Billy Joel at BST Hyde Park
After a lifetime of creating immortal music, what better way to celebrate a terrific career than by re-treading the old ground and giving the fans exactly what they want? Billy Joel’s hit appearance at the BST in Hyde Park plays it safe, but it is, ultimately, a crowd-pleasing performance, and deservedly so, considering his fantastic career.
The Piano Man starts out flawlessly – and fittingly – with My Life, followed by Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song). He is far from slowing down; despite the odd moment of self-deprecating humour about his inability to hit the higher notes at this point in his career or to keep up, there’s no sign of that in the actual delivery: it is sensational throughout.
But he is also supported by a superlative band. Carl Fischer’s mad trumpet solo during Zanzibar leaves the audience gobsmacked (aside from the track being brilliant in its own right of course), and Mark Rivera’s saxophone impresses on several occasions, most notably in New York State of Mind and Only the Good Die Young. But Crystal Taliefero’s vocal interlude during The River of Dreams – a rendition of Tina Turner’s River Deep Mountain High – is a one of the show’s favourites, as is Mike DelGuidice’s rendition of Nessun Dorma.
Billy Joel is at the centre of it all, of course, and the audience sings along with various well-loved songs throughout. There’s no doubt that everyone is in a wonderful mood and grateful to be there. Of course, everyone knows the lyrics to Piano Man, and the encore features a total of six individual numbers – including Uptown Girl in a duet with Joe Jonas – and We Didn’t Start the Fire.
It’s clear that the fervour of the crowd underscores one vital fact: Billy Joel remains timeless as a testament to his legacy. His BST performance is a nod to old and new fans as he delivers all his classics with fresh zest. He is just as apt at the piano as he ever was, and his charm is remains unmistakable. Sure, it’s a concert focused on nostalgia, but it’s clear he’s not at the finish line yet.
Photo: Dave Hogan/Hogan Media
For further information and future events visit Billy Joel’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Piano Man here: