By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: Amalie Arena-Tampa, Florida–February 9, 2018
When I think of Billy Joel, the first thing that comes into my head is “Piano Man” (which I used to play all the time on the piano) and “Just the Way You Are” (as a teenager my boyfriend used to sing it to me). Later, the music of Billy Joel followed me into my college years with songs like “They Didn’t Start the Fire” and “Uptown Girl” which I used to change the words and sing to my cat Tessie (“Uptown Cat”). Oh when she’s purring and meowing so fi-i-ine…
Just the usual trivia I reveal in my reviews…
It has been two years since Billy Joel brought his band to Tampa–and hopefully not the last. A lot of the bands seem to be on the “Final Tour” bandwagon. This time was Joel’s third time to Tampa in the last five years. He’s been a fixture at Madison Square Gardens and tours occasionally in North America and Europe.
Tonight I was able to see Billy Joel live in Tampa at the Amalie Arena, which was packed with 17,000+ Baby Boomers waiting to rekindle their youth. I noticed the audience was mostly women, who probably have fond memories, such as myself, of slow dancing to his music or simply cruising around town, listening to him on FM radio. There is a Bllly Joel channel on Sirius XM (Channel 30) if you want to return to nostalgic bliss. The channel will run through March 3rd and you can hear Billy tell stories about his music–and his favorite artists. He apparently was (and still is) a huge Led Zeppelin fan. Apparently he likes to play Led Zeppelin during the sound checks.
There was no photo pit this evening and the floor chairs were spread right up to the stage so Joel could have more of an intimate feel for the evening. We photographers were perched on the side of the stage and were allowed to photograph the first two songs, hence, a short review.
As the concert began, Joel was sitting at a black Steinway grand piano which revolved slowly in a circle so all could see him. He was backed by a full band of top notch musicians and began the evening with “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway)” and later segued into “Pressure”. During the concert, the stage was adrift with smoke and colored lights while Joel was illuminated with a white spotlight which shined on his shaved head. Joel sported a nice grey mustache and goatee–and looked tan and dapper. His voice is still totally unbelievable! After the first two songs, as we were leaving the stage area, I could hear him warmly speaking to the audience, as if having an intimate conversation. I really wished that I could have heard more of this wonderful concert! His music is timeless and Billy Joel is really one of the finest songwriters in America.
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