Friday, March 20, 2009

Elton John and Billy Joel:Face 2 Face Tour

Last night I went to see Elton John and Billy Joel together in concert. Oh my. I spent my entire adolescence listening to these guys. I vividly remember laying on the floor, album playing, reading everything on the LP covers.

I had a very handsome date along (my son, Jamie) who has been enjoying both artists from his young perspective in this digital age. He downloads their music on his computer and/or iPhone and is as familiar with their songs as I am.

We found our seats which were behind the stage and waaaay up high. We looked right down on the empty stage. Soon the lights dimmed and two large rectangles opened up in the stage. From these black holes rose two grand pianos. The arena exploded into applause.

Billy Joel took the stage from our left, wearing a dark suit and waving to the crowd. Elton John appeared from the right, wearing what can only be described as his version of a suit and also waved to the cheering audience. The two met in the middle and shook hands.

And then we were off!

Note: To those of you unfamiliar with this whole blogging business, if you see an arrow under a picture, it's a video. Click on the arrow. You may have to click it twice.

They performed together at first, alternating between an Elton John hit and a Billy Joel hit.
Elton John and Billy Joel:

Your Song
Just The Way You Are

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

My Life

During thunderous applause, following "My Life," Billy Joel took some bows and exited. His piano sank back under the stage. Elton John continued the show alone.

Elton John:

Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)

Burn Down The Mission
Madman Across The Water
Tiny Dancer
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Rocket Man
I'm Still Standing
Crocodile Rock

Elton John took lots of bows after his last song and then it was Billy's turn.

Billy Joel:

Billy provided more banter than Elton. Before he started to sing, he thanked the people in the top rows in front of the stage. He pointed way up towards them and said, "Thanks for buying those seats up there in Denton!" (I think it's a town in Texas that's pretty far from here. Gimme a break, I'm not from here!)
Then he turned and pointed to those of us sitting behind the stage and said, "And your seats are better than you thought they'd be, right?" Finally, he pointed behind his head to the folks seated on the side of the stage and said, "But those guys are just screwed."

Actually, they weren't. Billy's piano spun slowly on a turntable, so everybody got a good view of his hands flying across the keyboard.

Prelude/Angry Young Man
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
Don't Ask Me Why
She's Always A Woman
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
River Of Dreams

There's a point in the middle of this song where the music stops for four counts and then resumes. At the concert during this pause, Billy started to tinkle the piano keys in a teasing manner until he finally broke out into "Deep In The Heart of Texas." He didn't sing the words, but we did. And then he went back to "River of Dreams."

When "River of Dreams" ended, Billy got up from the piano and we watched it disappear below the stage. My heart sank. I thought he was done. But then a stage hand gave him a guitar (A GUITAR?! I've never seen him play guitar.) and he launched into...

We Didn't Start The Fire
It's Still Rock'n'Roll To Me

During this song Billy did an amusing 'dance' with his microphone stand. He twirled it, pushed it over and pulled it back, leaned low to the side while singing into the mic and finally threw it straight up into the air at the end. Then he dramatically tossed it offstage to a waiting stage hand. It was very entertaining.

His piano rose up once again from beneath the stage and he launched into a raucous version of...

Only The Good Die Young

Elton returned and the two of them wrapped up this 3 1/2 hour concert with these songs:

Elton John and Billy Joel:

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
Uptown Girl
The Bitch Is Back
You May Be Right
Bennie And The Jets
They Say It's Your Birthday
Back In The U.S.S.R.
Candle In The Wind
Piano Man

Everyone sang this song loud. Even my ultra-cool son, Jamie. At one point all the music ceased and the audience sang while Billy and Elton looked out at the crowd smiling.

And then it was over. It was an amazing show. My son and I agreed it was rock and roll history. We'll be telling his kids about it.

I have to share that the only other time I've seen Billy Joel perform live was back in college. He did a show on campus. I was aware of him, but not the huge fan I am today. That show turned me on to him. I have every album, including one bootleg. I even saved the review that appeared in our school paper. There aren't many musicians you can say you followed for a lifetime:


Kenzie said...

ugh, I'm jealous! I heard from rumor that they switched songs, Billy Joel would play Yellow Brick Road, and Elton John would play Piano Man, and that almost made me upset when I heard it lol. But after reading your review, I REALLY REALLY want to go still, lol.

But tickets are SO expensive! I'm thinking about taking my mom to see Fleetwood Mac for her birthday, but just for the two of us, it would be over $300! Just crazy...

caryl said...

When they performed together, they took turns singing the verses. When they were alonek they sang their own songs. They're both AMAZING on the piano. I wish I had saved some space on my camera because the songs at the end were wild and full of energy. At one point towards the end, they both ended up ON TOP of their pianos.

heylaw said...

Oh Caryl - what a great time you must have had - and to share it with your son like that must be the thrill of a life time!! 3 1/2 hours - that's incredible!!! Please tell your friend Kenzie that if there is any way she can scrape up the $ to take her mom to Fleetwood Mac, she will NOT be sorry!!!! As you know, I just loved it. How did you remember all the songs - did you take notes? LOL

jerseyirish said...

Wow Caryl, Two of the greatest sharing the same stage, what an expiernce it must have been. Thanks for your recap and the video's were great to hear them.


caryl said...

Jamie typed every song into his iPhone. But I actually found the setlist online. If you want the one from the Fleetwood Mac show, just google, "Fleetwod Mac New York 2009" or something like that. You may find a newspaper article that has the setlist.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I am so jelouse! I could cry just reading your story. What a great opportunity. I'm glad you and Jaime were able to do this!!! Your NE friend!

Squeebee said...

Caryl, sounds like a great concert! My husband and I saw Billy Joel in concert a couple of years ago when he came to Vancouver....I was smiling throughout the whole thing. I would LOVE to see the two of them together in must have been amazing!

Anonymous said...

My favorite concerts are the ones where I know the words to most of the songs. I can't wait til BJ & EJ come to New York. They're supposed to tour for 2 years so we all have time to make plans to see them. When I saw Billy Joel a few years ago he did the same thing with Piano Man..we sang it to him. It was beautiful!! I saw Fleetwood Mac last week; good concert but LOUD, loudest concert I've been to. My ears were ringing for days. Kenzie, go see them but bring ear plugs, just in case!! (No kidding.)

JenAdams said...

Oh, man, sounds fabulous!!! Thanks for sharing!

caryl said...

Squee and Jen are in da hoooouse!! Whassup?

caryl said...

By the way, the T-shirts were FORTY dollars. Holy crap! We didn't buy any.

Squeebee said...

Not much up, Caryl. Same old, same old. I am still a frequent reader here, just don't have a whole ton of time to comment anywhere these days!

Anonymous said...

Now this is what I call a concert! CONGRATS for being able to see history being made. WOW!

YKW said...

Oh my, Caryl... that sounds FANTASTIC!!! You lucky thing!! I'm so glad you had such an incredible time!!

Anonymous said...

I got to see them on March 28th at the Honda Center, and what an experience it was. It was my first time of seeing either of them live. Of course though, I got the cheap seats. Behind the stage. During River Of Dreams, he broke into California Girls by the Beach Boys, before going back to the song. I think that depending on the city or state, he breaks into a different song. Just hearing them both sing Piano Man was an awesome experience. The only thing that disappointed me was that the video screens behind the screen didn't show the We Didn't Start The Fire music video, and it only showed Billy Joel playing. Other than that, it was a terrific concert.

Anonymous said...

Glad I found this blog! I won tickets to see this concert in Indy next week and have been so excited! I picked up my tix today and was disappointed when it said that they are behind the stage, but after reading your blog post I have hope!!

caryl said...

anonymous- my sister PREFERS seats behind the stage. I think they may be the best kept secret in concert- going. You're actually closer to the stage than some seats that are in front of the stage.

Have a good time!

LoneWolfArcher said...

My wife and I were there last night. AMAZING SHOW. I am more of a Billy Joel fan, but Elton was good too.

Billy Joel blew me away. I am a headbanger, but his show rocked!

Amber said...

My sister and I have second row seats to the August 1st concert at Citizen's Bank Park. I loved looking at the post and getting geared up for the show!!! Truly looks like an amazing show...

caryl said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! Amber, you will LOVE the show. Have fun!

Cynthia said...

I attend the concert when they were in Portland just last week. AMAZING show, both are such great performer. But Joel didn't sing "Back in the USSR" when he did Portland. Other than that, it was great. And where can I get those T-shirts for cheap?? I saw they were $40 at the show, it's nice shirt but not made out of gold geez.

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Anonymous said...

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