With excellent support -- veteran band members such as Tommy Byrnes on guitar, saxophonist Mark Rivera, Carl Fischer on trumpet, vocalist Crystal Taliefero -- Billy Joel pounds out a show high on energy but also filled with riffs, detours and grace notes that play like an endlessly happy loop in your head, and have for four decades.
There was even a devotional aspect to the show: "Goodnight Saigon," with members of the FDNY on stage, singing along with 20,000 other supplicants ("And we would all go down together . . ."). Or "New York State of Mind," which Joel opened with a few bars from "Rhapsody in Blue." Or "Allentown": "Met our mothers in the USO . . . " The words are so deeply familiar yet Joel still conveyed that aching sense of loss and decay. ... This residency is looking permanent.
Read the complete concert review at Newsday.
Billy Joel Set List - Madison Square Garden - New York, NY - April 18, 2014
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Photos by Claire Mercuri and Jeff Schock