Those who were worried that the KFC Yum! Center would be filthy due to the Monster Jam the night before had to be pleasantly surprised because the arena sparkled. That's a huge tribute to the production crew that had to clear dirt, debris and possibly Gravedigger in time to set up for a concert by an artist the stature of Billy Joel.
While the evening was about reliving the songs the crowd grew up with, the fans proved to be thoroughly modern as well. Selfies, with instant posting to social media, were the order of the day, this reviewer included.
One of the highlights of the middle portion of this show happened when Joel left the piano to play guitar while road crew member Chainsaw sang "Highway to Hell." Earlier reviews on the tour mentioned the oddity, but seeing it live was a treat.
After 90 minutes, Joel sang the tour de force and likely epitaph "Piano Man" while also playing harmonica along with piano. Then he left the stage. The crowd wasn't having it and lit up the Yum Center with their cell phone pyrotechnics. Joel got the message and came out to perform "Uptown Girl," "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me," "Big Shot," "You May Be Right" and "Only the Good Die Young," as he encore. That 25 minutes alone was worth the price of admission.
Gavin DeGraw opened the show with an energetic set that he said was inspired by Billy Joel, whom he saw in concert in Albany, New York as a 15 year old. It took the crowd a little bit to warm up to DeGraw, but after the artist sang his way through the arena floor, they came alive. His 4 piece band created a big sound with "Best I Ever Had" and "Not Over You" being inspired choices to climax his portion of the evening.
Photos by: Glenn Hirsch/Louisville.com
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