Sitting at a black grand that swiveled left then right to face both sides of the arena and backed by a seven-piece band, Billy Joel launched a snippet of Elton’s John’s “Your Song,” an evening tactic that veered Tex-centric (“Piece of My Heart,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “Tush”), holiday (“Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”), and even hard rock (a full rendition of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” sung by one of the roadies). “Piano Man” means playing any request from Sixth Street to Tin Pan Alley.
… Piano stool, meet the maker of “New York State of Mind,” a song that even now George Gershwin swears he wrote from the great beyond. Moreover, Joel’s hits weren’t isolated incidents between The Stranger (’77) and An Innocent Man (’83) in that album tracks often matched singles in quality control. … Its author’s tenor hasn’t burnished, nor have the sax stylings throughout his oeuvre, ably recreated Friday. His falsetto’s not half bad, either. One could wish for “Stiletto,” “All for Leyna,” and really, a whole other hour of gold and platinum material, but an evening with Billy Joel will last you a lifetime. – The Austin Chronicle
Fan photo by Jessica Nute