Billy Joel stepped onto the stage of Long Island’s Paramount Theatre last week feeling rather nervous.
“I was wondering if I was going to be any good,” he admits. “Could I still do this?”
It was an understandable concern – it is 20 years since Joel’s last pop record, and 11 since he headlined in his native Long Island – but unnecessary: the show, a warm-up for his imminent, sold-out British tour, was ecstatically received. “We played half-a-dozen songs that we rarely play and some that we have never performed,” Joel tells me down the line from his Long Island home. “You have to mix it up – only singing hits becomes really boring.”
… Is it hard for a rock star to return to civilian life? “I don’t sit around saying, ‘Gee I miss the adulation, I want the applause,” he says, “but what I do miss is making music with other musicians.” Which is why he’s returned to playing live.
“I had both hips replaced recently – that was literally a pain in the ass,” he says, “and so it’s been three years since I have done anything. I want to do these dates and see how it feels to get back in the saddle.”
Read the complete Billy Joel interview with The Telegraph.