Billy Joel came to Orlando, Florida to escape the cold and snow of the Northeast by his own accord. He even mentioned taking his family to Walt Disney World. MNPRmagazine.comheaded him off by sending their Florida correspondent Mark Horan of MarkHoran.Pictures LLCto cover the show. Mark reports on what he witnessed and felt throughout the show.
For the whole night the crowd sang along and danced on their feet. The show had a feel like we were at Billy’s party and he had rented The Amway Center for 21,000 plus of his closest friends. In true piano man fashion, he quipped one liners and teased the crowd by starting songs by other artists before going into one of his 27 songs in the two and one half hour show. I almost felt like looking for the tip jar before I left as I received more than I or anyone anticipated. The evening included everything from his greatest hits catalog, to a rendition of “Nessun dorma” sung by the opera tenor vocalist and rhythm guitarist Mike DelGuidice, to “Rock N Roll” written by Led Zeppelin to close out the night.
About a quarter of the way into the show, the band played “New York State of Mind,” obviously a crowd favorite to half of the population of Florida as they have lived in New York at one time or another. The stage lighting and the split video screens added a dimension to the song that really brought the crowd into feeling like this huge arena was an intimate setting as they sang along. The tone defiantly changed after that song as Billy donned a pair of shades and started playing “Don’t Ask Me Why” whipping the crowd into a rebellious frenzy.
Then the show slowed down again and the audience settled into their seats until the band performed “She’s Only a Woman.” The singing increased, couples embraced swaying to the beat. A full standing ovation ensued at the end, and the evening felt concluded. I don’t think anyone would have felt cheated going to their cars at this point. But, Mr. Joel had other ideas as he played Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” center stage as his piano carouseled before banging the keys to the defiant song “My Life”. The crowd got their second wind and it was on. Billy at the age of 69 wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down either until finally concluding his show with “Piano Man” which he released in 1973. The band left the stage for about four minutes and returned to play a five-song encore. This was another surprise as I have never seen a band perform more than three.
Billy Joel over delivers, period! I don’t believe anyone in attendance left disappointed or unfulfilled as we got more than we anticipated. This was one of the best shows I have ever witnessed; eve better than the first two Billy Joel shows I’ve had the pleasure to attended. Billy Joel’s performances are like fine wine, they get better with age.
Billy Joel – Piano, Guitar, Harmonica
Mark Rivera – Sax
Chuck Bergi – Drums
Crystal Taliefero – Sax, vocals, percussion
Dave Rosenthal – Keyboards
Tommy Byrnes – Guitar
Carl Fischer – Trumpet
Andy Cichon – Bass