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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Remember when they used to light matches?

I'm sure you're all on pins and needles waiting to hear about the Billy Joel concert. Well, it was simply fantastic! This was the last of 3 concerts in Boston and the Garden was still completely sold out. Sha and I first went out to dinner in Cambridge at the Craigie Street Bistro (review in a subsequent post) and were running a bit late. We sat down in our awesome seats (Loge 12, row 4) just as Billy started playing Angry Young Man. I was immediately transported to my youth as I'm sure were the majority of the 40-somethings (and older) in the audience.

Billy was in great voice and his band was as energetic as ever. He played for a bit over 2 hours including 2 encores. The last encore was, of course, Piano Man. But maybe the highlight of the evening was when he invited one of his longtime roadies (nicknamed Chainsaw) onto the stage because it was his birthday, and, as Billy put it, "he deserves his moment in the sun." Chainsaw sang lead vocals while the band accompanied him on a cover of AC/DC's Highway to Hell. It was amazing. The entire audience was on their feet singing along and didn't sit down for the rest of the concert.

He played the usual favorites, including an oldie from the Cold Spring Harbor album called Everybody Loves You Now. I had only heard him perform that once (at the Paradise in Boston more than 20 years ago) so this was a nice surprise. He also did a great rendition of Zanzibar including brilliant flugelhorn and trumpet solos.

I first saw Billy in concert at the Boston Garden (the original) in 1979. I was 18. I'm now almost 45 and Billy is 56 and I've lost count of the number of times I've seen him in concert. He's lost very little over the years in terms of voice, piano acumen, and on-stage presence and I've lost none of my appreciation of his music. Maybe it's because I grew up one town away from him on Long Island and so experienced some of the "suburban angst" that comes through so clearly in some of his early songs. Who knows? I do know that this may be his last concert tour and so I'm very glad that Sha and I had the opportunity to see Billy once again.

Oh yeah... So before the first encore, the lights dimmed and there was the requisite screaming and whooping and clapping to get Billy back out on stage. And you could see thousands of little lights all above the audience. They were cell phones! Remember when they used to light matches...?

Yes, I remember the matches :-) And when Steve and I saw James Taylor last summer, we saw the same phenomenon - glowing cell phones in the dark... Seeing JT summer after summer, there was a pattern... First the cell phones appeared, then at intermission all the calls to babysitters, now not so many of those calls... The scary thing at this year's JT concert was the booth advertising medical equipment near the gate of Great Woods, um, the Tweeter Center. That must be for the far older boomers...

Sounds like a great concert - congrats on winning the tickets!
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