Back in February, when I found out that Billy Joel was going on tour and was coming to Chicago, my boyfriend and I decided to keep vigil by the Sears Centre Web site until the exact moment tickets went on sale. “Get them! Get them!,” I said to my boyfriend as he frantically clicked the mouse. “Now! NOW!”
Our vigilanteism paid off, and this past week, we were treated to a fabulous show by a still-fabulous performer.
He opened the show with “Angry Young Man,” then went onto “My Life” (one of my favorites) and “Everybody Loves You Now.” He interacted with the crowd the whole time, telling a few bad jokes along the way (“I’m getting less hair now, but getting more head”) and making me scream like a 14-year-old at a Backstreet Boys concert whenever he played a song I loved.
The first half of the show was more chill than the second one, as he and his kickass backup band played some songs that weren’t mega-hits, such as “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” and “Root Beer Rag,” on which he proved that his skills on the piano are still as amazing as ever. But after “River of Dreams,” he announced that one of his roadies was going to sing a little song about spirituality. Confused, we all sat down, and then the roadie, with Billy on guitar, got onstage and belted AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” – an unexpected moment that got the crowd on their feet for the rest of the show.
This brings me to my only beef with the concert. With Billy Joel pushing 58, as he told us between songs, my boyfriend and I were among the younger fans at the show, and we wanted to stand up the whole time and loudly sing along with every word to every song. At one point, we were the only people in our section standing up, and people around us looked fed up. I wanted to be like, “This is what us young whipper-snappers do at concerts!” But by the second half, the entire crowd had enough booze in them and was revved up enough to stand up until the end.
We sang along every word to “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” We held up our lighters and cell phones when Billy left the stage after “You May Be Right.” And when he came back to sing three more songs, everyone went crazy. He closed with “Piano Man,” and I must admit that it’s pretty damn cool to hear an arena full of people swaying back and forth, singing every lyric of the song. It was a perfect ending to the night. So, apart from the at-first-not-so-energetic crowd, the show was everything I could have asked for.