I had the privilege of seeing Billy Joel live in concert Friday night. Wow. I consider myself a writer, and like to think I could accurately relate this experience to you, but I’m just not sure I can. How can I tell you what a 15,000+ person crowd singing the chorus of “The Piano Man” to the Piano Man himself feels like? How can I tell you that when the bongos started up for “River of Dreams” I was twelve years old again, and literally bounced in my chair, clapping my hands and squealing?
Despite the dizzying steepness of the seating at the Scottrade Center in St Louis, I settled into my seat filled with excitement and a little apprehension. We’d had these tickets for over two months (a Valentine’s present from my knight in shining armor), so I’d had a lot of time to build myself up for this. I have always been amazed by Billy Joel, and to actually see him play live was like a dream come true. What if it wasn’t as good as I expected?
It turns out there was no need to worry. Between songs, he made fun of Ted Nugent, Elton John, and even himself, played bits from the Beatles and Bob Dylan, and told stories to create a much closer environment than I could have imagined in a such a large venue. Rocking out so hard on his piano stool that I thought he would fall over, he showed that he can still sing like nobody’s business at 64 years old. He played older songs from the 70’s that I wasn’t as familiar with, built up to a few of the later hits and left the stage, only to come back for an encore straight from the 80’s. He turned the mic stand into a baton as he sang “Uptown Girl”, and left the packed house in a delirious uproar. I’ve said for awhile that I wasn’t really into going to concerts, but it turns out I just hadn’t been to a good one in a long time.