Billy Joel Goes to Extremes Playing a Record Cold Night in Orlando
Billy Joel walked out on stage on Saturday night at Camping World Stadium and opened the show with “Miami 2017”(I’ve Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) and when he finished, he greeted the crowd with “Hello Alaska” and then said “What the hell is going on Florida? He was referring to the change in weather due to a cold blast that brought record lows for March. He then quipped about the name “Camping World Stadium” and how the last time he was camping “he froze his ass off then too”. Hilarious. He played “Pressure” from the 1982 Nylon Curtain album. A bit more comedy about the weather with a snippet of “Winter Wonderland”, which had the audience laughing. Speaking of the audience, numbered around 50,000, who were bundled up in jackets and scarves because they were not going to miss the show. Billy thanked everyone for coming out in the cold. Covid has taken too many shows from audiences and people are ready to rock. Billy’s shows are as popular as ever, the music is timeless classics.
Next on the setlist came “The Entertainer”, which brought it all with Billy singing about earning his keep and he was sure doing that in Orlando. The hits kept coming with “Zanzibar”, “Vienna” and “Moving Out”(Anthony’s Song). Saxophonist Mark Rivera worked his magic throughout the show and of course on the iconic “New York State of Mind”. Billy’s band is always top notch, on the “River of Dreams” which is a great jam that always morphs into a surprise song in the middle that you never know is coming. Crystal Taliefero brought her vocals to “Dancing in the Streets”. The audience was up dancing and keeping warm. Mike Delguidice brought some opera to the show with his cover of Puccini with “Nessun dorma”. Dave Rosenthal on keyboards is also the musical director, Chuck Burgi is on drums, Andy Cichon on bass, Tommy Brynes on guitar, has been with Billy since 1989 and Carl Fischer on horns.
The wind was just brutal and during “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”, Billy’s eyes were tearing up and running down his face. I saw him continually rubbing his hands and I really don’t know how he was tinkling those ivories but he is the “Piano Man”! Everyone was singing along with cell phone lights in the air, “Sing us a song tonight!” Amazingly, the band came back with a 5-song encore that included Billy on guitar for “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, MTV video fav “Uptown Girl” and one of this writer’s favorites, “Big Shot”.
As I was walking to my car, I watched Billy’s motorcade leave the stadium and I could imagine the heat was blasting! I was thinking they all deserved it for putting on such a great show for over two hours in that wind. The audience deserves applause for sticking it out too! Hopefully, Billy will be back to Central Florida and chalk this one up to the weather record books!
Billy continues to play Madison Square Garden in NYC every month and is doing some stadium tour dates. Everything is at Billy Joel’s website.
Vicky Sullivan Photos