Billy Joel is a masterful musician of profound prowess and skill, and though he hasn’t released a formal studio album in close to 20 years, he still goes out every year and plays a few select dates to a sold out concert of enamored fans. This year’s run is largely rumored, and borderline confirmed, to be Billy Joel’s last tour before his retirement next year. This may be the most explosive and remarkable series of shows he has ever been a part of.
Who is the supporting band on Billy Joel’s current tour?
Upcoming spotlight artist, Tom Odell, will be supporting Billy Joel on most of the dates of the 2015 tour. Though he certainly doesn’t have the clout of the headlining artist, his debut record Long Way Down was extremely well-received in his native UK. He will also be opening both slots at Madison Square Garden.
It is worth noting that Billy Joel will be going solo this time around, leaving his long time collaborating and touring partner Elton John to make progress on his own next full-length.
What songs will Billy Joel play in concert?
Billy Joel has such an eclectic catalog of music that envelops multiple decades and even jumps genres. Setlists always seem to include the staples, notably “Piano Man” and “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” The former is a classic rock masterpiece that planted Joel on the map in the early 70’s. The latter is a later album single that seemed to spark a bit of resurgence in Joel’s popularity amongst younger fans, and is considered a fan favorite despite missing that 70’s and 80’s era prime. But younger fans are more than familiar with “Allentown,” “Uptown Girl,” and “the Entertainer,” which seem to appear in just about every setlist Billy Joel puts together.
Billy Joel has such a string of massive singles, that it is hard to make room for the deeper album cuts. Joel does tend to sneak in one or two non-singles and surprise tunes, which he seems to rotate out between sets. This may include the “Downeaster Alexa,” which made an appearance in February, as well as “She’s Always a Woman,” an under appreciated gem from his late 70’s release, The Stranger. Joel even manages to sneak in a Beatles cover, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” perhaps in appreciation for the Beatles 50th Anniversary being 2014.
You can count on the majority of the setlist below finding its way out of his piano as he makes appearances across the nation in 2015.
Everybody Loves You Now
Summer, Highland Falls
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
Where’s the Orchestra?
New York State of Mind
Sleeping with the Television On
We Didn’t Start the Fire
One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)
Can’t Buy Me Love
She’s Always a Woman
The River of Dreams
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
You May Be Right
Only the Good Die Young
How long is a Billy Joel concert?
Billy Joel is interesting, because the setlist does not give justice to the quality of the performance you will be witnessing. Recorded time stamps will put the concert at about an hour and a half, but Billy Joel has a tendency to chatter a lot. Furthermore, he extends tracks beyond their official recorded time, playing up tracks such as “Allentown” with a bit of a whimsical interlude and then bringing it all back again for an extended ending. It is a unique experience each time out and Joel manages to squeeze in a lot of additional padded time to the length of the performance. With that said, you can expect a Billy Joel concert to run 2 to 2 ½ hours every time.
How do I get access to presale tickets for Billy Joel’s tour?
Presale tickets are most readily available through the Citi Private Pass. Citi Private Pass does not cost anything out the gate if you carry a Citi credit card. Getting a Citi pass separately is not an option, and obtaining one requires the association with the credit card service. This can be harrowing for those who are credit card adverse, but the presale options are truly valuable. There is no extra fee for purchasing presale tickets through the service. The presale period is anywhere from 1-5 days. If you want to get tickets to any show aside from the Madison Square Garden events that are expected to occur once a month, you will almost certainly need to acquire the Citi Private Pass.
Outside of the NYC Residency dates, most tour dates have some coupling of American Express and venue presale. Amex card holders can take advantage of these presales simply by using their Amex at checkout. Participation in venue presales can usually be accomplished by signing up for the venues mailing list on their website. They will send you special offer codes for artists coming through town.
What can I expect at a Billy Joel concert?
Billy Joel is a showman in art and not necessarily the stage. Billy Joel always comes on stage modestly, lacking the grandiosity and excitement of those who bow to the stage, run around, and flash the lights brightly. His meticulous confidence is enthralling, and he enjoys most of the show sitting behind his famous piano and crooning with a single spotlight. Elements may be laid around the stage to add some decorative sense, but his shows are notoriously stripped, allowing the music to speak for itself.
What is this Billy Joel residency I am hearing of?
Billy Joel is expected to retire from touring the world, but he has established a long-term residency with Madison Square Garden. He opts to play a show once a month at the famous venue for as long as people keep lining up to see him play. If this is his way of fading out, he is sure to burn bright for quite a long time.
Who is Billy Joel’s current press contact?
For any press inquires, interview proposals, journalistic affairs, etc, you can contact Billy Joel’s press representative Claire Mercuri at Claire@clairemercuri.com. Of course, serious inquiries only.
“But the accompanists didn’t face a hard task given the quality of Joel’s singing that has actually improved over the years in terms of expression and an inherent curiosity to burrow deeper into his compositions.” – Howard Cohen of Miami.com
“Joel is clearly at the top of his game, and by the time he wrapped the set with perhaps his most defining track, “Piano Man” (intro’d with the coda from Eric Clapton’s “Layla”), the audience — and Joel — seemed ready for more.” Ray Waddell of Billboard
“Just like in the old days, Joel twirled the mic stand around during “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” and threw it a good 10 feet into the air. He’s a wonderful showman, and this gig was a perfect way to kick off a very busy year.” Andy Greene of Rolling Stone
Despite taking an extensive hiatus from formally recording, his last being 1993’s River of Dreams, Joel has been a party to numerous concerts, many reportedly being fully sold out through the entire run.
Glass Houses Tour (1980)
An Innocent Man Tour (1984)
Started January 18, 1984 in Providence, Rhode Island – Ended July 5, 1984 in New York, New York
Billy Joel did a few scattered dates with Elton John in the last five years, as well as some shows in the UK and his first stop in Ireland in 2013. The 2015 tour will be the first full-length solo tour Billy Joel has been a part of since about 2008.