Here’s my review of last night’s Billy Joel concert. He’s sold out two shows here, something he always did when used to perform regularly — in fact standing room only seats were sold at the Bank Atlantic Center, which is rarely done here. This show was 1-7 and the next is coming up next week on 1-15. His play “Movin’ Out” is in town, and he personally performed at opening night a few days ago, giving the audience there a big surprise, and although I wasn’t there, my friend Karen was and said his two-song performance after the show was far more enjoyable than the play itself. Anyway, I digress.
There were a lot of lighting problems during this show. I had floor seats (Floor 5, Row M) and they kept shining the lights in our faces blinding us — many people were rather put out by this, and it was mentioned in this morning’s Herald as well. Also, Joel kept yelling at his lighting people “I can’t see my drummer for the cues,” which was funny the first time, but after the fourth or fifth time he was clearly irritated. I hope these were opening night issues because if not, the lighting guy is losing his job.
There were some microphone problems on one bit, but they were quickly addressed, and he started that part over from the top. Again, we’ll chalk this to opening night glitches.
Joel’s voice started to wear a bit towards the end, but I don’t fault him after such a long hiatus from a full-length concert performance. It’s better to hear a real voice than hear some flawless lip-synched performance. The band was fantastic, especially the black lady doing his backup vocals. She was fantastic.
Billy opened with Piano Man, which, as you know, is the song he’s always closed his concerts with. So we knew it was a different night he had in store for us. It was odd for many people because they came to hear his hits, and as you can see by the set list below, he avoided them almost entirely. I didn’t mind most of them, having heard many of these songs on his albums, but many people who left were rather dissatisfied that he didn’t play his usual Top Ten hit concert. As you can tell, he picked many deep cuts that never were heard on the radio that would appear only to his most die-hard fans. Again, I didn’t mind but there’s bound to be grumbling when an artist does that.
His voice was good, as I said, though acoustically he was often drowned out by his band on some songs — this isn’t his fault, though. Acoustically the Bank Atlantic Center causes that problem with many artists and has been a frequent complaint of many artists and fans at this venue.
Joel played an oddly arranged version of We Didn’t Start the Fire which I initially enjoyed but later left me entirely dissatisfied. It just didn’t sound the same. Maybe it’s me…. He also played three songs for the people on the sides of, and behind the stage, something he does do that most acts don’t do — I think it’s great, especially since for many of his past shows I was, indeed, behind the stage. He started at 8:25pm for an 8pm start and ended at 10:35pm.
His set list is as follows:
Everybody Loves You Now
Miami 2017 [The crowd went really nuts on this one]
New York State of Mind
The Great Wall of China
All For Leyna
Sometimes a Fantasy
Sleeping With the Television On
She’s Right on Time
The Night is Still Young
Big Man on Mulberry Street
Where’s the Orchestra
Keeping the Faith
I Go to Extremes
We Didn’t Start the Fire
You May Be Right
The River of Dreams
Only the Good Die Young
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
Famous Last Words
(1-18-05 addendum) Billy did a second show which was reviewed in the 1-17 Miami Herald (Daily Fishwrapper) which reports a vastly different show. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Billy Joel’s second show Sunday night at the BankAtlantic Center was everything his Jan. 7 tour kickoff wasn’t — a rollicking, rocking roundup of the Piano Man’s greatest hits.
Joel, who has a home in Miami Beach, knocked ’em out from almost every album. From his opener, Angry Young Man, to the closing Piano Man, he had the standing-room-only crowd in Sunrise, well, standing.
Along the way: Ballad of Billy the Kid, New York State of Mind, You May Be Right, It’s Still Rock ‘n’ Roll to Me, We Didn’t Start the Fire, My Life, I Go to Extremes, Only the Good Die Young, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant and more.
Before launching into a version of Allentown, Joel took a somber moment to lament the brutal beating of three homeless men in Fort Lauderdale, one of whom died.
Quite frankly, I wish I had gone to the second one instead…….