A cold winter night in March at The Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida brought out in excess of 40,000 bundled up Billy Joel fans. The rains and thunderstorms subsided in the early afternoon as a cold front rolled into Central Florida bringing temperatures down into the low 60’s at show time. The show was slightly delayed and started 30 minutes later than scheduled at 8:30pm. This was actually a blessing as the crowd was still taking their seats while the introduction song of “The Natural” by Randy Newman played loudly to an empty stage when the lights lowered.
The show actually started with “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” and the night was underway as the stadium roared with approval. The second song “Pressure” brought up the tempo and and the piano started to rotate to actually gave the photographers in attendance an opportunity to photograph the 72 year old icon in his 51st year of touring. Billy Joel is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1999. A little known fact is that he was on the site selection committee for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Seven of the members voted for Cleveland, and seven had voted for San Francisco. Bill Joel cast the fifteenth and final vote for Cleveland, Ohio, the first place I saw him perform in 1977! That was the same year The Stranger was released which went multi-platinum and hit number two on the charts. Billy Joel has been nominated for 23 Grammys, and has won five of them. He also won album of the year for 52nd Street, released in 1978. He is also in the top ten of best selling solo artists in America, Billy Joel has had 33 top 40 hits.
Billy took some time between the second and third songs to address the crowd about the weather and voiced his displeasure, as he said, “Good Evening Alaska! It’s great to be here. Florida! What the hell is going on? The whole world is crazy, everything is going nuts. So lets have a little snow.” (He played a snipped from the song Winter Wonderland). “Thank you for coming. What is this? The Camping World Stadium. Yea, last time I went camping I froze my ass off too.” The audience irrupted and Billy went into his 1975 well known hit, “The Entertainer”.
I settled into my review seat during ” Vienna” and view the rest of the show in the lower bowl of the stadium. The set list went through the top hits, and was a sing along by the entire population of the stadium as this is a Billy Joel concert norm. One of the highlights of the show were the vocals of Crystal Taliefer in the segway into “Dancing in the Streets” during the song “The River of Dreams”. Then the audience was wooed by Mike Delguidice with the opera favorite “Nessun dorma.” The set came to an end with “Piano Man.” In true fashion, the crowd refused to leave and after two or three minutes of darkness, the band came back for a five song encore. The show lasted just over two hours with a total of 24 songs played. The temperatures also dropped almost 20 degrees from the start of the show and it was just 48 degrees as the fans filed out to their cars.
Billy Joel is a welcoming artist and those in attendance almost feel like your at his home and he is on the back porch performing for friends. I have seen the man perform five times in the past 45 years, I will continue to attend his shows as long as he will have me!
Billy Joel – Vocals/Piano/Guitar/Harmonica
Mike Delguidice – Vocals/Guitar
Mark Rivera – Saxophones/Flute/Harmonica/Percussion/Vocals
David Rosenthal – Keyboards/Piano/Organ/Musical Director
Crystal Taliefero – Percussion/Saxophone/Harmonica/Vocals
Tommy Byrnes – Guitars/Vocals
Aandy Cichon – Bass/Vocals
Chuck Burgi – Drums
Carl Fischer – Trumpet/Trombone/Saxophone
1.) The Natural (The End Title) (Randy Newman song)
2.) Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)
4.) Winter Wonderland (Richard Himber & His Orchestracover) (Instrumental snippet)
5.) The Entertainer
6.) Just the Way You Are
7.) The Bogatyr Gates (In the Capital in Kiev) (Modest Mussorgsky cover) (Instrumental snippet)
10.) Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
11.) Don’t Ask Me Why
12.) New York State of Mind
13.) I Go to Extremes
15.) She’s Always a Woman
16.) My Life
17.) Sometimes a Fantasy
18.) Only the Good Die Young
19.) The River of Dreams (With “Dancing in the Street” interlude)
20.) Nessun dorma (Giacomo Puccini cover)
21.) Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
22.) Piano Man
23.) We Didn’t Start the Fire
24.) Uptown Girl
25.) It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
26.) Big Shot
27.) You May Be Right (With “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin snippet)
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Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.