(Orlando FL) Performing Friday 1/11/19 at his only central Florida stop for 2019, Billy Joel put on an electrifying performance complete with sophisticated lighting effects, rotating piano stages, causing 50 years of music nostalgia to engulf thousands at the Amway Center in Orlando.
I had covered Joel in the past, and had even questioned how my images could possibly look any different than they did at his last performance. To some degree, I was wondering how much different could a Billy Joel performance be a second time around. To much satisfaction, I can say that you could probably watch him perform 100 times in a row and end up with enough unique variability from night to night, that you would be probably be singing along each night.
Going into the show, I had an idea that I was familiar with many of his songs. But this musical legend performs each of them in engaging, and crowd-pleasing fashion, it isn't until then that you realize the depth and multitude of just how many hits this man was responsible for.
In all he performed 25 songs last night, showcasing hits he had recorded early on his career (New York State of Mind, 1976) up through his 'last recorded album, which was in 1993' (The River of Dreams). He played songs last night on guitar instead of piano (We Didn't Start The Fire), and songs he played no instruments at all and instead he gave us a glimpse into his more playful side and opted to dance while he sang (You May Be Right).
I did notice a few instances tonight where he jokingly grabbed his throat, as though he was indicating he couldn't hit certain high notes of some of the earlier recorded work. But honestly, I don't know if anyone else realized it because most of the sold-out Amway Center was singing along with each song, note-for-note. He pointed out that he was 69 years young, but to many of the reactions I saw throughout the night, age -- especially his -- was really of no deterrant when it came to having (or in his case, putting on) a great time.
It felt like I was in the best piano bar in the world (and one that could seat 20,000 people), but it was one of those nights that I didn't want to end. Typically during most performances, I do enjoy sitting down throughout the night so that I could just relax and listen to music. Hearing so many awesome songs last night, it was nearly impossible to stay seated for more than a few seconds... myself, and everyone around me, wanted to stand, sing along, and dance. Also with most performances, I tend to duck out just before the last few songs so as to beat the traffic jam on the way out... not last night... this was one of the only times I can remember having sat through the entire show. Genuinely, I was having such a great time, I didn't want the night to end.
But after 2.5 hours of concert, I guess all things must come to an end. In this case, I guess this great performance had to end at some point. Do yourself a favor and see this legend perform live while you can... and let the Piano Man sing you a song, or two.
By: Bailey Guinigundo