Billy Joel admits that he didn't start the fire but he did his best to kindle it inside the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday night. On a stage that had an innovative video screen set up which played footage that synched with and complemented the music, the singer-songwriter made the evening about the music. After 40 plus years of stratospheric stardom, that what it boiled down to for his nearly two hour set.
Looking very much like the elder statesman of rock and roll, Joel acknowledged that fact by introducing himself as Billy Joel's dad which elicited peels of laughter from the nearly full house of baby boomers and Gen Xers. That's when you knew it was going to be a fun evening.
The piano was front and center the entire night as the fans watched their musical hero run through the songs they came to hear. The one and only special effect was it's spinning ability to give each side of the arena a better view of the artist. Joel promised no other effects, which served to highlight the plethora of hits.
His stage banter was punctuated by jokes and some self deprecating pandering to the crowd. It was all in the spirt of personalizing the show and included nice words about the KFC Yum! Center while taking a good natured shot at Freedom Hall where he used to perform when visiting the Ville. He also cued up "The Call to the Post" several times as a way to get cheap (his words) cheers.
There was even a verse from Louisville's own Wilson Pickett when he launched into “In The Midnight Hour." In his mausoleum in at Evergreen Cemetery, the wicked one had to be pleased at the recognition.
Joel also strayed from the typical artist format to give the crowd the theme from the "Magnificent Seven" before powering through "The Ballad of Billy the Kid" from his flirtation with trying to write a Western movie soundtrack.
At one point in the evening, he offered the obscure "Blonde Over Blue" as a bathroom break song. Most of the audience decided not to take him up on his offer because he performed that song like he did all the others, as if it were the biggest hit of his career. (...more)
Photos by: Glenn Hirsch/Louisville.com