Billy Joel fills 2 hours with all-American anthems
The legendary Piano Man Billy Joel put on a show at Consol Energy Center on Friday night that was everything you would expect from an artist of this caliber, with a two-hour set of his nonstop all-American anthems.
Joel's show showed the sold-out crowd heavily populated with 40- and 50-somethings an up-close look at the man's many talents, including singing his self-penned songs, playing the piano and harmonica, and entertaining the audience with his witty, engaging talk.
Even with thousands of people packing the big venue, Joel, as he told stories to the audience, made the concert somehow feel like a special performance, just for you. He joked as he regularly puffed his mouth spray that he called the Entertainer's Secret, sipped from a Billy Joel coffee mug, and looked into mirrors, commenting about how his 64-year-old self looks curiously like Joel's dad. Joel's body has aged, but his distinctive and rich voice barely has.
Joel spent most of the show singing into a microphone while playing his piano, “Piano Man” style. The piano stood atop a rotating circle on the stage, so that audiences in different areas could alternate getting good views.
During Joel's performance of the signature classic “Piano Man,” he played triple duty with vocals, piano and harmonica. He hung a harmonica structure around his neck, and alternated between blowing the recognizable harmonica tune of the song and stretching higher to sing into the microphone.
Joel's set included some older songs from the ‘70s that never became hit singles like “Zanzibar” and “Summer Highland Falls.” The audience roared when Joel gave us the fan favorites from the ‘70s and ‘80s — including “Movin' Out” (Anthony's Song), with the delightful ‘Cadillac-acacacacac' stutter and images of Brooklyn apartments — and a five-song encore that included the power anthems “It's Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “Big Shot, “Uptown Girl” and “You May Be Right.” Most of the fans at Consol seemed to know all the words by heart.
One of the evening's highlights was Joel's singing of the classic “Allentown,” which could have been a hometown song personalized for Pittsburgh. The song came with a backing video showing factories and what looked like steel mills, and images of bridges. And Allentown is, after all, in the same state of Pennsylvania. Joel's “New York State of Mind” came with visuals that felt like an aerial tour of Manhattan at nighttime.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 50th anniversary week celebrates city’s British Invasion by Beatles
- Classics radio still has a home on Western Pennsylvania dials
- Bassist Ulery creates jazz-orchestra hybrid on ‘Ivory’