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.

Billy Joel

Billy Joel

This was a wonderful concert! Billy was firing on all cylinders and had the crowd hanging onto his every note.

Billy

Billy

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…

Billy on guitar

Billy on guitar

Billy and band

Billy and band

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!

Piano Man!

Piano Man!

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.

Mark Rivera

Mark Rivera

IMG_8715

Carl Fischer

IMG_8703

Billy with Andy Cichon and Crystal Taliefero

IMG_8773

Crystal, Andy, Tommy Byrnes, Carl and Mark with Billy (and his fly swatter!)

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.

Emma Stanganelli with Mark

Emma Stanganelli with Mark

He also acknowledged last year’s Boston Marathon bombing.

All of the songs they performed were done wonderfully, especially ‘Scenes From An Italian Restaurant’.

Billy and band

Billy and band

I thought that the lighting, live shots, and the video on multiple small screens added to the show and was extremely well done.

Video during 'Allentown'

Video during ‘Allentown’

PIano Man

Piano Man

Video

Video

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.

Billy with Zac Brown

Billy with Zac Brown

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.

Gavin Degraw and band

Gavin Degraw and band

Big screen

Big screen

 

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…

About suze72

I've loved the arts all my life... I go to a lot of concerts, take lots of photos and want to share them. Every once in a while I do something other than a concert, too. The Boston area is full of opportunities to indulge my passion - I'd like to help make it yours too!

Posted on June 28, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. 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

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