Billy Joel at Wembley Stadium
The Piano Man’s only UK date on his current tour was in a sunny London town on Saturday, although Billy, looking good in a black suit and shirt with a black and white polka dot tie, revealed that he had actually been in the capital for two weeks prior to the gig, noting, “The weather finally got nice and now we’ve got to leave!”
Right from the off, this well-attended gig had two wonderful things going for it: no support act and an announcement from the charismatic star – who is now bald and sporting a white beard – after opening number A Matter of Trust, in which he stated, “I don’t have anything new for you at all – it’s basically the same old s**t.”
This statement was met with cheers, which went up a notch when the New York-born singer-songwriter, who had played an electric guitar on the first track, moved over to the piano for My Life, one of his greatest musical moments. This amazing number from 1978 understandably got many people up and dancing.
The singer’s voice sounded pretty good throughout and his piano playing on a constantly revolving instrument was as impressive as ever. Charming and funny, he spoke to the crowd quite a bit, but without giving long, overblown speeches, and expressed his delight at being back in London. “I’m 70 years old,” he said, “so I don’t know when I’ll be back – or if I’ll be back.”
While songs such as the gorgeous She’s Always a Woman, the groovy Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song), the reflective New York State of Mind, the uplifting The River of Dreams and 80s classic Uptown Girl are all absolutely terrific and timeless tunes – as good as anything that pop music has offered up over the last 60 years – and there were a few lesser-known tracks in the set that seemed weaker and rather ordinary by comparison.
It would also have been nice to hear Just the Way You Are and The Longest Time, but most people seemed happy, merrily singing and dancing along in the pleasant early evening light, and on the whole this was a brilliant show – one this writer felt very fortunate to attend – from a truly gifted artist and consummate professional who definitely still knows how to deliver.
Photo: Lou Morris
For further information and future events visit Billy Joel’s website here.
Watch the video for Uptown Girl here: