Joel headlines his first ever Allegiant Stadium show
Billy Joel is still in excellent form as a pianist, singer and all around entertainer. The 72 year old Long Island native performed 26 songs to a crowd of 47k fans at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas Saturday night (Feb 26th), much to the crowd’s delight.
The Piano Man launched with “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” as the crowd revved with cheer. He performed a mix of hits and album cuts while also paying tribute to a couple of his fallen heroes.
Joel and his piano graced the same stage that Metallica did the night before as part of a rock doubleheader weekend. The festival-style, six-story staging (which Allegiant supplied to both headliners) saw Joel performing with large, hi-def piano key-inspired screens hanging overhead. The lighting and graphics evoked album covers spanning decades.
Joel addressed the crowd between many of his numbers. He told anecdotal stories about where the songs originated, and the records they were from, and the respective year of release. One memorable anecdote was a funny story about the chord progression of “Just The Way You Are.” “The sheet music is wrong!” Joel chuckled as he jokingly explained how hearing the song at bars can be grating.
He played many album cuts that have become concert staples like the jazzy “Zanzibar” and fan-favorite “Vienna.” He also played all of the hits you’d expect to hear, including “Allentown,” “My Life,” “Only The Good Die Young,” and others.
One of the night’s most memorable moments came as a prelude to “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant.” Vocalist and guitarist Mike DelGuidice sang “Nessun Dorma,” an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. DelGuidice sang the piece in Italian which achieved a warranted standing ovation.
Joel paid tribute to the late Gary Brooker by performing Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale.” He also performed a version of ZZ Top’s “Tush” as the interlude in “River of Dreams.” As has become a custom in concert, “You May Be Right” was paired with Led Zepplin’s “Rock and Roll.”
Joel saved some of the most high-energy rock moments for last as he performed five songs during the encore. With an electric guitar strapped to his back, he played “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” “Uptown Girl,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me,” and “Big Shot” before wrapping with the aforementioned “You May Be Right/Rock And Roll” mashup.
Joel was in fine form as he sat at the rotating piano that was center stage. At times, he paraded the stage with his microphone in tow while spinning and tossing its stand. He never missed a beat as he kept the stadium singing along the entire show.
This year sees the classic rock icon celebrating 50 years as a recording artist. He continues to tour stadiums sporadically throughout the summer into fall. He has also resumed his Madison Square Garden residency that sees him headlining monthly slots at the famed New York City arena.
Joel is an artist you don’t want to miss in concert. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen him, you know you’re getting a different show each time.
1. Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
3. The Entertainer
5. Don’t Ask Me Why
8. Just the Way You Are
9. Say Goodbye to Hollywood
10. For The Longest Time
11. New York State of Mind
12. Downeaster Alexa
13. She’s Always a Woman
14. My Life
15. Only the Good Die Young
16. Whiter Shade of Pale (Gary Brooker tribute)
17. Sometimes a Fantasy
18. River of Dreams / Tush (ZZ Top)
19. Nassano Dommine
20. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant
21. Piano Man
22. We Didn’t Start the Fire
23. Uptown Girl
24. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
25. Big Shot
26. You May Be Right / Rock And Roll (Led Zeppelin)