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Billy Joel Gives One Of The Best Shows At The Q In 20 Years – Concert Reviews, Set List

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Twenty years ago, Billy Joel played the first show at what’s now Quicken Loans Arena. … It is his ability to tap into emotions that makes him the superstar he is, and made for one of the best two-hour shows at The Q in, oh, 20 years. That wouldn’t have been possible without another gift Joel has developed over the course of a career that’s lasted nearly 40 years: comfort. … He’s comfortable in his skin, and there’s no awkwardness in his mannerisms. … Then there’s segueing from “The River of Dreams” into “Hang On Sloopy,’’ complete with the requisite “O-H-I-O.”’ Those kind of connections are much sought-after, but rarely achieved. It’s precisely that gift that makes him capable of selling out The Q, just as he did 20 years ago. – The Plain Dealer

Joel didn’t disappoint. Casually introducing songs and playing spot-on versions of all his hits, he was the consummate showman. … Joel effortlessly moved from jazzy numbers (“Zanzibar”) to tender ballads (“She’s Always a Woman”) and casually tossed in snippets of songs by the Beatles and Bob Dylan. He played a bit of harmonica for the set closing “Piano Man,” one of his many signature songs, and had audience members on their feet, singing along in unison. That enthusiasm carried over to the encore, which included hits such as “Uptown Girl” and “It’s Still Rock n Roll to Me.” – Cleveland Scene

The show’s dynamic second half climaxed with gospel-tinged boogie “River of Dreams” (mashed neatly with Ohio State unofficial anthem “Hang On, Sloopy”) and multipart suite “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” whereon the crowd giddily sang along with Billy about ex-prom king and queen Brenda and Eddie—whose premature nuptials and marital strife were juxtaposed by Joel’s romantic “bottle of white” candlelight dinner verses (and smoky sax on the parts of Rivera, Fischer, and Taliefero). Heck, even truck driver / roadie “Chainsaw” got in on the action, bounding onstage to mimic Bon Scott on a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” as Billy played guitar. –