My experience at the Billy Joel concert can only be described as something out of a dream. Last night, I headed up to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Phillies (woot!) for one of the final stops on Billy Joel’s tour. The fact that it was in a baseball stadium in and of itself was enough for me. I am certainly one who values intimate concert venues, but there is something so overwhelming about a stadium that big that fills me with such exhilaration. Our seats were on the field, looking around me all I could see was a sea of faces and seats endlessly spanning in every direction. Looking back and forth from the stage and Billy to the thousands of faces behind created this feeling of awe, being so small in such a large environment. Also the fact that musicians play for audiences this large, make this many people cheerful is an incredible concept. It was a feeling of liberation juxtaposed with a certain anxiety and sense of claustrophobia that absolutely boggled my mind.
Billy came out around nine o’clock and played until eleven. What I love the most about him, and always have, is that he is such an entertainer. Aside from his amazing musical talent (he sounds just as he does on his albums form twenty years ago) Billy puts on a very light and whimsical show, allowing his jovial mood to shine through. There were several things I found very impressive throughout the show. One, Billy is able to cruise through a two hour set barely taking any breaks between songs. Two, he sounds exactly like he does on his albums. Three, he engages the audience in it’s entirety, all 50,000 people.
Four, speaking from a personal standpoint on this one, I am nineteen years old, the last album Billy released (other than his album of classical compositions) was released two years before I was born. Let that sink in. Yet with each song I was completely captivated. I wanted to sing along and dance and not allow any outside thoughts to prevent that from happening. During “We Didn’t Start the Fire” the environment in the front few rows was equivalent to that of any of the concerts I have been to recently, the only varying factor being that there were fifty year olds and twenty year olds dancing together in harmony. To me, to someone who wasn’t exposed to Billy in his ‘prime time’, this is Billy. Someone who is able to unite a vast amount of people through music, through entertainment, through happiness.
P.S. He kinda reminds me of a pumpkin for some reason, but hey pumpkins are my favorite fruit so.. also I was escorted to the front row mid concert so that was casual.