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Billy Joel Delivers At New Orleans Jazz Fest – Concert Reviews

Billy Joel performed at the New Orleans Jazz Fest on Saturday, April 27th, and here are some of the reviews!

Billy Joel ran through a catalog of hits at Jazz Fest on Saturday, starting (nearly 10 minutes early) with “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song”) and checking off “New York State of Mind,” “My Life,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “It’s Still Rock n’Roll to Me,” “The River Of Dreams,” “You May Be Right,” and pretty much everything else you wanted to hear. Twenty, 30, and even 40 years down the line, the songs still sound like creative triumphs – almost as close as you can get to pop perfection.

… In a pre-Fest interview, Joel mentioned that he planned to pay tribute to the city’s heritage. Joel made good on his promise, once with the speedy ragtime number “Root Beer Rag,” from his 1974 album “Streetlife Serenade,” and again with a verse from the Johnny Horton tune “The Battle of New Orleans.” And he included several numbers with, as he predicted in the interview, “jazzy overtones” – such as “Zanzibar,” whose bop-style trumpet solo was originally laid down by Freddie Hubbard, and “Big Man on Mulberry Street,” with its big, brassy, Broadway horns. But the most local flavor in a set from Long Island’s favorite son was the during the classic “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” As the singer uttered the lyrics “drop a dime in the box, play a song about New Orleans,” the Preservation Hall Jazz Band horns, plus the bass drum, strutted onstage.

For just shy of two hours yesterday afternoon, Billy Joel held tens of thousands of visitors to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the palm of his hand. … Before launching into his second song, “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway),” Joel told the crowd, “we know how you felt” since last year’s Hurricane Sandy, referring to Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005. “We’re trying to rebuild. We’re taking inspiration from you guys.” From that song on, even though opener “Movin’ Out” started off strong, the crowd was totally captivated by Joel and his energetic band.

Joel was visibly tired about an hour and a half into the set, but it only put his hard work on display. From getting red in the face belting “New York State of Mind” early on to twirling and tossing the mic stand during “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me,” pure joy coursed through the 20-song set. His band, especially, was totally fired up throughout. Fans should rest assured, from any viewpoint at yesterday’s performance – crowd, band, or Joel himself – it’s hard to imagine he didn’t like the way things went. – Rolling Stone

Photo credit: Brett Duke,

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