The Piano Man Rules!
I was excited to see Billy Joel in concert at Fenway Park last night; it was my first time seeing him at his own show since 1977. I did see him with Elton John in 1994 on the first ‘dueling pianos’ tour but that wasn’t only his music.
This was a wonderful concert! Billy was firing on all cylinders and had the crowd hanging onto his every note.
I apologize up front for the less-than-usual quality of the photos; I was far back on the field. Many of the shots are of the big screen.
Before taking the stage, the theme from the movie ‘The Natural’ was playing in a nod to the show being held in a ballpark. Smart idea!
As soon as Billy and his band took the stage, the crowd rose onto its collective feet, singing along with Billy and seemingly knowing every word. Billy started at the guitar playing ‘A Matter of Trust’ but quickly moved to the piano. After all, we were there to see the piano man…
The setlist comprised his entire career, from his first studio album to his last (twenty years ago!). There was no way he could have played every hit in his repertoire; if he had, we’d still be sitting at Fenway!
Billy has a terrific band with him, many of whom have been with him for many years. Tommy Byrnes on lead guitar and backing vocals; Andy Cichon on bass guitar and backing vocals; Dave Rosenthal on keyboards; Chuck Burgi on drums and percussion; Crystal Taliefero on percussion, backing vocals, saxophone, and harmonica; Mark Rivera on guitar, backing vocals, saxophone, and percussion; Carl Fischer on trumpet, trombone, and saxophone; and Michael DelGuidice on guitar and backing vocals comprise the band.
Billy personalized the show for Boston, playing some of ‘Sweet Caroline’, one of the anthems used at Red Sox games. Part of the set was a rewritten ‘New York State of Mind’ – it became ‘Boston State of Mind’, and was written by a Bostonian after the tragedy of the Marathon bombings. The song made its way to Billy, who knew that a New Yorker could not sing it in Fenway Park, so teenager Emma Stanganelli sang it instead. I do wish he had followed it by singing ‘New York State of Mind’ himself since it is one of his iconic songs.
He also acknowledged last year’s Boston Marathon bombing.
All of the songs they performed were done wonderfully, especially ‘Scenes From An Italian Restaurant’.
I thought that the lighting, live shots, and the video on multiple small screens added to the show and was extremely well done.
During the encore, Zac Brown (who is playing two sold-out shows at Fenway Park this weekend) sang lead on ‘You May Be Right’. I wish Billy had sung lead.
Gavin Degraw opened the show. I knew his name but did not realize how many of his songs I knew. I recognized at least half of his set.
A friend who was at the show said that you know it’s a great show when, even though he didn’t play your favorite songs, you still think the set list was incredible! That it was!
Billy thanked us for coming out and supporting him, which he thinks is amazing for someone who hasn’t put out an album of new music in twenty years! I believe it’s a testament to his 30+ top 40 hits and his enduring musicianship. I have loced you since your first album, ‘Cold Spring Harbor’, was released in 1971 and the love affair continues. Thank you, Billy, for making music all these years…
Posted on June 28, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Andy Cichon, Billy Joel, boston, Chuck Burgi, concert review, Crystal Taliefero, Dave Rosenthal, Fenway Park, Gavin Degraw, Mark Rivera, Michael DelGuidice, Piano Man, Tommy Byrnes, Zac Brown. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.
regarding the Boston State Of Mind Song, I think you may want to know the background. After the horrendous tragedy that occurred in April 2013, my friend Patrick Garrett re-wrote the lyrics to NY state of my to show his love for Boston. I jumped in and got Emma to sing on a video that showed all of the wonderful places around Boston. We put the video together to show support to the survivors and to get people to donate to the onefundboston.org. When we found out that Billy Joel was coming to town I started a campaign to get him to allow the song to be sung at Fenway. That Tuesday before the concert we were told it may happen. On Thursday, Emma was told to be at Fenway at 3:00 and only had 1 hour to rehearse with the band and Mr. Joel. She also had to learn the song in a new arrangement. Mr. Joel did not write the lyrics, a Bostonian did. Emma, a wonderful mature teenager took on the responsibility of showing love to Boston. She was tremendous. Mr. Joel knew a New Yorker couldn’t sing a song about Boston in Fenway Park. He made the perfect decision. We have received countless emails and messages saying it was the best part of the concert. Mr. Joel himself as well as Mark Rivera and the other band members were blown away by Emma’s maturity, ability and bravery. Hope this clarifies why Mr. Joel did not sing the song himself. Boston Strong
Thanks for the facts Noreen. I wish we’d known it that night…
I wish many knew that too. I thought maybe Billy Joel would give a little background information about the song but it didn’t happen. Here is a link to the original video if you are interested.