February 13, 2007

Rather Laugh With the Sinners Than Cry With the Saints: Billy Joel Live in Orlando

February 10, 2007: Amway Arena, Orlando
“It’s not about less hair,” Billy Joel commented on his increasing baldness. “It’s about more head.”

At the Amway Arena in Orlando, the Piano Man put on a solid two-and-a-half-hour show packed with classics, favorites, and his ageless New York attitude.

Starting with “Prelude/Angry Young Man,” Joel matched the briskness of the 1975 Turnstiles version note for note. With the sellout (behind the stage and all) crowd still reaching its seats, “My Life” ensured that no one would soon sit down.

In between songs, Joel thanked the fans “in the shitty seats” behind the stage and the ones sitting in the nosebleeds “in Tampa.” He said he needed the money to pay for his car insurance.

After giving the crowd a choice between “Vienna” and “Summer, Highland Falls,” he sang the latter (“Vienna,” a classic from The Stranger, rarely wins, unfortunately).

Before playing “All About Soul,” from 1993’s River of Dreams, Joel confessed that he hadn't played the song in years and if something went wrong, then it would prove the show wasn't taped. “It’ll be a real rock and roll fuck-up.” It wasn't.

The pinnacle of the concert came with a plaintive rendition of “She's Always A Woman.” Whatever it was that got that song in the setlist (Valentine’s Day looming, the fact that he’s married again), it sure felt good to hear it performed.

After strapping on an electric guitar, Joel asked the audience to listen to his drum roadie sing a “religious song.” “Give him a chance,” he said in mock sincerity as the (robust) roadie ignited the arena with a blistering version of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” The sound of 18,000 people singing along to that one surely reached the heavens (or somewhere south).

The main set ended with “Big Shot,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” and “You May Be Right,” inspiring Joel to jump around the stage with an upright microphone, leaning toward the fans in the front rows.

“Only The Good Die Young” began the encore, followed by the epic “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” Like always, “Piano Man” ended the evening, but not before Billy Joel offered his usual post-show advice to the audience: “Don’t take any shit from anybody!”


Dr.JimmyCooper said...

You're getting better at this