Billy Joel returned to the concert stage on Wednesday night (August 5th) with his first concert since the pandemic hit, rocking Boston’s Fenway Park. Highlights includes such rarities as “A Room Of Our Own” from 1982’s The Nylon Curtain, “And So It Goes” from 1989’s Storm Front, with Billy touching upon how his 1978 52nd Street classic, “Zanzibar,” has become a TikTok sensation.
As is his custom, Billy Joel and the band dropped in several bits of other music throughout the planned set with Billy addressing the inclement weather with a taste of “Singin’ In The Rain,” the Tokens‘ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” percussionist Crystal Taliefero singing a bit of ZZ Top‘s “Tush” in the middle of “The River Of Dreams” as a tribute to the ‘Top’s late-bassist Dusty Hill, and guitarist Mike DelGuidice singing Puccini‘s “Nessun dorma” as the intro to “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.” The band also tackled a bit of Led Zeppelin‘s “Rock And Roll” during “You May Be Right.”
Billy Joel admitted that his onstage persona is actually part showman — and part showbiz tortoise shell: “I can’t go onstage and start thinking too much about how absurd this all is. I know who I am; I’m this guy from Levittown. And one night I actually started thinking about this: ‘What are they all yelling about? Don’t they know, I’m just this little schnook?’ And if you start thinking like that, I think people in the audience can sense (it) — and they’ll eat you alive.”
Although no one would fault Billy Joel if he wanted to keep things mellow and just perform his single Madison Square Garden residence show every month, hitting the road and taking the stage just after eight p.m. has always been in his blood: “I’m from the old school, I started out as a performer. Before I ever made a record, I was playing in bands in clubs and bars, and dances, Sweet 16’s; so that’s what I do. I don’t think anything really replaces a live performance.”