(clearly too tired to turn the cameras sideways that night 😦 )
I’ve been to some great concerts. The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour, Bon Jovi at Commonwealth Stadium and the Sheepdogs at a local bar; there have been tons of great shows over the years, but none compare to seeing Billy Joel perform in New York.
I’ve been waiting years to see him. Hoping for some sort of tour announcement that would bring him remotely close to Edmonton, Alberta. Never seemed to happened. And as Billy gets a bit older, it wouldn’t shock me to see him play just a few shows each year. I saw a flight sale to NYC for the end of October and jumped on it. $300 something CDN to fly to NYC? Deal. I managed to score some tickets in the second row of the second bowl just to the right of the stage.
I was nervous leading up to the show. Billy is one of those bucket list shows for me and I was worried it wouldn’t live up to expectations. On October 28th, I flew to NYC, arriving at 8am as I was too nervous to fly in the afternoon in fear of missing the show. After visiting John’s of Bleeker Street (my favourite in NYC), I passed out for several hours.
I was probably the first to arrive in my section. Again, nervous to be late by any means. Because the show was sold out it took quite some time for the crowd to file in and the show started slightly late. The lights fell and my face burned with anticipation. Billy delivered by surprising myself in opening with “The Stranger” a classic tune that I didn’t expect to hear that night.
After the Stranger, Billy followed picked up the pace with My life and The Entertainer. And after each song or two we were warmed by his personality. Joking about getting old, making fun of his own songs success and occasionally playing with a skull (which sat with him the whole show).
In between every few songs he would play us through a few halloween snippets before moving on. The crowd really fed off of his humour and it really made the night more than “just another concert”. Occasionally, he did some audience ‘toss ups’, but it was pretty obvious the crowd wanted to hear the hits that night.
I was able to hear most of my favourites: The longest time, The Downeaster Alexa, Don’t Ask Me Why, Sometimes a Fantasy and countless others. The show lasted for about three hours. I coulndn’t see one person that wasn’t signing along the whole show, not even Kevin James in front of the stage as he belted out the last notes of It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me (poorly).
In the end, I’m not so sure why I was nervous. The show was a dream come true- a fantastic/long set with lots of humour mixed in between. My kind of night. Despite the fact I missed out on some favourites like And So It Goes or Miami 2017, I left extremely happy. This was the first show I had ever been to alone and I totally forgot I was there by myself.
If you’re ever wondering if it’s worth the $$$ to shell out for a show at Madison Square Garden-don’t think twice. Jump on that shit quick!
Complete setlist for the night:
- The Stranger
- My Life (with Ode to Joy)
- The Entertainer
- The Longest Time (with The Lion Sleeps tonight)
- Root Beer Rag
- The Downeaster Alexa
- Witchy Woman (Eagles Song)
- Movin’ Out
- Through The Long Night
- Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)
- New York State of Mind
- Don’t Ask Me Why
- Sometimes a Fantasy
- She’s Always a Woman
- The River of Dreams
- Nessun Dorma (Puccini)
- Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
- We Didn’t Start The Fire
- Uptown Girl
- It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
- Big Shot
- Only the Good Die Young
- You May Be Right