Austin 101 Magazine

The Piano Man Billy Joel Performs at Last Global Life Park Show Review

Billy Joel @ Globe Life Park
Texas Rangers Ballpark
Arlington, Texas

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

It was a goodbye of sorts, with the Texas Rangers baseball stadium being retired. This was the last concert, to be held there.

Grammy winner Billy Joel is a music legend and doesn’t often tour, but when he does, it’s one of the biggest tours of the year. He’s in the middle of a monthly stint at New York’s Madison Square Garden, but took a break to squeeze in the sold-out Dallas show, so we knew this night was going to be special. No opener necessary.

He’s been recognized for his work for decades including: Songwriters Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Gershwin Prize, and Kennedy Center Honors. Joel was also the first to perform a rock concert in the old Soviet Union.

Billy Joel
Billy Joel

The park was packed, the stands and field were full of excited fans, generally an older crowd from all over Texas and neighboring states for a rare chance to see this legend in concert.

All the arena lights went out before a spotlight beamed on Billy sitting at his piano wearing a sharp black suit with a black tie with tiny white polka dots & skulls. After his opening song, he enthusiastically greeted everyone & told the audience how excited he was to be there.

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Billy jokingly, almost apologetically, said “I don’t have anything new for you, it’s the same old shit”. Which of course it isn’t.

At one point, Joel held up 2 separate sheets of paper & asked the crowd “which one should I follow?”. He let the crowd be involved with the setlist. One sheet had a bunch of his so-so shows & the other was a set list made up of all of his hits – the crowd went crazy! He played mostly hits, of course, and packed a ton of them in 2 short hours. Fans (seated on the field) were on their feet & singing along during the entire concert.

Joel spent much of the night jamming on the spinning piano that was perched high in the center of the stage. The giant screens all around the stage alternated between live footage of him and his old music videos. At times, Joel let some of his backup singers take center stage and sing lead vocals while he accompanied them on his piano. Joel was also backed by a full 8-piece band.

Joel played most of the hits including “Just the Way You Are”, “Movin’ Out”, “She’s Always a Woman”, “Don’t Ask Me Why”, and of course “The Piano Man, and “Only the Good Die Young”. We love that he didn’t just play his own hits, but incorporated ZZ Top, The Eagles, Randy Newman, and Zeppelin. He even included a little “Yellow Rose of Texas” into the intro.

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After he played his final song of the main set, he thanked the crowd and said farewell. While the crowd waited for him to come back, the stadium was lit up with lighters.

He came back out for a long encore of “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, “Uptown Girl”, It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”, “Big Shot”, and “You May Be Right”.

At 70, Joel shows no signs of stopping and we might just have to head to NYC where it all began to catch his Garden show.

Set list:

The Natural (The End Title) (Randy Newman song)
My Life (with ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’ snippet)
Pressure
I Go to Extremes
Just the Way You Are
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
Honesty
Modern Woman
Tush (ZZ Top cover) (live debut by Billy Joel)
Shameless
Allentown
The Downeaster Alexa
Don’t Ask Me Why
She’s Always a Woman
Only the Good Die Young
The River of Dreams
Take It Easy (Eagles cover) (followed by “The River of Dreams” reprise)
Nessun dorma (Giacomo Puccini cover) (Mike DelGuidice on lead vocals)
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
Piano Man
Encore:
We Didn’t Start the Fire
Uptown Girl
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me(with ‘Be Bop A Lula’ snippet)
Big Shot
You May Be Right (with ‘Rock and Roll’ by Led Zeppelin snippet)

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