough also fronts the Billy Joel tribute band Big Shot).

Throughout the show, Joel introduced and spotlighted each band member for their unique talents: Mark Rivera, Crystal Taliefero, Tommy Byrnes, David Rosenthal, Andy Cichon, Carl Fischer, Chuck Burgi, and Mike DelGuidice.

The Verdict

Overall, Billy Joel gave his New York fans a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday: good music, good friends, and family. He put on a memorable live show at Madison Square Garden as part of his monthly residency.

Joel’s voice was as rich and resonant as ever, and he was able to put smiles on everybody’s faces, especially when he brought his two young daughters on stage with him. His show garnered two giant thumbs up.

To learn more about Billy Joel, his music and his tour dates, check out his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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