Saturday, March 11, 2006

Billy Joel In Hartford.

What a great night! Here is the review from the Hartford Courant. I'll be back when I am successful in finding my voice. I know I left it around here somewhere, or maybe at the Civic Center. Uh-oh...gotta go.

Billy Joel Reels Off Hits With Rocker's Energy
March 11, 2006
By ERIC R. DANTON, Courant Rock Critic

Someday, scientists decoding human DNA are going to find the Billy Joel strand.

You know it's there. It has to be. His songs are so culturally prominent, so catchy and singable, that it doesn't seem at all far-fetched that they would have altered our genetic makeup so that every person in this country knows all the words to at least two of his songs. OK, maybe that's a little far-fetched.
But still, even the relatively obscure songs seemed familiar when Joel performed the first of four shows Friday at the Hartford Civic Center. The lesser-known numbers, such as "Zanzibar" and "Everybody Loves You Now," were naturally crowded out by the hits during his 28-song, 2 ½-hour show, but at least a handful of people in the capacity crowd were standing and swaying or singing along during every single number.

It's no surprise that Joel knows how to pace a show: You start slow and build. Even so, the sheer number of well-known songs he was able to backload into his set list was staggering. "Sometimes a Fantasy" led into "Pressure," which gave way to "Goodnight Saigon" (complete with helicopter sound effects and rotor-mimicking strobe lights). Next it was "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," then "She's Always a Woman," followed by "Keeping the Faith." There aren't many artists who can reel off hits that way, and even fewer who can perform them with the energy and enthusiasm of a rock 'n' roll convert so many years after they converted.

Joel played piano to start, jabbing rapid-fire at the keys as he and his band opened the show with "Angry Young Man." Later, he switched to electric guitar for a few songs, including "Matter of Trust," a frenetic version of "We Didn't Start the Fire" and what he described as a "religious song" - a cover of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell," sung by a roadie named Chainsaw. Really.

His '70s songs worked best live - they've held up better than some of his later material. But he made sure to include a variety of songs from across his career, including a stirring version of the blue-collar sea ballad "Downeaster Alexa" and the slightly acerbic "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me." Joel also displayed a sense of humor, especially about his well-documented difficulty driving cars of late. After thanking fans early on for paying to see him, he quipped, "I need the money. You wouldn't believe how much I pay for car insurance."

Joel played 25 songs during the regular set, and then returned for a three-song encore: the rocker "Only the Good Die Young," his slice-of-life operetta "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and, of course, "Piano Man."
**** Peter here. WOW.***

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