Billy Joel

Billy Joel

Philadelphia, PA • March 13, 2006

Fans of all ages walked towards the entrance. Anticipation hung in the air, as people entered the Wachovia Center, anxious to see the one and only Billy Joel as The Piano Man returned to Philly for the third of five sold-out shows.

At 8:30 p.m., Billy Joel took the stage, welcomed by thunderous applause and cheering. He began to play, accompanied by several other musicians. The first portion of the show seemed to drag a bit, as he played more of his slower songs from his various CDs.

However, the show began to pick up after a half hour. Songs on the set list included crowd favorites such as “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” “Captain Jack,” “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” “The Entertainer” and “Allentown,” as well as various others.

After two hours of playing, Joel decided to torment the audience by walking off the stage without playing THE song — “Piano Man.” The crowd chanted his name, pleading with him to come back. When he took the stage again, the crowd urged him towards the ebony grand piano that stood on the stage. He acted indecisive, as if he couldn’t decide whether to sit and play or leave. The crowd played along, cheering and booing, respectively.

Finally, after a good several minutes, Joel sat himself down, and for the encore of the show, he played three songs. They included “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” “Only the Good Die Young” and of course, to the delight of the audience, “Piano Man.” During the last song, all that could be seen were the dim lights of cell phones, as people recorded the song and called others, allowing them a taste of the experience.

To be honest, I was surprised at several things. First was the age gap. I mean, I know I grew up with Billy Joel’s music — but to see so many young people there was astonishing. It truly was a show for all ages. Second, I was surprised by the Piano Man’s humor. Yes, humor. As he talked to the audience in between songs, his jokes and antics were actually funny. It was quite unexpected, but a very pleasant surprise. I was also amazed by how spontaneous he was. He spoke what was on his mind and played what he wanted, claiming “No. No. I don’t want that one. I want to play this ONE.”

It was a great show, even with the little bit of technical errors. When one of the members of his band struck the wrong chord, Joel exclaimed, “See? We don’t lip synch. That was a real rock n’ roll f***-up.”

From the ceiling of the Wachovia Center, a flag of orange and black hangs. On it is Billy Joel’s name and 41 — the number of shows he’s sold out in Philadelphia. After the five shows this year are over, the number will officially be 46 — not bad, considering it has been several years since he released an album.

Overall, the Entertainer lived up to the crowd’s expectations. They walked away, pleased to have spent the evening with their favorite piano man.

Billy Joel: www.sonymusic.com/artists/BillyJoel

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples
    Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives